a flat roof with the caption 5 Things That Affect Commercial Roof Replacement Costs

Five principal factors affect the cost of a commercial roof replacement. In just a few minutes, you can learn these factors and be ready to support a capital expense for commercial roof replacement at your next budget meeting. Your local commercial roofer can help you with a campaign for roof replacement by providing detailed information in any estimate or scope of work. 

One: Building Codes

Current building codes include stringent hurricane zone requirements, such as straps to anchor roofs to walls. The Florida Building Code: Test Protocols for High-Velocity Hurricane Zone is already in its 7th edition since 2020; can your building pass the test? 

The safest, surest way to know if your building’s roof replacement will meet the updated building codes is to trust your local, reliable commercial roofer. It’s the roofer’s job to keep up to date on modifications, methods, and hurricane reinforcement for commercial roofs. 

Two: Roof Type

Most commercial roofs are low-slope or flat roofs, and they can be made from many types of roofing materials. Each type affects replacement cost, both with what is taken off and what is put down. Consider these popular commercial roofing materials for both re-roof and new roof work:

  • Modified Bitumen (Mod Bit) and Built-Up Roofing (BUR) — The traditional, time-tested multi-ply systems with granulated finishes including cold and hot applications; these are among the oldest commercial roofing methods, and among the least expensive to install, though maintenance is a necessity.
  • Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) — A TPO rubber laminate roof is either mechanically attached or fully adhered; it’s tough, energy efficient, and fairly low maintenance.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) — This is a scrim system, combining a plastic (PVC) with a reinforcing mesh; it is mechanically attached or fully adhered; it wears extremely well with hardly any maintenance, though it is more expensive at installation than Mod Bit or BUR.

Not all commercial roofs are low-slope, and for these, three types of heavy-duty materials can be applied:

  • Shingles 
  • Metal Roofing in standing seam or flat seam
  • Tiles

Additionally, your new roof may benefit from the added protection of liquid-applied membranes and waterproofing coatings. 

Three: Access

How easily can a roofing crew reach your commercial roof? How can materials be lifted and loaded onto the roof? Every awkward turn and additional vertical foot adds to replacement costs. 

Where will materials for the new roof be stored on your property? What kind of equipment will be needed to move heavy materials from ground level to roof? 

Additionally, consider disposal of your old roof’s many layers. How will the various bits and pieces, metal and asphalt, or plastic membrane leave your roof? Where will the trash containers be placed for easy access and quick removal? 

How many trash containers will be needed, and how frequently will the carting company have to change them out? Will the hauler have difficulty reaching the containers? 

Can the commercial roof replacement happen during business hours? Will customers and employees be inconvenienced? Will your parking lot have to be used for a staging yard? 

All of these factors must be considered when planning for the replacement and budgeting the project. 

Four: Layer Cake

Most commercial property owners do not realize how much their commercial roof resembles a layer cake. Beneath the top layer, whatever it is, you will find many other things:

  • Felts (in some cases)
  • Shaped and sloped insulation
  • Decking (metal, concrete, or wood)
  • Roof deck (structural steel or wood members)

A reputable commercial roofer would never replace only the top layer. The other layers have to be inspected and then repaired or replaced if necessary. This not only adds time to the commercial roof replacement, it adds cost to the whole project. 

Five: Wind Loads and Fastenings

The microclimate of your building’s geographical location affects replacement costs. All Florida commercial properties must meet modern building codes (see #1, above), but in some areas, even more stringent codes apply. Your new roof may have to withstand wind speeds of 150 miles per hour.  

The safer codes for hurricane-prone areas in Florida mean more roof-to-wall fasteners, more mechanical fasteners in the roof into the deck, and more labor. 

Depending on the various commercial roof covering types, your new roof may require far more extensive fastening, and far more rugged fasteners, than the roof it replaces. 

Need help justifying a commercial roof replacement? Contact us today at PSI Roofing, where we repair, maintain and install new commercial roofs every day. We can provide inspection reports, budget estimates, and detailed work plans to make your next commercial roof replacement project easier, less expensive, and faster.