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Commercial Roof Maintenance in Tampa, Florida

May 31st, 2022 | 14 min. read

Commercial Roof Maintenance in Tampa, Florida

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Are you looking for a contractor to do, Commercial Roof Maintenance in Tampa, Florida? 


Setting up a commercial roof maintenance plan is a very specialized service that requires extensive knowledge about all aspects of commercial roofing materials. To be able to properly inspect and perform the correct maintenance service we first need to understand all the different types of commercial roof systems.


But I can assure you that you are in the right place to learn about commercial roof maintenance.


Here at RoofCrafters of Tampa, we have been servicing commercial property management companies and building owners for 28 years and counting. 


And to be fully transparent, at this point, I am only keeping count of grandbabies! It all started with gray hairs and went to grandbabies in what seemed like a blink of an eye! lol


Anyway, what matters is we are certified by all the top flat roofing, low slope roofing, and steep slope commercial roofing manufacturers in the United States. The top manufacturers help our team stay up to date with the latest maintenance requirements for all of the different roofing systems that are out there. So, we can provide you with expert commercial roof maintenance plans to help prolong the life of your existing commercial roof.


In this article, I am going to cover the 3 different types of commercial roof structures, the 5 most common types of commercial roof systems, and the maintenance recommendations for each of the 5 roof types.


So I can promise you that by the end of this article you will be an expert in all things related to commercial roof maintenance so that you can make a well-informed decision about how to proceed with your commercial roof maintenance plan.


Sounds good? Ok, let’s dive right in.


Types of Commercial Roof Construction


There are 3 main types of roof designs used for constructing a commercial building.


  1. Flat roof commercial construction
  2. Low slope commercial construction
  3. Steep slope commercial construction


Flat roof commercial construction is very common, it allows an engineer or an architect many options. Such as mounting rooftop mechanical equipment and the reduced structural requirement that comes with steep-sloped construction. 


With the newer roof systems today, this type of construction requires your local commercial roofing contractor to slope the roof using tapered insulation so there is no ponding water on your roof. The tapered insulation also provides the building a better R-value which will help make your building more energy-efficient. This tapered insulation will impact the overall cost of the roofing construction.


Low slope commercial construction is where the engineer or architect has designed the commercial building so that the roof already has a positive slope built into the construction of the roof framing. This slope creates positive drainage and allows the water to properly run off the rooftop. 


The downside to low slope construction is that this is not always a good fit for all the different types of commercial roofing materials that are available. For example, a low slope roof that has metal installed has rooftop equipment such as HVAC units or skylights is typically not the best option. Choosing an inferior roofing material will result in early roof leaks and create maintenance issues that another system would not have on this type of commercial low slope roof construction. 


A steep slope commercial construction roof on a commercial property is identical to or very similar to residential construction. The most common construction types on steep slope commercial roofs are gable roofs or hip roofs. Gable and hip roofs on commercial buildings are typically constructed with metal or wood trusses. They can also be custom framed with wood 2x framing material.


Popular roofing materials that are used on commercial steep slope roofs are standing seam metal roofs, screw-down roof systems, metal shingles, Spanish tile, and asphalt shingles.


Now that you know about the different types of commercial roof construction let's talk about the 5 top types of commercial roofing products.

Top 5 commercial roof types used in Tampa

  1. metal roofSingle-ply roofing (TPO, PVC & EPDM roofing)

  2. Modified Bitumen (rubber roofing)

  3. Built-up roof (hot tar roofing)

  4. Metal Roofing (standing seam & screw down)

  5. Asphalt shingles (upgraded shingles)

Single-ply roofing (TPO, PVC & EPDM roofing)


photo-1Single-ply roofing is one of the most popular roofing materials used on commercial flat or low sloped roofs. Single-ply roofing is available in different thicknesses. This is to help provide options to help meet your budget and lifespan requirements.


The higher the number, the thicker the product. The thicker the product the longer the manufacturer warranties their single-ply roof material.


Single-ply TPO and PVC roof is made up of 3 layers. A base layer, the scrim layer(reinforced woven fiber layer), and thickness over the scrim layer, which is the top layer. This top layer protects the scrim layer from the sun’s harmful UV rays.


An EPDM roof typically comes in a 45 or 60-mil thick membrane. The difference is the laps and flashings on this commercial roofing material are glued or seam taped together instead of hot air welded like the TPO or PVC single-ply materials.


The advantage of single-ply roofing is they come in white which makes them heat-reflective and energy star rated. They’re also lightweight, fire-resistant, provide a high wind rating, and are resistant to chemicals and pollutants which can be important in commercial and industrial roof applications. Single-ply roofs are also easily repairable and easy to keep maintained.


The disadvantages of single-ply roofs are they are not the most aesthetically pleasing roofing to look at. High foot traffic could pose a threat if the contractors are not mindful when performing work on the roof, dropping hand tools or screws and walking on them could puncture these roof systems. 


Modified Bitumen (rubber roofing)


modified bitumen on roofI like to say a Modified bitumen roof is the second generation of commercial flat roofing. Built-up or hot tar is the OG of the flat roofing world and we will discuss that in the next section. Modified bitumen became popular because unlike the hot tar roof that requires setting up a hot tar kettle mod-bit does not. That job alone, heating asphalt onsite, next to your building, to over 500 degrees is a full-time and extremely dangerous job. 


The roofing industry has slowly been moving away from hot tar roofing. Modified bitumen roofs can be installed with hot tar but the most popular installation methods are without the hot tar.  


Here are 4 main installation methods.


  1. Hot tar applied
  2. Cold tar applied
  3. Torch applied
  4. Self-adhered


The last 3 installation methods, cold tar applied, torch applied, and self-adhered have made modified bitumen roofs more efficient for commercial roofing applications. 


The advantages of Mod-bit roofs are they have multiple layers and having multiple layers can make them more durable. This increased durability can make the mod-bit a better choice for commercial roofs with high foot traffic.


The disadvantages of Mod-bit with these multiple layers are the cost of the materials and the labor to install multiple layers is more expensive. Also performing repairs and maintenance on mod-bit roof systems can be more difficult, increasing the cost.


Built-Up Roof (hot tar roofing)


A built-up roof can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. There are so many variations or layers of roofing materials that make up a built-up roof system.


Layering the materials is how it got called a built-up roof. The roof is built-up by layering plies of fiberglass rolls of roofing and hot tar between each layer. And this is only the short explanation of how it gets installed. 


The basics of a hot tar roof so to speak. It’s asphalt heated up to 500 degrees and then we mop that directly on the roof deck or insulation. Yep, just like you would mop a kitchen floor. And in-between mopping we roll out layers of roofing while it's still hot. Many built-up roofs are done with 4, 5, or 6 layers of roofing.


The top layer is the most important layer when it comes to maintenance. It will be what determines if it can be repaired and maintained successfully. Oftentimes the top layer is a flood coat of hot asphalt (tar) with rocks put in the tar while it is still 450 to 500 degrees. A hot tar roof with a rock finish makes for a challenging repair for a very experienced roofer. But it can be done if there is useful life left in the flat roof system.


Now, if it has a granule surface cap sheet as a finish layer or an asphalt flood coat, it is a much more manageable to maintain and repair. Either way, the existing materials that will need to be maintained need to have some useful life left to make any repairs that will last any length of time.

Metal Roofing (standing seam & screw down)


Metal roofing is another popular roof for commercial buildings. There are 3 main types of metal roof systems:


  • metal roof replacement by RoofCraftersStanding seam
  • Screw-down
  • Metal shingles


Standing seam is a concealed fastener metal roof system, and screw-down is a metal roof with an exposed fastener through the metal roofing. Both metal roof systems have their advantages and disadvantages. 


The advantages of the standing seam are their longevity, properly installed they will easily last for 50+ years, they provide a very high wind rating, and they don't blow off in severe wind storms. Standing seam metal looks great and adds value to a commercial property. 


The disadvantages are they cost more, because of the attachment method it takes longer to install and requires a much higher skill level to install all the flashings for this system.


The advantages of the screw-down roof are they are economical and provide curb appeal. The disadvantage is they require maintenance within the 5-year mark. With all the expansion and contraction(thermal movement) that happen with all metal roofs, the exposed screws can come loose. 


Metal shingles are very popular as they can be made to look like real wood shakes, real slate, and real Spanish tile roofing. All of the natural products require more maintenance than the metal shingles require making these a very popular choice for owners looking for longevity and added curb appeal.


There are 3 types of metal roof materials that are commonly installed on businesses in Tampa, Florida over the past 30+ years:


  • Aluminum 
  • Steel
  • Galvalume


There are other metal material options however these 3 metal roofs are economical and cost-effective. Making them the most popular of the metal options. They offer a wide range of aesthetic looks, longevity, and price ranges too.


All of these materials are available in standing seam metal or screw-down metal profiles as well as shingle, slate, wood, and tile style profiles.

Aluminum Metal Roof


Aluminum is one of our most natural energy efficient metal roof materials available. Aluminum metal comes in different thicknesses and typically for roofing we use a 032, 040, or 050 thickness. The higher the number the thicker the aluminum roofing will be. The 032 and 040 thicknesses are most popular on commercial roofs. 


Aluminum comes in a mill finish or a painted finish. Mill finish will provide you with a raw metal look and it will oxidize into a naturally beautiful raw metal finish. Aluminum comes in a wide variety of painted finished colors. Most of the paint finishes come with a 40-year paint warranty with some manufacturers even providing a 45-year paint finish warranty.


Steel Metal Roof 


Steel roofing is the most popular metal roofing material used for roofing commercial buildings. Steel metal is galvanized steel that is hot dipped or coated in a zinc coating. Steel is less costly and can be as effective and efficient as any of the other available metal materials. 


The steel material is very popular for roofing and comes in 24 gauge, 26 gauge, and 29 gauge. Don't get fooled, unlike aluminum, the lower the number the thicker the steel roofing will be. 


4 of the most common steel roofing profile that is used on commercial properties:


  1. Standing seam metal panels (12”-18” wide panels, concealed fasteners)
  2. Interlocking steel shingles (slate or shake look, concealed fasteners)
  3. 5-V crimp metal roofing (2 foot wide panels, exposed fasteners)
  4. R-panels or multi-rib panels (3 foot wide panels, exposed fasteners)


Because steel is not a non-corrosive metal, these metal roofing materials require a painted finish. Paint finish warranties range from 20 years to 45 years depending on the thickness, type of panel, and the manufacturer of the metal.


Steel metal roofing is very cost-effective and offers a wider range of prices depending on which profile you choose, the thickness of the metal, and the paint warranty available. 

Galvalume Metal Roof


Galvalume metal is also a metal that has a steel core and is coated with aluminum to prevent corrosion. 


Galvalume is much like steel roofing and comes in the same thicknesses, 24 gauge, 26 gauge, or 29 gauge. It is also available in all 4 of the different panel profiles. 


The main difference with galvalume is that it comes as a mill finish metal product, so it is not available in a painted finish. This makes it slightly less expensive and easier to work with as the painted materials can get scratched during installation if not handled carefully. It is also a great option to use around the ocean or if you live anywhere near the saltwater. 

Asphalt Shingles (upgraded shingles)

8-1-1024x768Yes, even though shingles are commonly used on residential homes, probably on your home and definitely on mine. Well, asphalt shingles are commonly used on commercial buildings too.


Typically the shingles we install on commercial buildings are not the basic builder grade shingle that is used on new construction homes. The reason for this is that builder grade shingles provide the least wind protection and they require replacing as early as 10-12 years. Builder grade shingles also provide the least curb appeal.


Upgraded shingles, designer or luxury shingles are more popular in commercial buildings. They provide you greater wind protection, enhanced curb appeal, and upgraded shingles that can last 25-35 years. 


The disadvantage of shingles is they don't last as long as the metal roofing and when it is time to replace the roof, it can be messy for a building with commercial use.  

What is the right type of Roof Maintenance plan for your commercial building in Tampa?


As you have learned, with the different types of construction and materials that are typically used the maintenance for each of these different types will vary depending on 3 main factors:


  1. Type of roof construction
  2. Type of roof material
  3. Condition of existing roofing materials


If you have a steep slope roof, performing maintenance one time a year is generally recommended. If the building has gutters or any other special condition that might increase to 2 times per year.


With a flat or low slope roof depending on the roofing materials we generally recommend having maintenance performed 2 to 3 per year. If the roof has a lot of drains, through-wall scuppers for drainage, or a lot of rooftop mechanical equipment we may recommend 3 to 4 times per year.


Other things to consider are the age of the existing roofing materials, tree coverage, and foot traffic on the roof. 


The older a commercial roof gets the more it will expand and contract due to thermal climate changes. Older roofs often need just a little more TLC to get the most out of them.


Tree coverage and high foot traffic can impact the performance of your roof if it is not accounted for. We often see building owners neglect their commercial flat roofing because they don’t see the roof. Drains and through-wall scuppers get clogged causing all kinds of roofing issues. Unfortunately, workers that service rooftop mechanical equipment drop tools or screws and then step on them, this is why high foot traffic has to be accounted for when creating a solid maintenance plan for your commercial building.


Now that you are well informed in all things commercial roof maintenance, here are the next steps to getting a commercial maintenance plan for your building.


But first, you may be asking yourself, “How much does commercial maintenance cost in Tampa, Florida?” 

How much does Commercial Roof Maintenance cost in Tampa?

It depends on the type of commercial building you need roof maintenance on. For example:


  • Is it a steep slope roof with shingles or a metal roof or is it a low slope or flat roof with a single-ply or modified bitumen roof system? 


  • What is the total size of the building and or roof?


  • How many drains, penetrations, or mechanical units does it have on the roof? 


  • What kind of condition is the existing commercial roof system in? 


On average commercial roof maintenance costs between .15 cents per square foot to .30 cents per square foot. So, to perform roof maintenance on a 20,000 square foot building, you would be looking at somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000 depending on the specific factors of the building and existing commercial roof system.


Our team here at RoofCrafters has been providing commercial roof maintenance in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida now for over 28 years. If you would like to have one of our professional commercial roof estimators come out and perform a thorough roof inspection and provide you with pictures and a solution for your commercial roof maintenance. Schedule your inspection here and we look forward to serving you. 


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