The Roofing Resource Blog

5 Factors to Consider Before You Replace a Flat Roof

Mon, Dec 8, 2014 @ 08:00 AM | Perry

Flat roofs bring with them a wide variety of different benefits that can't be ignored. For starters, flat roofs are the easiest type to climb up onto for the purposes of inspection and repair. The simple fact of having a flat roof can make certain types of issues dramatically easier to fix before a small problem turns into a big one, for example. Flat roofs also offer a larger amount of both stability and horizontal surface area when compared to some of their counterparts. Regardless of the quality of your flat roof, however, there will always come a time where it needs to be replaced. Before you do, however, it's important to keep a number of things in mind.

flat_roof_drain_systems1. The Drainage System

Before you replace your commercial building's flat roof, it's always important to give consideration to the type of drainage system you'll choose to use. The drainage system of your roof prevents water from building up in one place, which can cause the roof to start prematurely leaking and can also lead to other significant issues over time. Internal drains will need to be properly matched to the size of the roof during the installation process to help make sure that water is always routed in the right way.


2. Insulation

Another important consideration to make before replacing your business' flat roof is the type of insulation that you'll be using. More specifically, you'll want to closely look at how well a particular type of insulation is capable of resisting the transfer of heat. This property is always measured by an R value. As a general rule of thumb, a higher R value almost always equals a higher quality type of insulation.

3. Pounds Per Square Foot (PSF)

One of the most important considerations to make before replacing your flat roof has to do with the structural load of your new model. The structural load of roofing systems are commonly measured in “pounds per square foot,” or PSF. As the name suggests, this refers to the total amount of weight in pounds that can be placed safely on any one square foot area of the roof itself. The PSF rating of your roof will also play an important factor in the framing that you need to use in order for the roof itself to live up to that desired strength. To help make the most informed (and safest) decision possible, you'll need to compare the load rating of your new flat roof to the rating of the system that you're replacing.

4. Should you replace at all?


From a financial perspective, one of the most important decisions that you'll have to make before replacing your flat roof is whether a replacement is ideal given the situation. You'll need to consider the cost of a new roofing system versus the total projected lifespan of that system and compare that information with the cost of repairing any issues that you're experiencing with the projected lifespan of that particular action. Divide the cost of each action by the projected lifespan in years to come up with an approximate cost per year. If the cost per year of repairing the issue that you're experiencing is significantly lower than a replacement, you may be better off waiting on a major overhaul and just fixing whatever issue you find. This calculation will be especially important to businesses, as revenue can dramatically fluctuate year-over-year depending on the current economic conditions.

5. Wind Resistance

For the purposes of safety, one of the most important considerations that you can make before replacing your flat roof system has to do with the wind resistance that it can withstand. Your needs will vary depending on the area of the country where you live. If you live in the southern United States in an area that frequently experiences tropical storms with gale force winds, for example, you'll likely need a flat roof system with a higher wind resistance than someone who did not live in one of those areas. This is especially important if you run the type of business where customers are entering and exiting the building on a regular basis as you are accountable for their safety.