What Length of System Fits Your Needs

What length of roofing solution fits your needs?

The choice starts out with identifying your budget and the length of time before you wish to face this question again.

The longer the system will last the more it will cost. The time frames for solutions are approximately 1-5 years, 10-20 years and 20-30 years. Roofers think mostly in terms of warranties. The roofs utilizing the 10 and 15 year warranties, with care, will typically last longer 18+ years. The longer warranties were not commonly utilized by building owners until recently. One could reasonably expect the roofs utilizing the 20-30 year warranty systems, with care, to last even longer.

Why 20-30 years?

  • The property is to be kept long term and a larger investment can be afforded.
  • The roof is a base for photovoltaic panels whose longevity is similar.
  • It can be marketed to current or prospective tenants.

Why 10-15 years?

  • A new roofing system on the property is required and the 10-15 year warranty is the most cost effective solution.
  • It can be marketed to current or prospective tenants.

Why 1-5 years?

  • The end of the useful life of the roofing system is near.
  • Funds are not available for a longer term solution.
  • The building is being sold and a better roof will not help sell it or bring the return on investment a longer term roofing solution would upon the sale of the building.

About warranties:

Warranties can come from a manufacturer or a roofing contractor. There are a few contractors who claim they are also manufacturers. We recommend obtaining the manufacturer’s warranty as the manufacturer typically has more resources than a contractor and will be better able to back up any claims over time. Manufacturers typically send an inspector out to make sure the roofing was done to their specifications before issuing the warranty – this further protects the building owner. Warranties cost money – typically $.xx per square foot with minimum amounts. The longer the warranty is the higher the cost per square foot is. This warranty money should be stored in the manufacturer’s reserves against claims.

Check the warranty language carefully looking for a particular wind speed over which the roofing is not warrantied. If no wind speed is stated get one that does state the wind speed. Many manufacturers state 55 miles per hour. Upgrades to 72 miles per hour may cost little. Upgrading to higher than 72 m.p.h generally requires an increase to the fastening of the roofing materials and will increase the cost of your roofing system if that system supports the increase. If your building is on the coast or the roof is very high off the ground this makes a big difference in how the roofing system is secured to the deck. Make sure the warranty does not have a dollar limit specified. Check to make sure both labor and materials are covered by the warranty. It is possible to get different warranties, one for the system (labor and materials) and one for just the materials and they can cover different lengths of time. We know of only one company that covers damages to inside of the building if their roof leaks (Duro-last). Another thing to check is if the warranty is transferable – if so how much will it cost? This will come into play if you are selling or buying the building. Most warranties should be transferable, possibly at a small paperwork cost.

Lastly, look at the language on the warranty and check the conditions under which your actions will void it – things like using non-licensed contractors for repairs, allowing grease/oil on the roof, use of other manufacturers materials for patches and failure to timely report leaks are all warranty killers for most manufacturers.

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