What Should Pennsylvania Residents Expect from Commercial Roofers?

Pennsylvania Commercial Roofer Expectations Cover

Living in Pennsylvania, no matter if it is in Pittsburgh or throughout the State, offers its own unique set of experiences and challenges.

This is especially true for commercial business owners. This is because their roofing systems need to stand up to a specific set of circumstances and need to remain durable yet flexible. Most of all, it needs to be able to do that when the weather turns and the climate gets cold, cold, cold.

Perhaps your business finds itself in need of a completely new roofing system. This can be due to damage to the old system – rips, tears, holes, leaks, and a plethora of other things – or it can just be that the current roofing system is well past its age and needs to be swapped out with a new one.

Knowing what to expect when getting a new commercial roof in Pennsylvania is important so that you can get the proper roofing system for your needs. A new roof is too large of an investment to go wrong choosing the type and this guide will be what you need to know what to expect when searching for a new roof.

Roof Size

Obviously, the first thing that you need to know is exactly how much square footage you are dealing with. If you have a larger roof, it makes sense that the installation costs will be much higher than they may have been for a smaller roofing system.

Keep this in mind if you think that replacing the roof entirely is something that needs to be done. Your budget will have to adjust for the size (and cost) of the larger roof, so it may wind up being in your best interests to go with a repair or perhaps a reinforced membrane that can go over the top.

It is also important to know the size of the roof because this is not something you can tackle a little at a time. You have to do the entirety of the roof or none of it at all. This is because not giving the entire roof the same treatment can lead to parts of the roof being more vulnerable than others to different types of wear and tear.

Roof Layout

While the size is certainly important, the layout is just as important. This is because your roof may have a number of different ridges and surfaces that need addressing. Even if you have a flat roof, there are definitely things that need to be made apparent when looking into changing out your roofing system.

If your roof is more complex – containing more ridges, vents, and other surfaces, it will take a lot more time and effort on the part of the roofing contractor to get the job done. Keep that in mind as well when determining the costs involved.

Most quality contractors will come out to your commercial property, assess the roof, and give you a quote as to what the entire process will cost. This will give you a better idea of the sort of financial undertaking that you will have facing you when replacing your current roofing system.

Roofing Materials

This is arguably the biggest determining factor in what it will cost to have your roof replaced. Depending on what you go with, the costs can be relatively low per square foot or they can be quite expensive. It all depends on the level of durability that you are looking to get out of your particular system.

Flexibility in roofing material is important as well. Flexibility is more important in an area with colder climates like East Pittsburgh because those materials will constantly expand and contract as the weather shifts. This can lead to additional wear and tear on the roofing system that can lead to earlier repairs or replacement.

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material that there is for commercial roofing. This is because the installation is relatively cheap and easy and they are able to provide reliable, sturdy, durable coverage to your roof.

Depending on the kind of asphalt roof that you go with, the seams that are in the roofing system can be completely waterproof, keeping your roof from dealing with those nasty leaks that can really become a problem for both the roof and the rest of your building.

For flat roofing, there is a modified bitumen roofing system that provides seamless installation. This keeps the water out across the entirety of the roof and limits the chances of things like puncture due to foot traffic.

Depending on the kind of bitumen roof that you get, some are even capable of offering UV resistance. This means that the sun’s rays won’t penetrate the roof, heating up your building in the process. When this is the case, it means that your building is better able to regulate its temperature without help from the HVAC system. That can run up your energy costs substantially.

Lastly, there is the option for clay tile but it is very expensive to install as in $16,000-$25,000 for 1,500 square footage. Clay is meant to last an extremely long time but the upfront investment is substantial, so keep that in mind.

As always, ask for a quote before agreeing to anything. This will give you a better idea of not only what each kind of material would cost but which roofing professionals would be the best option for finding a new roof at a cost-effective price.

Roof Pitch

Generally speaking, if you have a steeply pitched roof, the costs will be greater for the project. With a flat or low steeped roof, you’re not having to put more time into it. A steeply pitched roof is more difficult to walk if it is walkable at all and comes with a far greater cost.

There is also a higher risk when installing shingles on a steep roof because the costs will be substantially higher than a traditional low steep or flat roof. Ultimately, there are a number of factors that need to be weighed when it comes to getting your roof done and there are things that you may not have even considered along the way.

Roofing Layers

Multiple layers on a roofing structure means that multiple redundancies are in place. What does this mean, exactly? It means that should one of the layers become compromised – ripped, punctured, peeled, cracked, etc.  – that there are other layers to pick up the slack.

This means that should any of the roofing layers fail, the roof will still do its job. It is recommended that you replace that damaged or destroyed layer of roofing membrane, but it won’t require immediate or emergency attention that can lead to greater costs.

But keep in mind: the more layers there are on your roof, the higher the costs will be. This can be exacerbated if there are old layers of the roof that need to be removed in order to install the new roofing. This means higher labor costs as well as dumping fees for disposing of the old layer of roofing system.

The number of layers will likely be determined by the material that you are using and the life of the previous roof. If your area is prone to more inclement weather, it would be wise to go with something a bit stronger and longer-lasting in nature.


Labor costs can depend on a few different things. Your area will likely have several different options when it comes to roofing contractors. Keep in mind that the skill and availability of that roofer will likely dictate the cost.

Don’t immediately cheap out on labor. The old saying goes “you get what you pay for” and the cheapest possible labor can lead to subpar work that will only need to be corrected later on down the line. Keep that in line when looking at your roofing budgets.

Final Thoughts about Local Commercial Roofing

It should go without saying that your roof is essential to your commercial business. If anything goes wrong, it can not only mean a substantial cost to you to have it repaired but it can lead to service or production interruptions that can have an impact on the bottom line as well.

In Pennsylvania, where the summers are very hot and the winters very cold, it is important to make certain that your roof can stand up to the wear and tear that the changing of the seasons brings on. This is in addition to high winds and storms that may strike the area.

Your roof will go through a lot in a more inclement location like Pennsylvania. Make certain that you get the roofing system that you need to keep the weather at bay and keep you from having to replace your roof in short order.

Great Lakes Commercial Roofing has you covered. Your investment will keep your roof protected and your business humming without having to worry about what kind of damage could lay ahead. That is an important peace of mind to have.