photo of a spray foam roof completed in Northeast Ohio in 2021.JPG

The Two Biggest Fears in Commercial Roofing

The two biggest fears in commercial roofing are:

  1. What if we spend thousands of dollars on this roof and it leaks after two years?
  2. What if the roofing contractor gives me a 10-year warranty…and goes out of business after 3 years?

And rightfully so.

Every building owner worries about these things.

Hopefully after today, I can ease your worries and help you make the best decision.

And just so you’re aware, West Roofing Systems has been in commercial roofing since 1979. We specialize in spray polyurethane foam and silicone roof coating systems.

Every article written at West Roofing Systems is produced in-house and is reviewed and approved by a spray foam and coating expert with more than 30 years of experience.

Let’s get started!

Fear #1 – What if we spend thousands of dollars on this roof and it leaks after two years?

In other words, how do we know if the quality of the installation is good?

Here are a few tips on choosing a commercial roofing contractor that does good work:

Ask the contractor for a reference sheet of customer you can contact

If you have a metal roof that needs to be restored, ask the contractor for metal roofs they have restored. If you have a single-ply roof that’s about to be out of warranty, ask the contractor for similar customers.

It’s important to be as specific as you can. You wouldn’t want a contact list of residential, sloped roofs when you’re seeking a contractor who specializes in flat/low-slope.

Check out the companies Google Reviews

We all know there are certain products you see on Amazon that has 50,000 all-5-star reviews. That’s pretty rare if it’s real. Bots or other forms of “fake reviews” are probably behind the scenes.

But most companies have some sort of reviews on their Google Page. And we all know, if a company does great work, a review is rarely written. People love to talk about the negatives. Including bad experiences with commercial roofing companies.

If a quality installation is important, you should look at some Google Reviews to see what the “negative” customers are saying.

How long has the company been in business

Every company is new at some point. Even the company that has 50 years of experience started with zero experience at one point.

But it lowers trust when you’re just starting out. You have no case studies, no reviews, and no customers that new customers can contact.

If a company has been around for 50 years, they are probably doing something right.

If you’re comparing apples-to-apples (including price, roof system, warranty, etc.), then a rational tiebreaker would be the company that’s been around the longest.

Spray foam roof at Landmark, Euclid, Ohio
Photo of a spray foam roof, installed in 2021 (Euclid, Ohio)

Fear #2 – What if the roofing contractor gives me a 10-year warranty…and goes out of business after 3 years?

Imagine…you pay $100,000 for a commercial roof. In three years, there’s some minor leaking. So, you find the contractor who installed the roof and give them a call.

No dial tone.

You look through your emails, find the salesman who worked with you on the project and send them an email.

Email undeliverable.

You go online and search for the company.

No website.

Now, what are you supposed to do?

Here are tips to make sure you never land in this situation.

Company longevity

We beat this one up before, but if a 2–3-year-old company hands out a 15-year warranty, it might make a building owner scratch its head.

Yes, every company started at some point, but the odds of an established company being in business 15-years from now versus a start-up… is a big difference.

Need to get a manufacturer’s warranty – or get the warranty transferred (in writing)

If you have doubts about the contractor signing off on a warranty, you can usually get a manufacturer’s warranty.

Some of the big names in spray foam and coating (Carlisle, Henry, Progressive Materials, etc.) all offer manufacturer warranties.

This helps protect the building owner in case the contractor disappears in the middle of a warranty period.

The manufacturer can assign another contractor to perform service or repairs on your roof.

NOTE #1 – The best brands in spray foam and coating train contractors, inspect their work, and make sure they are certified contractors before letting them use their products.

NOTE #2 – If a manufacturer’s warranty is what you seek, make sure you get this in writing in your contract. If it’s not in writing, it means nothing.

Bonus: Choose a roofing contractor that has a dedicated service department

One outlier that can give you the confidence of choosing one roofing contractor over another is if they have their own service department.

This means they have a team dedicated to service work. Doing repairs, honoring warranties, cleaning debris and drains, etc.

This team doesn’t install new roofs! Service-only.

This is important because some contractors dedicated 100% of their staff to installing new roofs.

What happens when you call them about a leak? They have to pull a guy off the job and send them to your place.

They will be in a rush to get back to the installation job.

Having a dedicated service team is important because they will have service records of your roof. They know what repairs they did last time, what areas of your roof are high-risk, what drains were clogged last time, etc.

What are your next steps?

If you’re looking for a commercial roofing contractor, the first thing you should do is contact multiple roofing companies.

Why?

They will all have different prices, different repair or installation solutions, and different ways to make you feel like you’ve chosen a trustworthy contractor.

This can be through case studies, client lists that you can contact, Google Reviews, etc.

But it’s a big mistake is just pick one contractor and automatically go with them. You don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t seek other opinions.

They say the more expensive something is, the more research that goes into that decision.

When you bought a pack of gum, did you shop at different grocery stores? Probably not. When you bought your house, how many different ones did you check out? Probably a lot.

The worst thing is to choose an unreliable, disappearing contractor who Houdini’s out of any repair work, leaving you stranded with no budget and a leaking roof.

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