The Value of Roof Coatings and

Preventive Roof Maintenance Programs!

While a roof may account for only 10 percent of the cost of constructing a building, it is frequently the source of many of the building’s chronic problems and its repair and maintenance expenses. Among the structural, mechanical and protective systems comprising a building, protective systems in general, and roof systems specifically, are subject to the most distress. Unfortunately, a building’s roofing system is often the most neglected asset. Out of sight, out of mind.

Let’s take a look at the roof coatings categories used in the repair, restoration and maintenance of roof systems and their value in a long-term roof maintenance program.

There are a variety of effective roof coatings available to the commercial roofing contractor for most low-slope roofing systems and the number of coating options for BUR, Mod-Bit, Single-Ply, Metal, Concrete and SPF are increasing with the continual manufacturing research and design efforts seeking improvements.

Some coatings are integral to the original or re-roof system. Others are used to maintain specific roof systems, usually as part of a coating manufacturer’s system warranty specifications.

Essentially, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Roof Coatings can generally be grouped into three categories; functional coatings, reflective coatings, and maintenance system coatings.

Functional coatings, such as those with fibered solvent-based asphalt and asphalt emulsions, can seal minor imperfections in the underlying roof membrane and provide protection from the elements.

Reflective “cool roof” coatings protect and extend the life of the roof system by reflecting solar ultra violet  radiation before it can be absorbed into  the roof as heat.  Depending on a number of factors, including the local and regional climate and building design, reflective coatings will reduce building energy consumption and costs for the building owner and keep its occupants more comfortable.

Maintenance systems are professionally applied combinations of coatings and reinforcement fabrics creating a secondary waterproofing membrane attached to the first one.  Often involving a reflective roof coating, they can significantly extend the useful life of the existing roof system and often provide long-term, renewable warranties from reputable manufacturers.

No coating, even those as part of a maintenance system, can repair a failed roof.  But, by implementing a proactive, routine maintenance program that includes the proper use of the specified coatings, building owners can extend the life of the new or existing roof membrane at a much lower life-cycle cost compared to the unfortunate but common approach of neglect, repair and re-roof.

In fact, most manufacturers’ warranties require a planned roof maintenance program for the warranty to remain valid. Research has shown that as much as nearly 30 percent of roof leaks are caused by HVAC systems, and 25 percent caused by skylights and/or louvers.  Less than 1 percent of roof failure is caused by defective roofing materials, leaving improper installation, severe weather, and lack of maintenance to blame.

And it’s not only the roof deck and insulation that will be damaged and/or destroyed when a roof fails and leaks occur.  When you factor in interior ceiling tile, walls, floors, fixtures, furnishings, electrical systems, finished goods, and inventory, the financial impact can be enormous.

Add in the hidden costs of potential lost revenue and income, lawsuits, slip and fall accidents, mold problems and employee productivity impact and it’s obvious why a roof maintenance program is so very important and offers real value.

As such, the National Roofing Contractors Association advocates the best way for a building owner to obtain satisfactory roof system performance is to implement a long-term maintenance agreement with a professional roofing contractor.

There are four primary benefits of a formal roof maintenance program; Protecting and extending the useful life of the existing roof, allowing for budgeting and scheduling of needed repairs, avoiding interruptions to normal business activity, and ultimately that it is simply a less expensive option than re-roofing.

If your contracting business does not offer a formal roof maintenance program, having one could help you successfully grow your business revenue.  The maintenance add-on cost to the coating repair or restoration job  have higher profit margins and will help your bottom line.  Additionally, going back on your customer’s roof once or twice per year will keep out your competition and strengthen your customer relationships.

This can also ensure the opportunity to eventually re-roof the existing building and help land other new project, as well.

Developing, building and managing strong relationships will help you build a loyal and committed customer base.  This class of customer is less price sensitive and is typically willing to pay more for your services.  Price is less important in their purchase decision.  More so, loyal, committed customers will be a good source of leads through their recommendations of your services to their business connections.

If you don’t offer a maintenance program and are now convinced it is good for your business, establish  a plan.  To get started, prepare an overview of what you envision, including key milestones and financial goals.  Consider your best customer prospects to target and how you plan to communicate and promote this new service offered at  of your contracting business.  And be prepared to make the investment, of both time and finances, to make it a success.  The most successful roof maintenance programs have a dedicated team performing only maintenance work.

Once you follow through on your commitment, it’s time to market your maintenance services to prospective clients.  Remember, most building owners wisely purchase a comprehensive manufacturer’s system warranty to ensure protection against failures.  However, a guarantee is only in force if regular roof maintenance is performed and recorded properly.  If the property owner doesn’t follow the warranty terms of roof maintenance, they are not likely to be covered for the damages and cost of further repairs.

Roof maintenance coatings come in a variety of materials but everyone affected by a long-term maintenance program will gain the same benefit: saving money

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