Whether you want to choose a roof for a new building or you want to replace an aged one, there are many factors you will have to consider. Selecting the right roofing solution might not be easy because the roof that works for one building might be the worst choice for a different structure. The reason for this is that even if buildings might look similar, they might not be exactly alike. Because there are so many options on the market, you must know how to make the ideal choice for a particular building. There are several questions that you will need to ask before you make the ultimate decision.
1. What is this building’s mission statement?
Before you contact a roofing manufacturer or contractor, the first issue you need to consider is what you want to use the building for (the business’s mission statement).
Whether you are operating on the premises or you are actually building a new structure, make sure that the roofing solution you choose will deliver when it comes to your expectations. Usually, the type of building determines the appropriate roofing system.
Make sure that you know everything there is to know about the building. For instance, does the business have the intention to keep that building as an asset, and if so for roughly how many years? Is the company looking to expand its operations sometime in the future, or even change operations? How many occupants are there now, and how many are likely to be there in the future? You will also need to take into account factors such as maintenance and insulation requirements.
Generally, the starting point should be focusing on what the structure will be used for. For instance, a spec building will require a basic roof. However, special use structures like airline reservation centers will require a completely different roofing system.
2. What physical and other fundamentals affect the roofing choice?
Next, you need to assess the actual building. In this case, consider where the building is located as well as the surrounding area. Also look into things such as weather trends, building codes and the landscape.
The physical elements of the structure are also important. These include height, age, shape, design and size. You will also have to look at the building materials utilized to build the structure, as well as the place where the HVAC and fire protection systems are located.
In cases where you want to replace the roof, look at the characteristics of the roof area first. The characteristics include the roof’s shape, deck construction, size, slope, rooftop access, protrusions, edge detailing, as well as the current roofing structure.
3. What flexible-membrane roofing choices are there?
According to the SPRI, an organization representing suppliers of sheet membrane and other mechanisms to the roofing sector, there are three main classes of membranes which are thermoplastics, modified bitumens and thermosets.
Thermosets are made using rubber polymers. The popular type is the EPDM, commonly known as rubber roofing. This kind is made in such a way that it can endure the harsh effects of sunlight, as well as chemicals typically found on the roof.
Thermoplastics on the other hand, are made using plastic polymers. The most common type is the PVC. When plasticizers are added to the PVC they become more flexible. There is also the Hypalon thermoplastic which, although it starts as a thermoplastic, after some time it eventually curves and turns into a thermoset. A third type of thermoplastic is known as the thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). It is basically a combination of PVC and EPDM.
The modified bitumens combine the formula and other benefits of flexible membranes with traditional installation methods used in roofing.
4. What is the perfect kind of membrane and attachment system for the building?
There are a number of factors which can help to determine the right roofing system for a specific building. Such factors include costs, wind exposure, aesthetics, height and expected roof traffic. The building’s attributes will also determine the attachment system. For instance, a ballasted roof could be the ideal choice in the vent that the roof deck can carry the weight. However, that choice might not be the best one if the roof’s slope is more than 2 inches per foot.
5. Does all the roofing material brought to the work site have the UL label?
Make certain that the roofing material which gets delivered has the Underwriter’s Laboratories label. These laboratories are responsible for testing all the materials used to make the roofing systems. Also ensure that the roof assembly which you opt for also has that label.
So, you have the responsibility of ensuring that the materials that you get will have gone through the necessary testing procedures. Avoid products that look similar to the original ones which have been adequately tested; what you want is a guaranteed product. Also make sure that the membrane has been tested together with the insulation.
6. Do you need a wind uplift rating?
Wind can cause a lot of damage to the roof, which can also cost you a lot of money to fix. This makes the uplift rating necessary. The American Society of Civil Engineers Standard 7-95 can help you to figure out the wind zone of a particular building.
7. How much does the finished system add to the overall weight of the roof structure?
It is important to have information about the load-bearing measurements of the roof deck before opting for a reroofing option. You want to be certain that you pick the correct flexible membrane. If it’s a new building, you can save on structural steel by going for a flexible membrane system which is a bit on the lighter side.
8. What are the skills and financial strengths of the roofing contractor you want?
You should choose a roofing contractor who has the requisite skills and experience. Over the last ten years, we have seen a lot of changes when it comes to roofing materials and installation techniques. Therefore, the contractor should have knowledge of the various kinds of roofing systems available. That way, he will be in a better position to give you the best advice, taking into account your budget.
One of the questions that you need to ask the contractor is whether his business is a member of an industry association; local, state, regional or national. You want to go for a contractor who is part of an industry association because of the added advantage of him having knowledge about the latest developments in the sector.
Because roofing systems are different, the way they are installed also varies. Make sure that you choose a contractor who has the requisite qualifications and training to install your roof. He must be up to date on current developments.
9. What is warranted and who provides the warranty?
Generally, there are two types of roofing warranties. There is what is called the contractor’s warranty which will cover workmanship. Then there is the manufacturer’s warranty and it will cover mostly the building materials; but some cover more items as well. Although the warranty provided by the manufacturer can cover other items, you will not be entirely protected if the roofing system has not been installed correctly.
10. After you have installed the roof, which services and educational programs are available afterwards for the facilities management team?
Manufacturers and associations such as the SPRI usually offer seminars to management teams. Such seminars help the teams to know more about commercial roofing systems; the various types available, as well as installation and maintenance requirements.