Just like owners of other commercial businesses, self-storage operators are subscribing to a new, forward way of thinking when it comes to roof maintenance. The emphasis is on repair and restoration over replacement, which is expensive and can be disruptive. Now, replacements are done only when there’s no other option.
Run-to-failure is an old way of thinking that no longer works. Today’s facility operators exhaust all efforts to extend the life of their roofs. They understand the value of planned, smaller investments such as semi-annual inspections and gutter-cleaning performed by a qualified technician. They don’t ignore the roof, thinking they’re saving money along the way. They make it a priority to minimize the risk of a major problem by intervening in a timely manner with professional repairs and restoration.
A wave of innovation in the roofing industry has helped foster this proactive approach. When you get in front of problems before they occur or escalate, you can maximize the useful lifespan of your roofs. Spending a little upfront can prevent a major capital expense from hitting you when you least expect it.
Can It Be Repaired?
Every roof will spring a leak at some point. And all leaks, no matter how big or small, need to be resolved quickly to prevent them from evolving into larger issues such as slip-and-fall risks, mold from wet insulation, damage to tenant goods, insect infestation, higher utility costs and others.
Think of your roof as a car. If your car started making a strange noise, would you automatically sell and replace it with a new one? Probably not. Most likely you’d have a mechanic take a look to determine the cause of the noise and the best way to resolve it, hoping for a quick, cost-effective solution.
At the onset of a roof problem, the first course of action should be to contact a trusted roofing contractor. Explain what’s happening and your plans for the buildings to help the company determine the most economical, durable solution for your needs. Typically, repair is the cheapest option and the quickest way to resolve a problem. When possible, it’s the ideal way to extend the useful life of the roof.
Restoring to ‘Like New’
As a roof approaches the end of its projected useful life and repairs become too frequent and cost-prohibitive, it’s time to consider a restoration. Too often we see roofs being replaced when a refurbishment is all that’s needed.
Intervening with a restoration at the right time can save as much as half the cost of a complete tear-off and replacement, and it can be just as effective at bringing the roof to watertight condition and back under a long-term warranty. In addition to cost-savings, restoration results in far less disruption to your tenants and business operation. It also creates far less landfill waste than a replacement.
Another benefit is restorations can be done on individual roof sections. A self-storage facility might only need a troublesome area fixed, or one or two buildings. Furthermore, the process can be repeated many times, resetting the clock on the warranty and watertight condition, and once again allowing you to delay replacement.
Bear in mind that restorations are only possible for certain roof types, including metal, with specific types of damage. If a roof has too much wet insulation, for example, it can’t be restored. Some roofs are simply too far gone.
The Final Option
In some cases, the roof is in such disrepair and the system has outworn its useful life to such a degree that a replacement is the only logical choice. If that happens, there are many factors to consider such as climate, building type, warranty length and more. There are many roof systems on the market, but with modern technology, we now know more about the materials and systems that work best in specific circumstances.
Trust in a provider that’ll be open-minded and honest about your options when assessing your roof. Find one who shares in a philosophy of extending roof life vs. automatically settling on a costly replacement.
Practicing proactive roof repair and restoration can allow you to better manage your overall budget. When your roof costs are under control and more predictable, you can confidently assign dollars to other projects.
Anthony Vross is a co-owner of Simon Roofing, a national roofing manufacturer and contractor. The company provides roof-asset management, evaluation, preventive maintenance, repairs, restoration and replacement. For more information, call 888.353.7178; visit www.simonroofing.com.