Between daily operations and problems that require immediate attention, it’s easy to take your roof for granted. When revenues fall short and budgets have to be trimmed, roof maintenance is often among the casualties. As a result, you may find yourself forced to replace a roof earlier than you had planned.

What can property owners, managers, and engineers do to extend the working life of a roof and postpone an expensive replacement? A lot, actually – only one of the major factors that influence the performance of a roof system over time is not under your control — weather. Here’s a brief discussion of the others.

1. Design – Most people would consider this the most important single influence of the lifespan of a roof, but managers often ask contractors to submit their own designs as part of the bidding process. The roofers therefore have an incentive to propose cheaper designs to keep their bids low. While cost savings are a priority, the kind of compromises that a limited budget may require may not be in your best interest.

You’re better off working out the details of your needs before the bidding process. That process won’t add much to the overall cost of the project. Plus, when everyone involved is looking at the same set of specifications, the bids will be meaningfully comparable instead of a race to the bottom.

2. Installation – Labor is the largest line item in a roofing budget, and other factors depend on it. If the installation is faulty, the quality of the design and the materials doesn’t matter. Therefore, it’s critically important to conduct research on the contractors bidding on your job, checking references and leaning as much as you can about their previous work.

3. Materials – This is another area in which saving money must be weighed against long-term considerations. In most cases, the difference in price between high- and lower-quality products is negligible as a percentage of the overall budget.

4. Maintenance – The time for managers to develop and implement a detailed schedule for inspection and maintenance of a roof is immediately after installation. Some folks use a warranty to justify neglecting maintenance during the first several years of a roof’s service. It’s important to remember that small problems with a roof have been known to develop into extended disruptions to your business’s operations, and those aren’t covered by a warranty.

5. Construction Inspection – In an undertaking as expensive as a roof installation, it’s prudent to set up a comprehensive inspection program.to make sure that contractors are following design specifications, quality-assurance requirements, and safety standards.

Of course, you’ll have to pay up front for an appropriate design, high-quality materials, and professional construction, not to mention the ongoing expenses associated with regular inspections and maintenance. But spending now can protect you from extremely expensive repairs in the future.

The professionals at Energy Seal are happy to speak with you about another way to significantly extend the working life of your roof: elastomeric roof coatings, which protect against leaks and other types of damage while reducing your electricity bill. If you’re interested, contact us at 800.587.3758 or sales@energy-seal.com.