The Roofing Resource Blog

4 Ways That Flat Roofing Project Can Bust Your Maintenance Budget

Fri, Jan 30, 2015 @ 11:01 AM | Perry

As if flat roofs replaced on your campus wasn’t expensive enough, make these mistakes and run the risk of blowing your maintenance budget for the rest of the year.


1. Underestimating the true cost of flat roof replacement.

It’s impossible to hit budget numbers that were never realistic to begin with. Planning and Budgeting for flat roofing project isn’t always as straight forward coming up a unit price per sq. ft. and multiplying it by the number of Sq, Ft. of the building.

Multiple factors drive the cost of flat roofing including where or not there;s going to be a tear off, roof insulation, the roofing materials themselves, coping and metal trims, your geographic location in the country and your local labor market.

Even experienced construction managers, architects, and estimators often miss the cost of roofing projects because they leave out the roofers during the preliminary budgeting. Bringing a roofing contractor to help you evaluate your building’s roof and generate ball park numbers for replacement will give you the opportunity to check your figures against real estimates long before the project begins. Most commercial roofing contractors won’t mind looking at work and helping you develop a budget for projects.

Helpful hint: Be up front with roofing companies when all you are seeking is budget numbers, misleading roofing contractors about work could damage a good working relationship.


2. Doing a tear off

flat_roof_tear_offIn today’s flat roofing market many different roofing material manufacturers like Duro-Last, Johns Manville, Carlise, and Firestone all have single ply membranes that have been designed and engineered to lay over existing roofs. These roofing membrane are often mechanically attached, included some kind of air vent accessory and are relatively inexpensive to have installed over top of an existing roof. Adding a tear off to a flat roofing project will on average add up to 50% of the total cost of the roofing project.

Helpful hint: They key to begin able to have existing roofs covered with another membrane is to not let the existing roof become saturated with moisture. Saturated roofs must always be torn off.


3. Structural damage to decking and framing.

flat_roof_deck_damageIt can be tough to budget for rotten wood decking, rusted metal decking or bad weight concrete or tectum, especially in cases where you won’t know how much needs to be replaced unit roof is opened up. Establish unit pricing (price per sq ft) for deck replacement with your roofing contractor before the job begins not during and also establish a spec or criterion for how bad decking should be for it to be replaced. Ask for photo documentation from roofing contractor have one of your in house staff check on project during deck replacement to be sure the amount of new decking material your being charged for is the same that was installed.

Helpful hint: Avoid starting flat roof project that will require new decking without having decking material on hand or at least having access to it. You would never want to open up a flat roof only to figure out the material you need is special order and requires lead time to get.


4. Not keeping track of flat roof repair cost.

Not tracking repair cost accurately can lead to throwing good money after bad. Buildings that require expensive repair and maintenance each year to stay dry may in fact be costing your organization more to keep. Knowing what your current cost of ownership is will allow you to compare the cost of ownership of a new flat. This kind of comparison makes a decision objective, based on fact and easier to gain approval for.

Helpful hint: If your organization knows that the old roof cost more to keep but doesn’t have capital to purchase a new roof try to lower repair costs by bundling repairs together, negotiating lower rates with your roofing contractor, and by spending more on preventative maintenance rather than emergency roof repairs.