Evaluating the Cost of a Commercial Roof Replacement

A roof is one of the most crucial and most expensive components of any commercial building. Thus, when a problem develops, the building owner should consider whether they need to repair the roofing structure or have it entirely replaced. Understanding the cost factors involved in a roof replacement can help one in deciding what type of replacement to choose and how much they should budget.

In this article, I will review five factors that will influence the cost of your commercial roof replacement:

  • Code Requirements
  • Wind Loads & Fastenings
  • Type of Roof
  • What’s Underneath
  • Roof Access

Code Requirements

Aside from wind loads & fasteners, each building has state, regional, and local codes they may be subject to.

Fasteners & Wind Loads

Depending on the geographical location of the building, weather and codes will impact the type of fasteners the roof system requires. For example, in Florida, buildings must be able to withstand winds up to 150 mph resulting in stronger, frequently placed fasteners.

Typically, there are two main categories for commercial roofs:

  • Flat (low slope)
  • Sloped

In most commercial roof cases, the best material for a flat roof is built- up bituminous roofing or single-ply. When first introduced to the market over 25 years ago, people were hesitant to install single-ply roofs because of the single layer of protection and the fear of it being prone to leaks. Over time, it has been proven that single-ply roofs are in fact more durable, less expensive, and also less time consuming to install (in comparison to the other types of flat roof materials).

The average cost for single-ply flat roof replacement: $3-$5 per square foot.

The average cost for built-up bituminous flat roof replacement: $3.50-$6.50 per square foot.

The average cost for asphalt shingle roof replacement: $3.50-$7 per square foot.

The average cost for barrel tile roof replacement: $6.50-$20 per square foot.

The average cost for metal roof replacement $7-$12 per square foot.

What’s Underneath?

Under every roof is a combination of a single or multiple components. These components include the roof structure (concrete, metal, or wood decking), insulation, cover board, & other substrate materials.

The condition of these materials impact re-roofing costs. If there is a noticeable amount of impact damage or water damage, these materials will need to be replaced, raising the overall costs. In particular circumstances, a well-seasoned roofing consultant or contractor will be able to recognize the areas that need repairing by the “feel” of the roof. In more circumstances than not, infrared technology or other moisture detecting equipment will need to be used to measure the amount of trapped moisture accurately.

Roof Access

Roof access can have as much impact on the cost to replace your roof as the type and material. Accessibility factors include:

  • Height
  • Material storage areas
  • Occupancy
  • Property access

A 20-story building will be more costly to re-roof than a 2-story building, due to the need for cranes to lift materials. Likewise, for a large roofing project it may be necessary to store large amounts of material.

When you run into an issue with your roof, it is important that you contact a professional to help you evaluate the condition of your roof. DCS’s team of consultants are experts in evaluating all factors in a roof repair vs replacement. Cost is a large factor involved, but with the right resources and expert team, we can help cut costs and help maintain an obtainable budget.