Author Archives: Great Lakes

An Energy-Efficiency Guide for Commercial Buildings

upward view of power lines

How can you make an energy-efficient building?

When you own or manage a commercial structure, an energy-efficient building is important. The bigger the structure and the older the structure, the more important it becomes. Energy efficiency in commercial buildings isn’t as easy as it is in our homes, but it is possible.

It is easier to build a new commercial structure into an energy-efficient building than it is to make an existing structure energy-efficient. In fact, it seems like a monumental feat right now, but with the following tips, you’ll find out it isn’t as daunting of a task as you’ve imagined right now to make existing structures energy-efficient buildings: 

  • Replacing The HVAC System: If you haven’t replaced the HVAC system in the last 10 years or more, then you need to do that first for a more energy-efficient building. Cooling and heating large commercial structures can get expensive. Check to make sure the infrastructure doesn’t need repairs first, and then get quotes on the new HVAC system, one that is more energy efficient. 
  • Replace the Roofing System: When you aren’t sure how to make a commercial building more energy efficient, look to the roof! You may be surprised how much of your cooling and heating is going right through the roof, with your utility bills! Get a few quotes on having an energy-efficient roof installed that will reflect the sun in the summer and keep the heat inside during the winter. 
  • Update the Windows: What cooling and heating aren’t going through the roof is going through the windows! Windows have a huge impact on energy efficiency. If installing new windows isn’t feasible, consider window glazing to help manage the solar heat gain and loss. 
  • Upgrade the Water Heaters: Most people don’t realize that commercial structures will have multiple water heaters, and each one can be a huge drain on the utilities. A large portion of your energy costs are fact is going to heat the water in your building. Upgrade each unit to a high-efficiency model, taking a look at the tank-less version, and you’ll be surprised how much that will help your utility bills each month, including the water! 
  • Energy Efficiency Appliances and Electronics: From the computers and other office equipment like copiers, fax machines, and more, replace them with new updated equipment that is energy efficient. Replaced the breakrooms with energy-efficient dishwashers, microwaves, refrigerators, and stoves. Go with items that are marked as ENERGY STAR® and when things aren’t in use, unplug them! 

When it comes to updating your commercial structure to a more energy-efficient building, there are a lot of things you can do. The marketplace is full of energy-efficient products for commercial buildings that can help and all without making your customers or staff inconvenienced or uncomfortable. 

What is the most energy-efficient building material?

Okay, so you have some ideas about what to do with your current commercial structure. What about new construction though? What are some things you can do to make your new-build structure a more energy-efficient building? 

Every commercial building owner is looking for ways to reduce their overall costs and starting with the energy costs will give you more ROI than laying off staff. Here, offer a few innovative materials that are being used in the commercial construction industry today: 

  • Solar Shingles: If solar panels aren’t possible for your new construction, consider solar shingles for the roofing. They will harness the sun’s power to generate electricity for your building, which will allow you to cut back your electricity expenses going forward – a great ROI to be enjoyed for years. 
  • Cool Roofs: This new technology is what will keep the temperature lower so that there is less strain on the HVAC system. A cool roof reflects the sun’s heat, not absorb it, which in turn will reduce your energy costs. As a bonus, this is a green alternative that will not only give you an energy-efficient building but could earn you some tax credit too. 
  • PEX Piping: You may be surprised to find out that much of the heat in your structure is coming from the water pipes. With more hot water passing through traditional piping, the more your air conditioning has to run and that increases the utility bills. Have your new construction pipe with PEX piping and keep that hot water in the pipes. 
  • Polyiso Insulation: For any building to be energy-efficient, insulation is critical. With the many different insulation types available for commercial structures, a foam board insulation, Polyiso, has an R-value higher per inch compared to all the other options. This is a cost-effective and durable insulation ideal for commercial structures, and it is environmentally friendly, which could earn you some tax credits. 
  • Modular Partitions: Another way to have an energy-efficient building is to control the airflow inside your structure. Modular glass walls have proven to be one of the best ways to do that. Glass allows the natural light to flow through and as a mobile wall unit, you can change the layout to be more effective and energy-efficient. 

What are some energy-efficient construction techniques? 

For new commercial building construction, there are multiple things that can be done that will minimize energy consumption, like these five ways that have become common and have proven to be effective: 

The HVAC Systems

If the HVAC system isn’t appropriately regulated, it can be the biggest pull of energy. Having an energy-efficient HVAC system installed will adjust the air intake through an adjustable exhaust hood setting and other means. The timer system will help minimize the operation during empty or low capacity times of the building. 

Solar Power

Solar panels or solar shingles are effective renewable energy that will cut down the building’s electricity usage. The panels need to be positioned where they will get the most sun exposure and where there is plenty of space for the number of panels needed.

Insulation

An energy-efficient building should be able to cool and heat itself independently, and ample insulation can make that happen. It aids in regulating the temperature and reduces the air that can escape from the building. 

The Building Design 

The orientation of your commercial building can significantly affect the energy efficiency, this includes the placement of other elements related to the building. Your builders should target temperature regulation as much as possible as a way to minimize the cooling and heating having excessive use. 

LED Lighting and Daylighting

Today LED lighting is more commonly used over halogen or incandescent lighting. Your building design should include LED lighting as an energy saver while still getting the same lighting the old energy-consuming lighting used. A priority focus on glass elements and windows through the building will give you more natural light, thus needing less electricity. 

Roof with solar panels

In Closing 

It is important for commercial building owners to realize how energy-efficient windows for commercial buildings will help their budget with energy-efficient commercial building tax deductions. While they’re saving money, they’re also helping the environment. To learn more or get help with windows or cool roofing in Pittsburgh, PA, reach out to our team at 412-256-8050.

What to Do if Your Roof is Leaking

Office interior with a leaking roof.

Know the Steps to Take for a Leaky Roof

To own a commercial structure is an awesome feeling of success and prestige. Or is it? While a commercial structure has its impression of being successful, it can also lead to worries, like a commercial roof leak.

Yes, as the size of your building gets bigger, the problems can get bigger too. So what happens if you don’t fix a roof leak?

A lot! A leaking roof for a home is bad enough, but when you ignore it, it simply exacerbates it for a commercial building because there is more to be affected and damaged. What damage can a leaking roof cause? Here are just a few of the dangers you could be faced with: 

  • MILDEW AND MOLD GROWTH

Because a commercial building is larger than a residence, there is more space, and the more space, the less likely you are to find water dripping in little by little. So that small drip is left to be, and before long, there is a dark, mildewed, molded, wet corner in your building. Not only is it discolored on the ceiling and walls, and even the floor, that mold is sucking into your HVAC system and spreading through your building like a fire. 

  • HEALTH CONCERNS

That first issue leads to health concerns and adverse effects that your customers and employees could be suffering. Mildew and mold are major allergens for everyone, even healthy people. And anyone that suffers a respiratory illness or is immune-compromised is even more susceptible. That’s not to mention the puddle of water that could lead somebody to slip and fall. That commercial roof leak could cost you in employee time off. 

  • STRUCTURAL DAMAGE  

Water is a natural resource that we need to appreciate and conserve. However, it is an evil to a structure. Besides causing mildew and mold discoloration that will need repainting, a commercial roof leak will also weaken a structure’s framework. The ceiling starts to sag, the walls can’t hold up and begin to buckle and sag, and before you know it, you have a collapsed building. Or a partially collapsed one, anyway.

  • WOOD ROT

Any building will use a lot of wood in the construction process. The bigger the building, the more wood, like the ceiling joists and rafters. As we said above, water is not a friend of wood, yet wood still absorbs the moisture, a love lost but not yet recognized. As the moisture content’s stability is disrupted from a commercial roof leak, the wood begins to expand and contract, and that makes the integrity of the structure vulnerable. The wood will eventually buckle, rot, and collapse, and the only thing to do is replace the wood.

  • ELECTRICAL SHORTS

An aspect that will affect residential or commercial structures alike is the damage to electricity that can happen with a roof leak. Dry housing is preferable for electrical wiring and even when it has a moisture-proof coating, it can become compromised, and areas that aren’t protected can be shorted out. 

Is a leaking roof an emergency?

Yes –  based on the information we just provided, if you discover a leak in your commercial structure, you need immediate roof leak detection and repair. If the commercial roof leak is disrupting your business here and now, then of course you’d get it repaired right away, right? By putting it off though, re-read the paragraph above and let that convince you that NOW is the time to fix that commercial roof leak. 

How do you temporarily fix a leaky roof?

If you have a major commercial roof leak, you’ll need a professional roof leak repair company to fix it right, which may mean an all-new roof. However, if you have just a small leak and a small budget, you can use the following steps to stop the leak temporarily and get you a professional roof leak repair estimate later: 

  • Locate the Leak

Look inside the building where the leak is, although where it is pooled up doesn’t mean that’s where it’s coming from… but it’s a start. Measure the area suspected of leaking from the nearest wall or window. 

  • Up on the Roof

From the measurements you have from inside, search for the leak on the rooftop. Look for roof membrane damage around the flashing and vents.  

  • Remove the Debris

Remove any debris and other foreign matter that has collected on the roof. You may find what caused the leak. 

  • Dry the Area

A flat roof collects water, so you want to get the damaged area as dry as possible before you begin repairing your commercial roof leak. 

  • Identify the Damage

Look for blisters, cracks, and damage to the roof.

  • Cut the Damaged Area

If there is a blister, carefully cut out the blistered, damaged membrane and remove the moisture (though remember, it needs to be thoroughly dry). 

  • Apply the Roofing Cement

Peel back the membrane layers that you just cut open and apply a generous coating of roofing cement to the leaking areas and surrounding spaces.  This will plug the commercial roof leak and provide adhesion for the flaps to stick down.  Now press hard so they can reseal. 

  • Nail it All Down

With all the flaps you created down in place with the adhesive, nail them down to the roof to secure them, being careful not to nail any wires.

Commercial roof covered in puddles.

Is a leaking roof covered by insurance?

Just like homeowner’s insurance, business insurance would cover water damage of a commercial leaking roof if it were caused by a covered event. A covered event will be spelled out in your policy, but typical coverage includes hailstones, high winds, and the like. 

Even with a temporary commercial roof leak, you should have a professional roofing contractor inspect the entire roof and give you an estimate and advice on making a permanent roof leak repair or replacement. Need help now? Call Great Lakes Commercial Roofing today at 412-256-8050.

Is Foam Roofing Worth It?

foam roofing

Choosing foam roofing

Here in the Great Lakes area of the country, our weather can go from a blistering sunshine day to a blustery snowbound day. Commercial structures need the best roofing to handle both of kinds of weather and foam roofing can do just that. 

Spray foam roofing pros and cons are many, and we’ll cover those as we answer commonly asked questions about foam roofing on commercial structures. First  though, we will specify exactly what is spray foam roofing?

Spray foam roof is a plastic type of material that can seal up cracks and gapes while insulating a building, making it more comfortable and energy-efficient. Because it has a resistance to heat transfer, it is  highly effective in minimizing unwanted air infiltrating into the building through cracks, joints, and seams. There are three main types of foam roofing used, each with a specific purpose:

  • HIGH-DENSITY:  Good for exterior and roofing use. 
  • MEDIUM-DENSITY: A continuous insulation in interior wall cavities and unvented attics.
  • LOW-DENSITY: Good for interior wall cavities and unvented attic applications.

How long do foam roofs last?

The answer to this question will start with “it depends”.  The factors that can determine the lifespan of foam roofing is quality of the installation and the follow-maintenance and upkeep of the roof. On the average, with little to no maintenance or upkeep routine, you can expect to get 20 years from your foam roofing. With routine maintenance and regular upkeep, the lifespan can be up to 30 years. 

  • Recommended maintenance includes: 
  • Recoat the foam roofing surface the 5th year and 25th year after installation. 
  • Inspection and touch up the foam roofing surface the 10th, 15th, and 20th year after installation. 

Should your foam roofing last past the 25th year, which if this maintenance schedule is followed, the roofing contractor will advise you when the next inspection, touch up, and recoating.  Your foam roofing could last well up to 80 years with this schedule. 

Can you walk on a foam roof?

Yes! You can walk on foam roofing, jump up and down too. Walk on it in stiletto heels, bang on it with a hammer or stab it with a screwdriver. Foam roofing will compress itself, healing itself and the rare times it doesn’t, no problem!  An easy repair is done by filling the crack, gap, or hole left behind with  polyurethane caulking. This closed cell foam roofing material is solid with one and a half to two inches thick. 

Is spray foam watertight?

Yes, of all the spray foam roofing material, the fact it is moisture-curing and self-expanding is one of the things that makes it so attractive. It will adhere to every common building material, resisting heat and water, slow to age and if you’re wondering, will spray foam stop water leaks, the answer is yest!  Foam roofing fills cracks, gaps, holes, and other void like around pipes and other protrusions on a flat roof to keep water out. 

foam roof application

Is foam roofing good?

Yes, the spray foam roofing benefits are proof as to why so many commercial property owners choose to go this route for their flat roofing coverage. While we have covered those benefits in this piece, we offer the following recap to the benefits of foam roofing: 

  • Energy Bills are Lower: One of the benefits that foam roofing offers is a superior insulation property that suspend aluminum particles of the foam to reflect the strong UV rays of the sun. With that, there is less air conditioning needed in the summer and less heating in the winter. Foam roofing can lower energy bills by thirty percent. 
  • Waterproofing: Foam roofing has a unique waterproof quality, making it a great insulator. This closed cell foam roofing material will not absorb water, even in a monsoon type rainstorm. Spray foam roofing starts in a liquid form, then forms a single monolithic membrane. When this material is used to cover an entire roof, there aren’t any joints or seams to worry about water getting into. 
  • Flexible Installation: Foam roofing can be applied on an existing or new roof and over concrete, metal, or wood, dome shape, flat, or sloped roof lines. Even an irregular-shaped roof, foam roofing is the perfect roof coating. 
  • Structural Integrity: Polyurethane foam roofing can withstand contracting and expanding of a structure and still remain in good condition for sealing the roof. It can withstand high winds, hard rain, and plenty of sunshine without breaking down.

The main factor that will make spray foam roofing the best money spent is hiring a commercial roofing contractor that knows how to apply foam roofing.  When it isn’t installed correctly, the benefits are overshadowed. As you call for estimates and quotes, ask for recent references and check those references. Call 412-256-8050 today for your foam roofing application in Pittsburgh, PA.

Should I choose commercial roof replacement or restoration?

flat white roofing system

What is a roof restoration?

Owning a commercial structure has a lot of responsibilities, whether you operate the business that is contained in it or lease it to another company.  Either way, there is the mortgage and insurance, the maintenance and upkeep, the utilities and more.  This all adds up to a lot of money over time, so when it comes to roofing the structure, a roof restoration is often the more appealing option. 

Roof restoration is the process of cleaning, repairing, and repainting a roof instead of replacing the roof with all new roofing materials. This process is cheaper than replacement and extends the lifespan of the roof.

Roof restoration is not the same as a roof repair. A roof repair is the process of fixing one or two small issues and is less expensive than a roof restoration. A roof restoration is covering the entire roof with a roof coating. If a commercial building has a roof that is near its end-of-life, a roof restoration will add to that life it has left while sealing any cracks and holes that could begin leaking. 

How long does a roof restoration last?

The normal life expectancy of a commercial roof is 15 to 20 years, depending on the type of membrane material used and the environment the building is located. A roof restoration  installed by a contractor that knows how to commercial roof restoration application, will give that exiting roof another 15 years with proper maintenance and upkeep. 

Most commercial roofers offer a 10 year warranty of a roof restoration. This is something you want to clarify with each roof restoration quote you get and have that warranty put in writing. 

What is the best commercial roofing material?

There are different forms of commercial roofing so that they fit the needs of the structure they are installed on and within the owner’s budget. The kind of roof chosen for a commercial building will have a vital role in the structure’s overall health as well as the roof’s lifespan.

Things that can affect a commercial roof are like a residential roof. The surrounding environment and the climate, weather, and other variables such as critters and foliage. Other important factors that impact a commercial roof’s integrity and lifespan is the owner’s diligence of maintenance and upkeep, like roof restoration and repairs. 

Here we offer a list of three of the most common commercial roofing materials used today for flat or low sloping roofs:

BUILT-UP ROOFING MEMBRANE – aka a BUR and is the tar-n-gravel roof that most of us recognize. It is made with layers or piles of materials and can be limited to what the owner can budget. It is a flexible roof that is durable and is a cost-effective way to roof a low-slope commercial roofing system.

METAL ROOFING – a popular choice for commercial structures because of the variety of metals that can be used:

  • Aggregates including aluminum, silicon-coated steel, zinc
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Corrugated galvanized steel
  • Lead
  • Metal tile sheets
  • Stainless steel
  • Stone-coated steel
  • Tin

Because metal is vulnerable to rusting, a protective surface layer is added to manage and minimize any damage from environmental and sunlight exposure. Metal roofing today is an attractive roofing that can match any architectural style. When budgeting and durability are key factors for the building owner, metal is the best choice. A fire resistant material that helps with insurance costs and is a sustainable material too. 

MODIFIED BITUMEN ROOFING  – the reinforced roof fabrics used for this type of roof are the carriers for bitumen. It is cut later when installed, much like the above described BUR roofing membrane. Fastened as two-ply system and then adhered to the roofing deck, providing protection and stability. A simple roofing for maintenance purpose, needing cleaning and inspection annually. Great for roof that have heavy foot traffic. 

Does roof coating stop leaks?

Yes, a silicone roof coating seals up existing areas that are leaking without having to inspect the roof and identify each questionable area. It is always best to have the same commercial roofing contractor install the roof coating and perform the roof restoration if possible. If it isn’t possible, using an experienced commercial roofing contractor is the best policy and have a written warranty in hand should you need it later. 

How do you repair a commercial roof?

When comes to budget, a roof restoration vs roof replacement roof restoration is cheaper than a new roof, but a commercial roof restoration cost more than roof repairs.  If the budget can only afford repairs at this time, that is better than ignoring the issue and allowing the roof to rot. 

Roof repairs are done by scrapping off the areas needing repairs, and the immediate area around them.  Clean the area well then apply a thick coating of roof cement and smooth out any unevenness. This can be done on any cracks or holes that could be possible roof leaks. 

flat black roofing system

What are the types of commercial roof restoration? 

When to comes to roof restoration material, the popular choice by roofing contractors is an elastomeric coating. It has proven to be an efficient material and can be applied in different methods based on the determining factors like the roof construction, roof type, the chemistry of the existing roof with the elastomeric coating, and the time of year. 

The ownership of a commercial structure is a major expense and an investment that should be taken care of properly. Roof restoration is one of the best ways to handle an aging roof on the less expensive side of owning a commercial structure. Call 412-256-8050 today for roof restoration in Pittsburgh, PA.

Can snow damage my commercial roof?

snow on a commercial roofing system

Snow wear on roofing

We hear and see stories about ice, snow, and wind damage to homes, but not much about commercial roof repair for those things. If you think about  it though, a commercial roof is subjected to as much weather damage as a residential roof, even more so maybe because of their size. Commercial roof repair from weather related incidents can be expensive and the building owners have the same concerns as a homeowner does about their roof. 

How is snow on roof bad for a commercial roof? Roof on a commercial structure can create just as many dangers as it does for a homeowner. A business has to keep their sidewalks and  walkways clear of snow and ice for their employees, clients, and visitors to come and go safely, and the same for their commercial roofing. Keeping the snow and ice cleared off so that icicles don’t form on the roof edge, crack, and hit anyone walking by.

Part of a commercial building owner is having their roof cleared as the snow accumulates, but how much snow can roof hold before commercial roof repair is needed? How much snow is too much snow for a commercial building? It depends. Commercial roofing can typically hold up to sixty pounds per square foot of ice and snow, depending on the condition of the roof  and the slope of the roof.  

How much snow on roof is dangerous?

In the far north east, even here in Pennsylvania, it isn’t unusual to get as much as six to seven feet of snow some winters. Anything more than 3 feet high of snow starts to become a concern. Yes, that much snow is posing a dangerous situation with frozen gutters, ice dams, and ice covered roof drainage, creating a need for commercial roof repair before the snow melts.

 Among residential properties, there are commercial structures getting damaged rooftops and the commercial roof repair business picks up just as much as the residential roof repair business. So, may businesses hire somebody, or have their own janitorial staff start clearing snow off their rooftops – bus should they? 

Should you remove snow from roof?

According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the attempt to remove snow from a commercial roof can be dangerous. It can create a risk for the person(s) removing the snow and it can also be dangerous to the roof itself, creating emergency commercial roof repair needs. 

Just as the question earlier “How much snow is too much snow?”, and the answer was, “It depends.”, the same answer applies to how much snow can safely be removed? Again the roof construction, shape, slope, and stability can all factor into how much snow should be removed.  The previous maintenance can factor into that equation too and any previous commercial roof repairs that has been done. Experts and FEMA have recommended leaving at least two foot of snow when removing it, but keep any icicles formed knocked off. 

Does snow on roof insulate a property?

Probably seems like a silly question, “Is snow on roof good or bad insulation?”, and the answer may surprise you.  A  blanket of snow can have some insulating effects on a roof. Yes, there can be too much, it can cause more problems when it begins to melt, like snow on roof causing leaks that leads to commercial roof repair jobs, and the refreezing and ice dams, etc., etc. 

So, yes, if there is too much snow, you need to have it removed. As we stated earlier though, FEMA recommends leaving approximately two foot of snow. Why? First reason is to minimize the possible damage that could be done, requiring expensive and extensive commercial roof repair or even replacement. Second reason, it is providing some type of insulation for the building and keeping heat inside. 

melted snow on a flat roof

Does insurance cover ice damage to roof?

Just like homeowner’s insurance, business property insurance policies are all different and each have variances.  Some information we did find out, and you’ll want to check with your own policy to confirm this applies to you, a property that is insured under “Causes of Loss—Basic .Form”, there is coverage for  named perils. Only the perils that are specifically included in this basic form are covered, and the damage or loss must have be caused directly by one of those named perils. Hail and windstorm are usually listed as one of those perils. 

Excluded from coverage for a property with Broad Form Causes of Loss, are any damages caused by hail or windstorm from any of the following: 

  • Cold weather or Frost,
  • Ice (not hail), sleet, or snow wind driven or not,
  • Damage or loss to the building interior or  exterior property caused by dust, rain, sand, or snow.

How long should a commercial roof last? When a commercial roof was professionally installed and has been maintained properly, the average lifespan can be between ten years to forty years. The lifespan can vary based on the climate and the roofing materials used. Need help with commercial roof repair in Pittsburgh, PA? Call 412-256-8050 today.

Is a Standing Seam Metal Roof Good?

standing seam metal

What’s the difference between standing seam vs corrugated metal roofs?

Let’s start this article off by answering a question many people ask when they aren’t well informed about commercial roofing: What is a standing seam roof? A standing seam roof is a durable and maintenance-free metal roof common on commercial structures consisting of vertical panels, a seam on each side that stand up vertically, thus the “standing seam” name. . 

The roofing panels of a standing seam roof can be constructed with a variety of radius profiles, a popular choice for structures with numerous roof levels. Once a standing seam roof is installed, it has shadow lines that run endlessly from the eave to the ridge, with an accent on every roof angle’s pitch and plane. 

Metal roofs have become the ultimate solution in roofing today for commercial and residential properties. When it comes to design, standing seam vs asphalt shingles, metal standing seam roofs can meet or beat asphalt shingles today. 

What about Standing seam vs corrugated metal, which is the better choice? Either one is a good product, both beat out the standard asphalt shingle roofing material, but of the two, a standing seam metal roof is the superior choice for three reasons: 

  • Appearance and Design: It is common confusion for many when they hear corrugated metal roofing. To help clarify, corrugated is anything with alternate grooves and ridges, such as  corrugated box. When using the word corrugated in conjunction with metal roofing, it is referring to the interlocking ripples of the metal sheets. So, what is a standing seam metal roof then? It is interlocking metal panels with raised seams running from the ridge to the eaves. The design and texture are better for shedding snow and water and is recommended for low-pitched roofing.
  • Fastening: Both roofs offer different aesthetics, and both have different systems of fastening. The standing seam roof fastening is more reliable than the interlocking system of corrugated metal roofing which is fastened to the roof sheathing. A standing seam roof is installed and fastened above the surface with the screws concealed and protected by the surface. This creates a streamlined look with material that is durable and thicker than the corrugate metal. 
  • Durability: Corrugated metal roofing isn’t able to accommodate flashed brackets, the fasteners are exposed and become loose in ten years. This increase the need for maintenance compared to a standing seam roof.  With concealed fasteners that are protected by the standing seams, water is able to run off better, less chance of leaking, lifting up, or rusting.                    

Is standing seam roof worth the money?

In general, a standing seam roof is going to be more expensive at installation compared to asphalt or corrugated metal. However, the pros and cons of a standing seam roof will justify the expense later. 

  • A standing seam roof has little to no maintenance required, and with better insulation and a watertight sealing, it offers a lifespan expectancy of over 50 years.
  • The metal used for a standing seam roof is thicker with each panel created identical yet independently. 
  • An individually-reinforced standing seam roof is easier to install because they are lighter.
  • The raised edges that hide the fastening on a standing seam roof makes a better curb appeal for the structure. 

Are metal roofs good?

Roofing shingles made from asphalt, clay, slate, or tile have a life span of fifty years with average care and upkeep. Their surfaces are affected by season changes, which requires they be power-washed or swept on a frequent basis to extend their lifespan. 

Contractors and roofing experts recommend a metal roof if the budget can afford it because of the durability in various climates. The most a metal roof may need is recoating versus re-roofing as required by other roofing materials. 

Metal roofing on building

Is there a tax credit for installing a metal roof?

At this time, there is no research finding that a commercial structure has any tax benefits to having a metal roof installed. The contractor you choose to work with can confirm this for you, and if it is tax deductible, they will have the certificate or form for you to include with your tax filing. 

This article on stand seam roof has been focused on commercial structures, but more homeowners are seeing the benefits of having one installed on their home. There are two things they are concerned with when they are considering a standing seam roof, with one being the noise.  A metal standing seam roof that is installed correctly with insulation won’t have the loud noise level that the old barn in your granddads pasture did. 

The other frequent questions roofing contractors are asked is, “Does a metal roof make your house hotter?”, and again, it is all based on proper installation and insulation. A metal roof will reflect the sun’s UV rays instead of absorbing the heat, radiating it into your home. Overall, a metal roof is a smart investment for any commercial or residential property owner. Call 412-256-8050 today for your standing seam metal roof in Pittsburgh, PA.

Single Ply Roofing Materials

inox chimney on the flat roof in the city

Learn More About Single Ply Roofing

If you’re in the market for creating a more sustainable and durable roofing condition for your flat or commercial roof consider single ply roofing materials. There are a number of options that will best be able to match with your roof so that you can enjoy a flexible, cool and well protected roof that will be able to protect from changing weather and daily conditions. Ultimately it’s best to do your research and find out more about single ply roofing. A professional roofing company can best confer with you about your options, until then here is some general background information regarding single ply roofing that may prove useful to you.

What is single ply roofing?

Single ply roofing are roofing materials that are specially made for low sloping or flat roofs. They have prefabricated detailing accessories which makes installation easier with wide width sheeting. They have fewer seams than asphaltic rolled roof systems and won’t require any torching or hot asphalt for installation.

What are flat roofs called?

Flat roofs are also known as low-slope roofs and are commonly found with commercial properties around the world. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association a low-slipe roof is defined as having a slope of 3-12 inches of less. 

Which roof type would a single ply roof membrane be installed on?

Single ply roofing is ideal for low sloped and flat roofs. Mechanically fastened single ply roofing can be used on all types of slopes without limitations and are preferred for hurricane prone areas. 

What is single ply membrane made of? 

Single ply roofing can be made of a variety of materials yet is predominately composed of synthetic polymer. These roofing materials make the membrane flexible yet strong. Single ply roofing can range in thickness from 1.1mm to +2mm. While some products are homogenous others are reinforced with glass fiber or polyester depending on the application.

inox chimney on the flat roof in the city

Types of Single-Ply Roofing

  • Thermoplastics: 
    • TPO Roofing Systems
    • PVC Roofing Systems 
  • Thermosets:
    • EPDM Roofing Systems
  • Vulcanized Roofing

What is the difference between TPO and EPDM roofing?

With single ply roofing, the difference between TPO and EPDM roofing are as follows. EPDM  will have a dark surface while TPO will have lighter colors. TPO will therefore be ideal for cooling the building down as it will reflect sunlight allowing commercial HVAC systems to work less and use less energy. TPO will also have a higher resistance to punctures than EPDM.

Do you need ventilation with breathable membrane?

Breather membranes are installed on the outer side of insulation over or under the counter battens on a pitched roof. They allow water vapor to escape from inside a building. This often means there won’t be a need for ventilation. 

How do flat roofs drain water?

A flat roof will be able to drain water with an interior system of pipes which can be found below the roof in order to carry water away from the foundation. Drains are placed in the center of the roof typically and the pipe system is protected by the roof and walls of the building which lowers the pipes’ risk of cracking, bursting, or freezing. 

What is the best way to stop a flat roof from leaking?

The best way to stop a flat roof from leaking is to have a rubber membrane or roof coating applied to the roof. A flexible membrane will prevent any punctures from forming and thereby any leaks. A roof coating can repair minor issues with your roof including covering leaks of a certain size.

How long does single ply roofing last?

Single ply roofing materials will last longer if properly installed and maintained at around 30 years. It’s important to conduct yearly inspections to make sure there aren’t any problems with water pooling, too much debris covering the roof, punctures, cracks, leaks an other issues that may befall your roof. With a yearly inspection you may be able to catch problems in their minor stages before they escalate to larger issues. That way you can get spot repairs and have your roof be able to reach the end of its natural roof life before full on replacements become necessary.

Contact a Qualified Roofing Company About Single Ply Roofing 

If you have an interest in single ply roofing get into contact with a knowledgeable roofer connected with a reputable roofing company. They’ll best be able to go over the requirements your commercial building will need when it comes to single ply roofing installations. Depending on your property specifications and the area where your property is located some options may be more recommended over others. A certified roofer will be able to make sure all conditions meet with city codes and that all weight is supported with your roofing membrane. Single ply roofing is a great way to ensure flexibility and support to your roofing system. Call your local roofer today to get started.

To get set up with single ply roofing in Pittsburgh, PA call Great Lakes Commercial Roofing at 412-256-8050 today! 

Should I Invest in a Metal Roof?

metal roofing green

Are you looking at getting a new roof on your commercial property?

Confusing choices to make, isn’t it? BUR, Modified BUR, EPDM, PVC, TPO, and now many talks about a “Green” roof, meaning a garden roof. All of these have benefits and useful features about them, but what about commercial aluminum roofing? Why aluminum roofing? Or maybe the question should be, why not aluminum roofing? Before you jump on the wagon of the more traditional EPDM, PVC, or TPO commercial roofing materials, let’s talk about aluminum roofing installation. Find out why it is becoming a number one choice for more commercial building owners today as we answer a few questions.

Metal roofing is a dependable and durable material for any structure, commercial or residential, and aluminum roofing. Aluminum roofing has gained popularity in recent years, especially in coastal areas, because it is seawater resistant. Other types of metal offer the same protection, but they aren’t as resistant to the seawater air for long periods. Let’s face it, when you pay for roofing on a commercial structure, you need a long lifespan to get the ROI you need and want. A few of the other advantages that aluminum roofing provides is that it is a flexible, lightweight, and reliable material.

Are aluminum roofs good?

In general, metal roofing systems are a popular choice for commercial structure roofing, with aluminum being the most popular of them. It has a lifespan expectancy of thirty years or longer, it is lightweight and has a high reflectivity, which is excellent for areas where the summer sun can heat a building quickly. For commercial structures on coastlines where the sea air can be an issue for metal, aluminum roofing is resistant. 

The Washington Monument cap was the first time aluminum roofing was used in 1865 when aluminum was separated from bauxite to manufacture one of the building grade types. 

Today, all-aluminum roofing systems are pre-painted and comes in almost any profile. Aluminum roofing is mostly made from recycled material today, between 90% to 95% is used beverage cans. These are reasons that make aluminum roofing one of the best green roofs for a commercial structure.  

Which metal roof is best?

Metal roofing systems are a popular choice for commercial building roofing material and have been for the last fifty years or longer.  The location of the building can determine the choice of which metal roofing material is the best. 

  • Aluminum 
  • Copper
  • Corrugated galvanized steel
  • Metal Sheets
  • Stainless Steel
  • Standing Seam Metal
  • Blended aluminum, silicon-coated steel, and zinc

As we’ve mentioned here, aluminum roofing is a better choice for commercial structures on seaside coasts because of the better sea air resistance. 

Which is better steel or aluminum roofing? 

 When comparing steel vs aluminum roofing, both are excellent for commercial metal roofing purposes, each having their strength. The benefits that aluminum roofing can offer you for roofing a commercial structure are: 

  • Extremely resistant to corrosion  – steel is more susceptible to being damaged by seawater over time. Aluminum roofing material I warrantied for coastal areas – steel is not.
  • Aluminum is lighter weight making it more flexible – steel is heavier weight and more rigid.
  • Aluminum roofing has a better strength-to-weight ratio than steel
  • Aluminum roofing doesn’t store as much heat and cools faster than 
  • Aluminum roofing is not Class A fire-rating without proper underlayment and sheathing
Silver metal roofing

What are the problems with metal roofs? 

Metal roofing offers a commercial structure a sleek appearance while being durable. Like any roofing material though, metal roofing has its issues too: 

  • Leaking: Metal roofing is known for leaking, which is not something a commercial structure needs. The majority of the leaks in metal roofing is caused by the weather, like when it ices and then quickly thaws. As metal roofing ages, it can begin to leak at the seams, and flashing on a metal roof can be the cause of leaking. 
  • Oil Canning: Metal roofing is known to oil can or wrinkle stress, which many assume a problem with the structure. It isn’t a structural issue but a low roof installation issue.  Metal roofing needs to be installed with room for contracting and expanding, so if it is installed with too much pressure, it doesn’t flex with the temperature.  
  • Corrosion: Corrosion is a potential problem for any metal roofing. Some are better than others, like aluminum roofing. If the metal material is coated correctly, it has higher corrosion resistance, and avoid mixing different types of metals will minimize corrosion.
  • Scratches and Scuffs: The color on metal roofing will fade over time. It is easily scratched and scuffed. The manufacturer’s warranty may cover the fading issue, but scratches and scuffing are an issue the building owner or maintenance team needs to take proper precautions, like minimizing foot traffic, advising any contractor that needs access to the roofing to take precautions, etc. 

Does having a metal roof lower your insurance?

It can base on what type of metal roofing you have installed.  Steel is Class A Fire Rated in its standing; however, aluminum roofing is not Class A Fire Rated unless installed with a correct level and type of insulation. Roofing is an investment for any commercial building, and you need to go with the best material for your budget and structure.  Aluminum roofing is worth talking to your roofing contractor and doing your research before choosing one type of roofing material over another. Call 412-256-8050 today for your legal needs.

How to tell if you have a roof leak

water leaking from ceiling

How can I tell where my roof is leaking? 

What can be worse than to come into work on Monday morning and part of the roof has collapsed inside the office area, production area, or warehouse area of your business?  Maybe calling your insurance company to file a claim and they deny the claim because the collapse is from a leak that has been ignored?  Yes, that could happen which is why a commercial building owner should have commercial leak detection of the plumbing and the roof so you can stay on top of these things. 

In the years past, a visual inspection found commercial roof leaks by walking around on the flat roof looking for damage and problems. The problem with walking around on the roof can cause damage too.  Today, roofing contractors know how to do commercial leak detection without that added risk of damage, but in the meantime, you, the commercial building owner, probably have some questions about doing your own commercial leak detection on your roof so that you don’t have the scenario we set in place at the beginning. 

Your commercial building could have a roof leak right now and you may not even know it. So, the reason that a routine of inspecting the roof regularly comes into focus now.  The sooner you have a commercial leak detection, the better for your building and the budget in the long run. 

As we mentioned earlier, if the insurance company determines that the leak was in existence and ignored, your claim will be denied.  Ask your roofing contractor about a regular maintenance plan is a great commercial leak detection way to prevent those denied insurance claims. Here, we offer you a few commercial leak detection steps that will indicate you need to get a professional commercial roofing contractor on the job immediately: 

  • Ceilings or Walls Stained – No matter what type of ceiling system your commercial structure has, when there has been an extended exposure of water to the roof by way of a leaking roof, it will eventually discolor the ceilings. The same is to be said about walls that are adjacent to the ceiling where the roof is leaking.  Even worse, stained walls can also mean the roof leak has found its way down inside the walls, creating more damage.   
  • Standing water – A walk around your commercial flat roof that finds standing water would indicate the drains are clogged. The water has nowhere to go, so it ponds and puddles.
  • Alligatoring or Blistering Membrane – A flat roof membrane is only good for so many years, and after a while, it becomes aged and weathered from the UV rays and weather. They blister, bubble, and crack, then the ponding water gets in those areas and make their way to the inside.
  • Loose seams – Some flat roofs have membrane with seams. As the roof ages and becomes weathers, those seams will loosen and come apart.  This allows a place for that ponding water to enter, making its ways inside the building.
  • Holes or tears in the membrane – This can happen from high winds dropping things on the roof or from service technicians walking around on the roof.  Another reason routine inspections are recommended, allows you to catch these things and get them repaired before they become a problem.
  • Flashing damaged – High winds and temperature contracting and expanding the metal flashing around the roof of your commercial building can cause that flashing to loosen and come off. 
  • Odor and Mold – There is no better commercial leak detection for a roof than noticing a foul odor of mildew or mold in any part of the building. Moist environment grows mold and if there is roof leak, your nose can be your commercial leak detection system. Ignore the odor and that mold will keep growing, making your employees sick and keep your customers and visitors at bay.
  • Puddles In The Building – If there is water dripping from the ceiling or there are puddles in the middle of an area, that is an obvious indication you have a leak of some sort inside your commercial roof system. It isn’t necessarily a roof leak though, as it could be the HVAC or plumbing system. Having your own maintenance team do the regular inspection. Acting as a commercial leak detection system, they will know when they see an issue with the HVAC, the plumbing, or if there is a potential roof leak. From that observation, they can advise you what type of professional contractor to call and get the matter resolved quickly. 
  • Increased Energy Bills – A roof leak will allow the insulation to get saturated before it gets to the ceiling tiles. This is going to make that insulation less effective in keeping your building cool or warm as needed, and that will cause your energy bills to increase. 

What causes a leak in the roof? 

There are several possible commercial roof leak causes, many could be caught and repaired before they became a leaking problem with regular inspections by your maintenance staff or a commercial roofing contractor. Causes that a commercial leak detection find are common with commercial roofing leaks: 

  • Drainage: When a commercial roof is installed, the builder will take into consideration how it will drain. There should be multiple points of draining based on possible vulnerability like downspouts, drains, gutters, and scuppers. If these are not cleaned regularly, they can become clogged and unable to drain.  The water backs up, pond and puddles, seeping its way into the building. 
  • Penetrations: Most commercial flat roofs have penetrations for drains, gas lines, HVAC units, plumbing, vents, etc. If the boots that seal these up have become dried and worn, this create a vulnerable place for leaks. 
  • Roof Flashings: f the roof flashing that joins areas on the roof like the chimneys, interior walls, roof edges, and skylights comes loose or isn’t installed correctly, water can seep in those areas and being leaking into the building.   
  • Membrane: A commercial roof needs a membrane that is waterproof and if that membrane becomes damaged, or has gotten old and isn’t replaced, it allows water to penetrate to the inside of the building. 
  • Old Roof: A commercial flat roofing system should have a lifespan up to 20 years. This can vary based on the maintenance and upkeep of the roof, the climate, and the environment.  If your commercial building roof has reached the 15 year mark, it is time to have a professional roof inspection performed, this will include having commercial leak detection done, and they can advise you if the time has it replaced or how much more life your roof has left. 

How do I stop my roof from leaking? 

Roof leak and roof damage is not something any commercial building owner wants to deal with, but when it happens, you don’t have a choice.  If this happens, hopefully, you have the manpower and equipment to get on the roof and patch the leak temporarily with roofing tar and a piece of plywood. Using a trowel on the underside of the roof, spread the roofing tar in and around the leak. Push the piece of plywood into the tar and, using the trowel, spread more roofing tar along the edges of the wooden patch. 

water damage and shingle damage on roof

How do you repair a leaky roof? 

The roof protects your commercial building and all it contains from the exposure of the elements and that makes the roof vulnerable. When it begins leaking, your first thought may be to have it replaced, but you should also check into having it repaired with roof coating. Restoring your commercial building roof is often a perfect solution to a leaking roof and it is much less cost and time consuming. 

After reading this article, you may ask yourself, ‘How much should a roof leak repair cost?” and unfortunately, there isn’t a flat answer to this question. There are several factors involved in this price determination: 

  • Your location
  • The leak location
  • The roof type
  • The roof access, height, and pitch
  • The extent and type of damage

 Get several quotes and compare them before making a decision to repair or replace, but don’t assume the cheapest is the best, nor is the most expensive. Dial 412-256-8050 today for your leak repair in Pittsburgh, PA.

What are cool roofs made of?

black roof with ripples

What are the benefits of a cool roof?

With each and every passing day, it seems that having a cool roof is the cool thing to do. Cool roofing systems are the thing to do when building a new commercial structure and when having your commercial building re-roofed. While everyone should take responsibility in practicing sustainability, the burden lies on companies, starting with their building and their manufacturing or packing next, and a cool roof is the first step beginning with the structure. 

Cool roofing materials effectively reflect the sun’s energy and UV rays from the roof surface. The majority color of a cool roof is bright white, but there are other colors coming out on the market today. A cool roof has a high emissivity that allows them to radiate infrared energy. 

A cool roof can reduce the temperature of a roof to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which reduces the heat that is transferred inside the building through the roof. During summer months, this can assist in lowering the energy bills by keeping the attics and ducts cool. This makes for a more comfortable work environment, reduces maintenance expenses, and increase the lifespan of the roof. The biggest benefit of a cool roof is how it helps to minimize urban heat islands. 

Do Cool Roofs work?

A cool roofing systems delivers higher solar reflectance in comparison to standard roofing. A cool roof reduces the air temp, lowers the demand for power during peak hours, which can help ease possible power outages. Plant emissions power is reduced, and a higher thermal emittance. With the reduction in needed power, the emissions, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury are reduced too.

How much does roof color affect internal temperature?

Light colors will reflect the UV rays of the sun, deflecting the heat which keeps the interior cooler. Dark colors absorb the heat of the UV rays, keeping the higher the temperature on the upper part of the structure. This is where ceiling fans come in handy. A cool roof is designed to diminish heat absorbed in the roof and can lower the temperature of the interior by 50 degrees.

What color roof is the coolest?

Dark colored roofs can make a 95 degree day feel like 150 degrees on the roof, and that heat penetrates to the interior. A dark roof only reflects around 20 degrees of the UV rays. This is why a cool roof is traditionally white, which reflects over 50 percent of the heat generated by UV rays. An additional benefit of the lighter cool roof is the energy savings by taking less work off the HVAC system. 

cool roofing system

Additional Information on a Cool Roof

As a business owner and a commercial building owner, you need to save money everywhere you can, and the wrong roofing type can cost you money. With the wrong type of roofing, the HVAC system works harder and keeps your employees at the boiling point too. A quote by a cool roofing company could explain your cool roofing options available that can help ease the heat and cool your building.

One option for a commercial building owner is to paint the existing roof white. This is an inexpensive way to create a cool roof when the budget isn’t ready for a longer term cool roof situation. The white pain will reflect the sun’s UV rays and the heat that generates. Can you use another color, as long as it is a “light” color? You can, but it won’t reflect the same amount of UV rays and heat. 

So, why go to the expenses and time to have a cool roof? Here, we list 7 cool roofing uses that can help you justify this project:     

  • Moisture Control: Cool roof surface are susceptible to algae and mold growth in moist, warm climates. With proper roof coating applied by an experienced professional, this issue is eliminated. 
  • Easy Installation: Another reason why you need to hire an experienced professional roofing contractor to install and apply your cool roof. They can be able to apply a cool roof to almost any existing roof. 
  • Cost-Efficient: Installing a new roof is expensive and it likely won’t help with energy costs, unless you have a cool roof installed. For a few more dollars, installing a cool roof, you’ll get your investment money back in energy savings. 
  • Energy-Efficient: As a business owner, your company is under fire for emissions control and going green where possible. An energy-efficient cool roof will lower the emissions from your business while reducing the carbon footprint too. 
  • Extended Life Span: By installing a cool roof, it will deflect heat and prolong the roof’s life because it minimizes heat damage. 
  • Urban Heat Reduction: A cool roof reduces the excess urban island heat, a big concern in metropolitan areas. 
  • Improve Comfort and Health: With a cool roof, your building will be cooler, and this will make for happier and healthier employees, and comfortable customers that aren’t in a hurry to leave.

Cool roofing can provide your business with energy efficiency during those hot months. Call 412-256-8050 today for cool roofing information and installation in Pittsburgh, PA.