The typical lifespan of a commercial roofing system is about 20 years, but some last significantly fewer or more years – depending on a variety of factors. When a commercial roof shows signs of wear, how does one choose between roof restoration vs replacement? We’ll explain the difference between roof replacement and restoration and give the pros and cons of each.

What Is Commercial Roof Restoration?

During commercial roof restoration, professional roofing contractors apply a waterproofing membrane or coating on top of an existing roof. This process slows the degradation of the underlying system, extending the roof’s life

A commercial roof restoration project restores an existing roof to improve its performance and extend its lifespan. This option is typically chosen when the existing roof is still structurally sound but may have relatively minor issues, such as cracks or weathering. Think of roof restoration as a complete makeover of your entire roof – but a much more affordable option than a roof replacement. 

It’s worth noting that roof restoration is not the same as roof repair. Roof repair is only needed if smaller and more specific parts of the roof need fixing, such as small leaks or damaged tiles.

What Is Commercial Roof Replacement?

In roof replacement, the existing roof system is removed, disposed of, or recycled before the new roofing system is installed. Roof replacement occurs when a roof is not in good enough condition for repair.

Pros and Cons of Roof Restoration

There are benefits and drawbacks to completing a roof restoration project on low-slope roofs. Here are some to consider.

Benefits of Roof Restoration

  • Cost-effective choice: Restoration is generally less expensive than a full roof replacement. Repairing the old roof and adding a coating is less costly than removing and replacing the entire roof. 
  • Less disruption: The restoration process is often quicker than a replacement project. It also generates less disruption to the building’s occupants.
  • Environmentally-Friendly: Restoration reduces landfill waste. Also, light-colored roof coatings offer a reflective surface, which can reduce the roof surface temperature by 50-80 degrees, resulting in lower energy costs.

Roof restoration projects are only appropriate for some situations. 

Drawbacks of Roof Restoration

  • Limited application: Restoration may not be suitable for commercial properties with extensive roof damage or structural issues. Liquid-applied roofing is recommended for only some commercial roofing materials.
  • Longevity: A full roof replacement will last longer than a roof restoration project. 

roof replacement

Pros and Cons of Roof Replacement

Your roofing contractor may present you with two options: restoration or replacement. Here are the pros and cons of installing a new roofing system.

Benefits of Commercial Roof Replacement

  • Longevity: A properly installed new roof lasts longer than a restored one. In addition, underlying issues, perhaps with the roof deck or underlying structure, can be addressed before the new roof system is installed. 
  • Customization: Your contractor may suggest better roofing systems to meet your building’s needs and energy efficiency goals.

Drawbacks of Roof Replacement

  • Higher cost: Roof replacement is generally more expensive because the old roofing material is torn off and disposed of, which increases labor costs. 
  • Disruptive: Roof replacement can be more disruptive to building occupants.
  • Environmental impact: A full replacement generates more waste than a restoration.

Seek the Advice of Commercial Roofing Experts

After inspecting the current condition of your commercial roof, the Nations Roof team will provide the building owner with a detailed report with our recommendations for roof repairs, restoration, or replacement. 

Contact Nations Roof today to be connected to a commercial roofing expert in your area. 

Key Takeaways: Roof Restoration vs. Replacement?

  • Commercial roof restoration typically involves the application of liquid applied roofing to the top of the repaired existing roof. 
  • Roof restoration prolongs the life of roof systems, but it is only appropriate for some situations and roofing materials.
  • Roof replacement is more expensive and disruptive than roof restoration. However, underlying issues can be addressed, and the new roof will last longer than a restored roof.