Commercial Flat Roof Repair Costs: A Guide

commercial roof

Flat roofs have a job to do: spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year keeping your building safe from the elements – and even for the best flat roof out there, this constant work takes its toll. Maintaining your flat roof means accepting that every now and then, it will need repair – it’s inevitable. But when should you do it, and what are the costs associated with it? The true cost of repairs extends beyond the contractor invoice. As a commercial building manager, your maintenance and repair decisions impact company downtime, long-term cash flow, and the protection of your assets.

Preparing for and understanding the commercial flat roof repair costs can help you make an informed decision that correctly balances long-term building health with budget.

Understanding The Problem

Your flat roof takes a hammering from the sun and weather, leading to several common flat roof problems, including:

  • Ponding – dips in the surface that cause water to gather and linger.
  • Alligatoring – cracks and ripples in the membrane caused by repeating heating and cooling.
  • Rips and tears – common wear issues that can be caused by anything from nesting birds to falling branches.
  • Damaged flashing – like the membrane itself, the flashing is susceptible to ongoing wear and tear.

To understand what can happen to your flat roof in more detail, why not look at some of our in-depth articles on the subject?

Link here.

What Impacts Commercial Flat Roof Repair Costs?

Importantly, what are the factors that can drive commercial flat roof repair costs through the roof? (Pardon the poor pun!). As commercial flat roof repair can cost anything from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds, how do you know on what side of that scale your project is going to fall?

1 – The Scale of the Problem

As you can imagine, there’s a huge cost difference between a small puncture vs. widespread issues. The scale of the damage is going to be the single biggest factor in determining your costs; that’s why it’s essential that you catch issues early and get them fixed before they grow worse – we cannot emphasise enough how much we recommend regular flat roof surveys.

Unchecked, even small-looking damage can become (and hide) a larger and more expensive problem. Water can leak through and cause damage to the interior structure, mould can grow and eat away at both interior and exterior materials, and you can suffer a huge operational downtime if the problem means having to temporarily relocate your team.

Make sure that when you get a quote for repair, it’s from a company that took the time to do a thorough inspection both externally and internally. Someone walking around from ground level doing an eyeball quote is ineffective and will doubtless lead to surprise add-ons later in the job. 

The Flat Roof Material

Commercial flat roofs are not all made from the same material, and each has its own repair costs and different quirks. Balancing the durability, maintenance costs, and repair difficulties against the initial cost of a flat roof material is an important early consideration that greatly affects this stage of flat roof ownership.

Some materials, such as GRP (fibreglass), have an incredibly long lifespan and low maintenance needs, but if you get to the stage where they need repair, that can be costly. On the other side of the coin, felt roofing (BUR) is prone to weathering, and while it is far more cost-effective to install, it will require a more regular repair schedule.

Simply put, some materials are easier to repair than others, which will clearly affect the total of your commercial flat roof repair costs.

Commercial Flat Roof Repairs

Labour

It can be tempting to try to save costs with the labour associated with your flat roof repair, but more often than not, this is a false economy that leads to far more significant problems down the line.

Ask yourself why a particular company is more expensive than another, and you will likely quickly realise the value that comes with a premium:

  • Greater experience
  • Investment in better equipment
  • A proven safety record
  • Support project management and administrative staff
  • Confidence and superior workmanship
  • A full schedule of happy repeat clients willing to pay the premium

When you use an established and professional company of commercial roofing specialists, you get the best workmanship and service. They will undertake the repairs efficiently, minimising disruption to your business operations. Their work will be better, meaning there’s less chance of problems cropping up in the future. They will be far less likely to damage anything while undertaking their work – plus, they’ll be fully insured should an accident happen.

With the proper safety equipment and team size to do the job, it will be done safer, quicker, and better. It’s simple.

The risk of hidden additional costs with inexperienced contractors is significant: poor repairs, the need for them to come back and redo work (often with additional costs), plus potential damage to the underlying structure. The enticing savings that the quote suggests are rarely as worthwhile as they may seem.

Some Additional Factors that Affect the Cost

Often, the specifics of your project are not obvious until a proper survey is done. Consider how the following might impact the cost of the flat roof repair:

  • Roof height
  • Complex roofing layout
  • A requirement for scaffolding
  • Surrounding environment intrusion (trees, etc.)
  • Access times to minimise business disruption (after hours, weekends)
  • Need for emergency repairs (more expensive than planned maintenance)

The Value of a Proactive Approach

Hiding your head in the sand is never a good idea – including with your flat roof maintenance. Regular flat roof inspections should be a part of your preventative maintenance and will save considerably on repair costs. It is essential that minor issues are addressed before they escalate as small (and cheap) roof repairs can turn into significant roof repairs if left to worsen; and those significant roof repairs can become a complete roof replacement if ignored for too long!

Undertaking regular maintenance extends the lifespan of your roof and lowers overall costs in the long term.

Commercial Flat Roof Repairs with PFR

As a building manager, you need to understand every factor that goes into the cost of your roof repairs to make an informed decision about your long-term building health. At PFR, we offer a comprehensive free roof survey that will highlight any issues with your roof and give you the power to make proper calculations to schedule your roof maintenance and repair. Request a quote today to find out more.

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