What is Commercial Roofing?
Commercial roofing is a building material used to protect and seal the top of commercial structures. It covers structural framing and prevents rain and other precipitation from entering the building. Commercial roofing generally has a relatively flat slope, as opposed to residential roofing, which is typically steeply sloped. There are a variety of materials used to create commercial roofing systems, and has its own benefits and drawbacks that should be considered.
Traditionally, many commercial roofs were constructed using shingles, which are overlapping sections of material laid in rows to help improve runoff. Shingles can be made from a number of materials, including wood, slate, clay, or asphalt. Asphalt shingles are covered with a bituminous coating and are one of the cheapest and most effective shingle options, though they require a great deal of maintenance, and don t last as long as other materials.
What is the Difference in Shingles
Shingles made from clay or ceramic tiles are popular in areas with a warmer climate, as these materials help to repel sunlight and keep the building cool. They are fairly expensive, but typically last for many years and offer a distinctive style. Wood shingles made from cedar or pine are used for mainly for their appearance, and are typically expensive and subject to mold and insect damage. Slate shingles are made from thin layers of rock, and are one of the most costly shingle materials available. They are very strong and durable, and may last well over 100 years upon installation.
For a more reliable and economical choice for commercial roofing systems, consider metal roofing. Metal roofing is very lightweight, allowing simple and cost-effective support structures to be used. It is also known for its flexibility, and can be curved or bent as needed on oddly shaped structures. This material is quick and easy to install, and can last up to 50 years. It is made from steel, aluminum, copper, or metal alloys, and helps keep the building occupants cool by reflecting sunlight and heat.
One of the most effective types of commercial roofing is the membrane roofing system. These roofs are made of sheets of rubber or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) that are bonded at the seams. Installers use a heat welder to form these bonds, effectively creating a single sheet of material that is impenetrable to leaks. This type of roofing is incredibly lightweight and durable, and often reflects sunlight due to its light-colored finish. Though it is a relatively new product, it is among the most affordable types of commercial roofing, and is quickly becoming one of the most popular products on the industry.
These Companies Depend on You
Commercial roofing companies depend on you in order to get the job done for the work estimated amount and schedule. The lion s share of responsibility does fall on the roofer, but there are key elements that only you can provide. The most important thing to remember is clear, concise and confirmed communication which will help to avoid problems and misunderstandings. If you don t have the time or availability for dealing with the roofing company during the entire process, designate someone in their office to be their contact person. Just make sure that you also give that person the ability to make decisions so they can be effective.
Looking at Scheduling
You need to look at your scheduling for a roofing project just as closely as the roofing company needs to when planning the job. If you need work done, and are also planning a major activity or receiving a shipment, don t schedule them so close in case something goes wrong they overlap. This is a common problem with small site jobs. Planning the schedule for roofing requires the use of float time . Float time is the amount of time planned for that allows for everything possible to go wrong (such as a blizzard or hurricane) and still get the job done and not delay the next phase.
Understand the Impact on your Business
A commercial roofing company doesn t just come with a few trucks and ladders, they will occupy whole swaths of your access and egress to your building. As they work on the areas of your roof they may have to tape off corresponding ground areas to keep people safe from falling objects. Make sure that you plan the approach to the job with your contractor so you can shift deliveries and shipments, as well as personnel access, around the areas that are marked off limits during that work time.
Securing the Estimate and Contract
The next step is learning how to work with your contractor to secure the estimate and contract. There should be three phases to this submission, revision and acceptance. You may not have to revise an estimate at all, but pay very close attention to the contract terms. Make sure that everyone is clear on what is expected, and from whom, when it comes to permits, insurance, staging and clean-up. The majority of complaints from both parties could have been avoided by being more specific in the contractual phase.
Avoid B eing Caught by Surprise
Lastly, you should avoid being caught by surprise. This means that you have to become aware of the seasonal impact and priorities of the roofer. For instance, let s say that you live in an area that gets a surprise hurricane. You may have planned enough float time to allow for that delay, but you need to talk to the contractor about what happens to their priorities. Some contractors are under agreements to do emergency response work (i.e. for hospitals and nursing homes), or have standing agreements with residential owners. Plan ahead and know what the potentials are to avoid delay. Every commercial roofing company is going to appreciate the effort to create a realistic schedule and contingency plan.