Should You Fix Or Replace A Damaged Modified Bitumen Commercial Roof?

If the modified bitumen roof on your commercial building has seen better days and you are trying to decide if you want to fix or replace it, then you have a big decision to make. While a brand-new roof will eliminate the need for so many repairs, they are not inexpensive to install.

The normal lifespan of a modified bitumen roof in a mild climate is about two decades. A roof will last longer if you proactively maintain it than if you don't.

Typically, damage to this type of roof starts with the top layer of asphalt and then water starts leaking down into the rubberized membranes below. Once the process starts, the roof will quickly degrade if it isn't repaired.

The first step you need to take to evaluate your roof is a professional roof inspection.

The Professional Roofing Inspection

Rather than guessing about the health of your roof, it's always better to have it inspected by a licensed roofing contractor. They can easily determine the extent of the damage and give you all of the information you need to make informed decisions about repairs and replacement.

Repairing a Modified Bitumen Roof

If your commercial roof hasn't had many previous repairs and isn't leaking, then it can likely be repaired a few times before it will need a complete replacement.

Some of the most common problems found during an inspection that signal a repair is necessary is:

  • Cracks

  • Punctures

  • Tears

  • Missing roofing material fasteners

  • Missing or damaged metal flashing

Typically, repairing a modified bitumen roof involves removing any damaged rubberized membrane and replacing it with a patch. A new layer of asphalt sealant is then put down on top.

Replacing a Modified Bitumen Roof

As with residential asphalt shingle roofs, commercial roofs have a very finite lifespan and when the end of their life arrives it's necessary to tear off the old roof and replace it. However, unlike shingle roofs, modified bitumen roofing materials must always be completely stripped off before the new roofing materials can be installed.

Some of the common signs a modified bitumen roof needs replacement are:

  • Rubberized membrane delamination and slippage problems

  • Rubberized membrane damage from weather

  • Roofing leaks

Additionally, if you are making yearly repairs to the roof, then this is a huge red flag that a replacement is needed in the near future.

Extending the Life of a Modified Bitumen Roof

Lastly, whether your commercial building's roof requires repair or replacement, it's important to know you can extend its life by having a protective coating installed over its asphalt layer. Some popular protective coatings are those made of silicone, polyurethane, and elastomeric polymers. Since the best roof coating for your commercial roof depends on many factors, your local roof replacement contractor is always the best person to advise you.


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