What to Know About Waterproofing Your Rooftop

What to Know About Waterproofing Your Rooftop

What to Know About Waterproofing Your Rooftop

During harsh rainstorms, water can accumulate on your roof and seep through roof cracks, damaging your commercial building. As a result, mold and mildew could grow on your walls, and the wooden components of your building can rot. You can prevent moisture damage to your commercial space by waterproofing your rooftop. Whether your roof is flat or sloped, our team at Houck can help you have a high-quality, safe roof with our waterproofing services.

Instead of spending time and money to replace your whole roof, you can apply a waterproof coating to keep water out of the building. Use this roofing and waterproofing guide to keep moisture away from your commercial roof and all its components.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Roof Waterproofing

Though there are several types of waterproofing, you need the best one for your application. Look for the following properties to help you choose the right waterproofing membrane for your commercial roof.

  • Compatibility with the existing roof surface: Pay attention to the type of material of the existing coating on your single-ply roof to avoid costly damage. For example, applying urethane over acrylic elastomeric could cause re-emulsification. Any surface with silicone on top would obstruct the adhesion of the waterproofing membrane.
  • Resistance to sunlight damage: Unless you have trees above your building, the waterproofing membrane needs to be ultraviolet (UV) stable or resistant. Otherwise, it’ll lose its strength as the sun beats down on it.
  • Elongation: The waterproofing membrane on your roof needs to have the ability to stretch to accommodate movement, especially if you have a high-rise or steel building, and cover cracks that may develop over time in the concrete. Manufacturers determine elongation by a percentage. If the material has an extension rate of 150%, it can stretch up to 1.5 times beyond its natural shape.
  • Breathability: Waterproofing that’s too effective can trap water inside your building if moisture accidentally leaks through. Look for a membrane that prevents water from passing through it, but allows vapor to leave.
  • Resistance to tears: Even if your material has a high elongation percentage, it can tear from a considerable force. Your waterproof membrane should be durable enough to withstand heavy wind and rainwater.
  • Resistance to abrasion: Besides tearing by force, the material also needs to withstand wear and tear from everyday use. You could determine a material’s abrasion resistance when workers drop nails, screws and heavy objects on it during construction. If rough objects can rip it, the membrane will bring leaks into your commercial property.
  • Chemical stability: The membrane should withstand chemicals from nearby industrial areas and fallen debris. If the membrane isn’t chemically inert, it could break down in the presence of soil and building materials.
  • Geometry: The waterproofing membrane needs to have the flexibility to fit around your uniquely shaped roof. A liquid membrane would work best in this case because it can take any form. On the other hand, a sheet membrane can fold and crease, leaving gaps between the membrane and underlay.

Houck is dedicated to safety, quality, and performance. We’re here to keep your facility clean, dry, and safe with superior waterproofing services. Get in touch with us today!

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Common Types of Waterproofing for Your Roof

Maintain and repair your roof to prevent leaks from coming into your commercial space and damaging your property. You can apply a sheet of bituminous material or polyurethane liquid waterproofing. Consider the advantages and drawbacks of each to determine which is best for your roof.

1. Bituminous Membrane Waterproofing

A bituminous membrane sheet made from asphalt with a mixture of sticky organic liquids performs excellently as a waterproofing agent for a low-sloped concrete roof. Manufacturers carefully seal and pack these sheets in a factory, and they arrive on-site in roll form. Read the specifications and safety instructions before you begin the installation process. Since you apply it by torch, you need to consider fire prevention and safety during installation, removing all flammable objects from the site.

During the application process, unfold the bituminous waterproofing membranes and lay them firmly on the surface. You could either use a self-adhesive product or attach the membrane to the surface with a blowtorch. The layer of bituminous waterproof membrane shields against water seepage onto the roof. Then, apply roof tiles and the membrane over the filler material to provide adequate water flow into the drains.

Here are some of the advantages of using bituminous membrane waterproofing.

  • Resistance to UV heat: Bituminous membrane waterproofing won’t lose its integrity in warm, sunny climates.
  • High elongation percentage: Most membranes must have an elongation of 150% to accommodate structural movements, so it’ll protect your roof, even if cracks develop.
  • Excellent flexibility: A sheet made from bitumen is flexible enough to take any shape once laid. Since it has high flexibility, it won’t crack, dent or break in harsh weather.
  • Resistance to chemicals: This type of waterproofing won’t deteriorate in the presence of debris or factory chemicals.
  • Resistance to punctures and fatigue: Whether a considerable force or heavy objects impact the membrane, it has a high tensile strength to withstand ripping and breaking.
  • Excellent breathability: Bituminous membrane waterproofing keeps water and vapor out of your commercial building.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The installation of bituminous sheets tends to fit within your commercial budget. Since it lasts a long time, you won’t need to replace it as often.

2. Polyurethane Liquid Membrane Waterproofing

Polyurethane liquid membrane waterproofs your flat roof, especially in unpredictable weather conditions. Craftspeople put this on a roof with a thin coating or primer and top coating using a trowel, roller or spray. Its durability depends on which polymer type the manufacturer uses, but it generally lasts a little longer than a couple of decades. When applying polyurethane liquid to your roof, make sure you wear protective equipment on your hands, eyes, and mouth.

Here are some of the advantages of polyurethane liquid membrane waterproofing.

  • Ease of installation: The application process typically takes one day, so you can quickly have a waterproof commercial roof.
  • Watertight seal: Polyurethane liquid membrane waterproofing doesn’t create joints, so there’s less room for water to seep through it.
  • High elongation percentage: Polyurethane liquid membrane stretches up to 280% to accommodate the building’s natural shifting. High-rise buildings or ones made from steel may shift.
  • Excellent flexibility: It’s more flexible than other materials, so it can be more resistant to cracks when the building moves. This material offers a seamless waterproofing membrane. It fills all capillary gaps, decreasing the absorbency and hardening its surface.

Ensure you’re using the best waterproofing solution for your roof. Contact Houck today!

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Materials Used for Waterproofing

Manufacturers use various materials for both bituminous membrane waterproofing and liquid polyurethane.

1. Bituminous Sheets

Bituminous membrane waterproofing comes in a variety of layers. Choose a top surface from one of these materials to protect the membrane from damage.

  • Sand: This material installs easily, and it provides a waterproof, chemical-resistant seal on top of the membrane.
  • Slates: Using a membrane with this aesthetically pleasing, reliable material will enhance your commercial roof’s visual appeal.
  • Talc: Including talc as the top layer of your waterproofing membrane increases its dimensional stability and durability.
  • Polyethylene: This material prevents the panel from sticking during storage and transport, but you can also use it as a protective layer.
  • Aluminum: Manufacturers typically install strands of aluminum in a bituminous membrane to seal penetrations and provide optimal waterproofing for your commercial roof.

The next layer, the polymer-bitumen compound, usually consists of one of these materials.

  • Atactic Poly Propylene (APP): APP Modified Bitumen is a plastomeric waterproofing material that contains a mixture of bitumen and selected polymers, resulting in excellent UV and heat resistance and waterproofing properties once you torch it onto the roof.
  • Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene (SBS): SBS Modified Bitumen is a plastomeric waterproofing membrane that protects concrete surfaces from moisture damage. This membrane is impermeable to water and very flexible around uniquely shaped roofs.

The next layer of bituminous membrane waterproofing is its reinforcement, made from one of these materials.

  • Fiberglass: A dimensionally stable reinforcement core of non-woven fiberglass can protect concrete surfaces from water damage, especially in warm, tropical regions.
  • Polyester: This material has a high elongation percentage and provides optimal strength to the membrane. Polyester resists thermal shock, fatigue and punctures.

2. Polyurethane Liquids

The components of a polyurethane liquid waterproofing membrane depend on the number of layers. Review these common materials to find the most efficient application for your roof.

  • Water-based liquid membranes: This health-friendly, energy-efficient membrane provides excellent UV stability and easy application, especially if your building is in a moderate or warm climate.
  • One-component polyurethane liquid membranes: Polyurethane’s flexibility in low temperatures and its ability to cure in various conditions allows you to use it in your location. This material saves time during the installation process.
  • Two-component polyurethane liquid membranes: You can apply this material with a two-component spray machine for efficient installation if you have a large roof. It dries and cures rapidly, so you can resume activity in your business space.

Steps in a Rooftop Waterproofing Project

We’ve compiled a list of steps for your applying a waterproofing membrane to your roof. Houck provides commercial waterproofing services to make the process easier. Follow these steps for using a liquid membrane for your flat commercial roof.

  1. Clean out the substrate: Cleaning the surface allows a liquid applied membrane to adhere well. Pressure-wash the substrate to clean it and remove debris, dust or grease that could compromise the adhesion. You can also inspect the roof for blemishes that affect its resistance to water damage.
  2. Prime the surface: Apply a primer to the surface to enhance the membrane’s adhesion. Primers can also prevent the bituminous oils from bleeding through to the membrane. Before the craftsperson applies the primer, they make sure the surface is dry. To speed up the drying process, they might use torches or an air blower.
  3. Treat the roof’s details: You must treat all components before applying the liquid membrane. These details include the interior and exterior corners, wall-to-floor corners, metal flashing terminations and penetrations — such as pipes, vents and drains. Embed reinforcing fabric into the liquid membrane, or use a flashing-grade sealant. Make sure you cure the materials before applying the coat of treatment.
  4. Apply the liquid membrane: Some liquid membranes need fabric reinforcing mats underneath before installation. The application, substrate porosity, temperature and waste affect the liquid membrane’s consumption rate. You might want to apply granules if you live in a warm climate, because they can keep your building cooler.
  5. Inspect the roof: In most projects, a craftsperson needs to inspect the application at each phase. They’ll check the primer’s coverage, the pull-out and mock-up, the detail treatments and the applied coating millage. They must consider the wet film thickness during application to ensure they use the right amount.

If you choose to use a bituminous waterproofing membrane instead, you can follow this procedure.

  1. Prepare the roof surface: Clean and dry the top of your roof before applying the membrane. You must install it in pleasant, warm weather, considering your roof’s slope so that water doesn’t flow to the joint lap edge.
  2. Connect your torch equipment: The hose of your blowtorch should be in good condition. Use soapy water to ensure no gas leakage. When using the blowtorch, set it at the lowest possible setting to avoid sudden flames.
  3. Align your bituminous rolls: As you apply the sheets to your roof, avoid wrinkling the material, and align them properly.
  4. Install the membrane: Apply the torch fire uniformly and slowly over the roll as you lay it.
  5. Inspect the joints between the sheets: Ensure the joints properly adhere to the end laps of the membrane to prevent air gaps. If there are any spaces, lift the sheets, heat them with the torch and reseal them.

Take your next step and choose Houck for quality roof waterproofing services. Get in touch with us!

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Roof Drain Overflow Code Requirements

When waterproofing your roof, you need to follow drainage and ponding codes to prevent damage. It could become damaged if you don’t have enough drainage to get the water away from the building. Consider these regulations from the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants as you approach waterproofing.

  • Section 1503.4 — Roof drainage: This code indicates that you need to design and install your roof drainage system in compliance with Section 1503 and Sections 1106 and 1108 of the International Plumbing Code. Section 1106 refers to the regulations for the size of conductors, leaders and storm drains, while Section 1108 provides rules for the presence of secondary, or emergency, roof drains.
  • Section 1503.4.1 — Secondary, or emergency overflow, drains or scuppers: If your roof requires an updated draining system, you should install a secondary roof drain or scupper. You would need this application if the roof’s perimeter construction extends above it, and the primary drain traps water and allows buildup. Adding this system will prevent the top of the building from collapsing during harsh rainstorms. Like the primary drainage system, your emergency overflow drain needs to comply with Sections 1106 and 1108 of the International Plumbing Code.
  • Section 1503.4.2 — Scuppers: You can install scuppers on the roof to allow water to flow out of parapet walls or gravel stops on built-up or flat roofs. If you use these components for secondary roof drainage, size their roof drainage, inlet elevation, quantity and location to keep the water from accumulating above the level outlined in Section 1611.1. Scuppers must have a maximum dimension of four inches.
  • Section 1611.1 — Design rain loads: Design each part of the roof to hold the weight of rainwater that accumulates if the primary drainage system has a blockage or the uniform load rises above the secondary drainage system’s inlet.

Houck Can Waterproof Your Commercial Roof

Schedule your next waterproof roofing project in Central Pennsylvania with Houck. Our craftspeople specialize in making your commercial building safer. With more than 70 years’ experience, we know the right waterproofing materials. Contact us online or call 800-458-2122 for a comprehensive estimate.

Re-Roofing Versus Roof Replacements

Is your roof nearing the end of its life? Whether you notice signs of wear in your commercial roof or know it is nearing the end of its warranty, you might be wondering if it’s time for a replacement. If your roof is in good condition, you have the option to re-roof the existing roof rather than tear it off and install a new one. If your roof uses shingles or a protective industrial membrane, you can add a second layer of the material directly on top of the existing roof. You’ll add years to your roof’s life expectancy for a fraction of the cost of a full replacement.

This guide will explain the difference between re-roofing and roof replacements, and help you determine which option will be best for your roof.

What Is Re-Roofing?

Re-roofing is an alternative to completely removing and replacing a roof. When re-roofing is employed, a second layer of shingles is placed on top of an existing roof. While not always possible, re-roofing can help you save on replacement costs. Since the existing roof does not need to be torn off, there’s less labor and time involved. The process is also called recovering since the existing roof is covered with an additional layer.

Another critical benefit of re-roofing is significant savings on materials. To understand just how much you save, consider how many layers comprise your roof.

Flat and low-pitched roofs usually consist of three layers.

  • Weatherproofing: All roofs need at least one layer of weatherproofing to keep out moisture. Areas in colder regions might also need an ice-protective barrier.
  • Reinforcement: Another layer adds durability, puncture-resistance and structural stability to the roof.
  • Surfacing: A top layer protects the two bottom layers from the weather and sun. The surfacing can add additional benefits, such as fireproofing or energy-efficient solar reflective coatings.

A commercial pitched roof typically consists of four layers.

  • Decking: Also called sheathing, this bottom layer of the roof is usually a panel of plywood that acts as a foundation for the roof.
  • Ice and water barrier: Self-sealing and waterproof, the ice and water membrane protects your building from water penetration and ice build-up.
  • Underlayment: A uniform layer of felt protects against water infiltration under the shingles, and allows the shingles to lay flatter.
  • Shingles: Asphalt shingles, metal panels or wood shakes are the recognizable outer layer of your roof. They provide architectural aesthetics as well as protection. Asphalt shingles will also have a fifth layer, called a ridge cap. The ridge cap is an extra-long shingle that fits over the vertices of the roof.

The factor that makes re-roofing cost-effective is that most of the layers of the roof stay intact. You do not invest in a whole new roof. Instead, you rely on its existing layers to provide structure and protection for your building. Re-roofing offers significant cost savings since you are reusing these materials. It also keeps your building protected during the roof installation process, since these protective layers stay intact.

Since roofs have many layers, it is difficult to inspect them during the recovering process. If there’s any underlying damage to these layers, a re-roofing will not resolve the issue. Tearing out the shingles and the other protective barriers of the roof allow for the installation of new materials that will last for years to come.

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What Is a Roof Replacement?

Recovering the existing roof is sometimes not possible. If a roof already has a second layer, you cannot add a third layer. The 2018 International Building Code (IBC) 1511.3.1.1 prohibits re-roofing when the existing roof has two or more applications of any roof covering. A roofer cannot recover a clay, slate, cement or asbestos-cement roof. Re-roofing is not possible when the current roof is water-soaked or has significant structural damage. If an inspection reveals the roof has compromised integrity, you should opt for a roof replacement instead.

Unlike re-roofing, a roof replacement tears out the existing roof and replaces it. The waterproofing and underlayment layers are removed and replaced with new material. Tearing out the shingles and underlayment lets roofers inspect the decking. If the decking is intact, new water barriers, underlayment and shingles are applied. If the decking has damage, it will be repaired before the new roof is installed.

A roof replacement is always possible and recommended in any case where a roof has more than a few small issues. Rather than covering up the damage, a new roof gives you structurally-sound, long-lasting handiwork. A new roof also comes with a warranty. Depending on the materials used, it will last between 10 and 50 years. A roof replacement doesn’t have the same material restrictions as recovering, so you gain flexibility.

A roof replacement is a significant investment. It costs more in labor, materials and time than re-roofing. With new materials, your building will have added protection and longer-lasting materials. You don’t have to question whether your roof is sound, because any issues are dealt with during replacement.

How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?

How many years your roof is designed to last depends on the type of roof you have. On an industrial flat roof, the roofing system protective layers you use can impact its lifespan. The materials used on a pitched roof will also have a different life expectancy. Weather damage, frequency of maintenance, slope and mistakes in installation can all influence how long your roof lasts.

Here’s how long your industrial roof can last, depending on the materials used:

  • Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO): A type of single-ply roof membrane, TPO is popular for low-slope roofs. It’s a material known for high durability and extreme weather resistance. Protections from heat aging and UV degradation contribute even further to its longevity. The typical life expectancy is 22 to 30 years.
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monome (EPDM): An EPDM roofing system features a rubber membrane, which increases longevity. The rubber layer is durable and resistant to impacts, sun and heat damage. It can be installed over an existing roof, so it’s ideal for re-roofing. Rubber roofs are known to last between 22 and 35 years.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Like TPO, a PVC roof is another kind of single-ply white protective roofing layer. It’s an energy-efficient roofing option since the color retains less heat. It’s also a fire-retardant material, known for its self-extinguishing abilities. While PVC roofs can last between 20 and 30 years, their life expectancy can increase due to the decreased effects of fire damage.
  • Metal roofing systems or metal paneling: Metal roofs withstand water and air penetration. Metal roofs are easily retrofitted over an existing roof. They need little maintenance and can prolong the life of your roof. They can last between 30 and 45 years.
  • Asphalt roofing systems: Modified bitumen and built-up roofs both use asphalt as an adhesive. Slopped roofs often use asphalt shingles, which have a long lifespan with proper maintenance. An asphalt roof can last anywhere between 20 and 40 years.

While a material’s projected lifespan is a critical factor in determining when it’s time for a replacement, there are lots of other signs. While a roof that leaks in a few spots can be fixed with a roof recovering, significant damage means it is time to replace the roof. Here are some signs of damage to look for:

  • Leaking or water damage
  • Missing shingles
  • Sagging in the roof deck
  • Visible holes
  • Dark spots
  • Mold, rot or moisture
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When Is Re-Roofing a Good Idea?

There are many circumstances where re-roofing can be a cost-saving solution. An ideal candidate for re-roofing is a roof that is nearing the end of its lifespan but is still in great shape. A roof under 15 years old with a minor issue in one area might be better off with a repair than a total recovering. Re-roofing only part of a roof will look uneven.

If a roof is 15 years or older and starting to see signs of minor wear, it’s possible re-roofing will be a helpful solution. If you find granules from asphalt shingles in the gutters, a new layer could be the perfect solution. A few minor leaks or issues can also be resolved with a recovering. Both pitched and flat roofs should not have more than one roofing application. So, if the roof has not been re-roofed before, it is also a strong contender.

Before you can be certain re-roofing is a good idea, you should have an experienced roofer check it. A licensed roofing contractor will need to walk on the roof and inspect the construction. Even a seasoned professional cannot approve a re-roofing job from the ground. By peeling back some of the shingles, a professional can see if there are already two layers. The inspector will also walk around to see if the roof feels soft underfoot and look for deterioration in the flashing.

Re-Roofing Versus Roof Replacement — What’s the Right Choice for You?

Deciding whether to re-roof or replace your roof starts with a roof inspection. While you can choose to replace a roof by inspecting it from the ground, you cannot make a safe decision to re-roof without examining the construction closely. When you have the roof replaced, all the material is torn off and inspected on-the-job. A decision about whether to replace the decking can be made after examining it first hand. The inspection will require a roofing professional to walk on the roof and feel for damage on foot.

Before you decide to have a roof inspected for re-roofing, you must answer several questions about your roof.

How Many Layers Are on the Roof?

Depending on the material used in your commercial building roof, you have a limit on how many layers your roof can have. A metal roof can be retrofitted onto an existing roof as the second layer. If the original construction of the roof is metal, you cannot safely add a second layer. A roof with asphalt shingles can withstand two layers before total replacement becomes necessary. Flat roofs with either an EPDM or TPO membrane can be re-roofed with one additional layer. If your roof has already been re-roofed or is a metal roof, you can rule out re-roofing as an option.

Is the Existing Roof Smooth?

An issue that arises particularly with asphalt shingles is the surface becoming uneven over time. Shingles can start to curl or loosen with time. If a roof is missing shingles or has significant portions of curled shingles, recovering the roof will not be possible. Putting new shingles over old ones requires a flat, even surface. Covering an uneven roof with a fresh surface material will look unprofessional. It also has more potential for water leakage and other problems.

Are You Experiencing Any Leaks, Ice Dams or Condensation Issues?

While a few small leaks can be patched up during a re-roofing, anything more significant warrants replacement. Re-roofing only replaces the outer layer of the roof. It cannot repair damaged underlayment or weatherstripping.
On a pitched roof, an ice dam can be another sign of damage to the roof’s weatherstripping. As ice builds up on the outer lip of the roof, it prevents water from draining away. Weatherstripping creates an insulating layer between your heated home and the frigid outdoors. By preventing warm air from escaping, weatherstripping allows snow to flow evenly. If a roof is showing signs of ice build-up around the outer edges of the slope, it’s a sign the insulating ice barrier is damaged.
Leaking and ice dams are both signs that a roof needs a full replacement rather than re-roofing. Even if there are no leaks, excessive condensation in the attic of the building can be another sign of excess moisture penetrating your roof.
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What Is the Expected Lifespan of Your Roof?

It can be helpful to think of re-roofing as a way to increase the lifespan of your roof. Retrofitting metal panels onto an existing roof can add 20 years to the roof’s lifespan. The best time to choose re-roofing is when your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan before it starts to degrade. So, if you’re nearing the end of that life expectancy, it’s a great time to re-roof.
If your roof is well within its life expectancy and starting to show signs of damage, a roof replacement is probably necessary. The good news is that your roof should still be covered under warranty. Most shingle and industrial roofing manufacturers guarantee their products for a length of time. If the manufacturer has certified the contractor who installed the material, you can likely have your roof replaced under warranty.

Discover Professional Roofing Solutions From Houck

At Houck, we specialize in specialty restoration and preservation projects. Our roofing maintenance and repair services cover a variety of challenging roofing jobs. Whether your commercial building has a steep slope or a flat roof, we can provide the expertise and quality you need to extend the life of your roof. We can help you determine if you need a roof replacement or if you can safely re-roof for a longer-lasting exterior. We also provide custom metal roofing systems, coatings and preventative maintenance services. Houck is your choice, from floor to roof.

Dial 800-458-2122 or contact us online to speak to a Houck roofing expert, and see how we can get to work for you.

Roof Replacement: What You Need to Know

Everything You Should Know About Roof Replacements

If it’s time for your roof to be replaced, you likely have a number of questions about the process. Replacing a roof can be overwhelming and challenging, so it’s essential to know all the facts and best practices before you make any decisions. In this guide, we’ll address whether you should replace or repair your roof, what you should consider before replacing your roof, what the replacement process looks like and how to prepare for it.

When to Replace Your Roof

Roofs require some periodic maintenance and repairs, but in some cases, restoring your existing roof isn’t enough. If you’re wondering whether you should replace your roof, there are a few key indicators to look for to help you decide. You may need a new roof if:
  • Your roof is leaking: One sign you may need a new roof is if your current one is leaking. You may notice leaks when water drips down through your ceiling or when your building starts to develop a musty smell. You may be able to repair leaks, but if your roof is springing leaks because it’s aging, you may need to replace it.
  • The roof deck is damaged: When you think about the condition of your roof, you likely focus on what you can see, but the parts of your roof you can’t see are just as critical. Since decking is made from wood, it’s subject to issues like water damage and rot that can call for a roof replacement.
  • Your roof is sagging: If your roof is sagging, this is a sure sign that something is wrong. One possibility is that your roof joists are too small or too weak to stand up to the weight of snow and ice that settles on the roof at times. A sagging roof is, at least, cause for repairs and may indicate it’s time to install a new roof.
  • The shingles are deteriorating: If you have an asphalt shingle roof, you can usually tell it’s time to replace the roof when shingles are starting to crumble and deteriorate. This may lead to granules in your gutters. You may also notice dark streaks forming on shingles, which is a type of algae that tends to form with age.
  • Your roof is due to be replaced: Finally, if your roofing material has reached the end of its lifespan, then you should consider replacing your roof. Any roofing material may be able to outlive its predicted lifespan with careful maintenance, but especially when it comes to cheaper materials like shingles, you should expect to replace your roof after two decades or less.
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What to Consider Before Replacing Your Roof

Deciding when you should replace your roof is just the first step. You’ll also have to think through a number of decisions and logistical concerns. Whether you’re a homeowner, commercial or industrial building owner or property manager, ask yourself the following questions to help you on your journey to installing a new roof:

Are Coatings or Repairs an Option?

Before you commit to installing a new roof, you should first consider whether you could restore your current roof’s functionality and appearance through repairs or a coating. A roofing professional can help you determine whether these are options you can consider. Repairing your roof or protecting it with a waterproof coating can be an excellent way to maximize the life of your current roof before having to invest in a new one.
Most property owners are familiar with the idea of roofing repairs, but not familiar with coatings. Waterproof coatings are one of the best ways to fix a leaking roof. However, applying a coating to your roof won’t fix structural issues if those are present.

What Is Your Local Climate Like?

When you’re choosing a roofing material, it’s wise to consider your local climate. What type of weather will your roof need to endure? Do you need a roof that will help you insulate your building against extreme outdoor temperatures? Will your roof be affected by snow and ice? Do you live near the coast where your roof will be affected by moisture and salty air?
As you consult with a roofing professional, discuss the weather conditions that will affect your roof and the best choices in material and features to resist wear and tear from those conditions. Since snow can be especially harsh on roofs, if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow, you may want to install metal snow rail and snow retention systems and make a plan for snow removal.

What Aesthetic Are You Going For?

Aesthetic tends to be more of a concern for homeowners replacing their home’s roof, but it should also be a concern for industrial and commercial property owners and managers, as well. Your chief concern may be functionality, but that doesn’t mean you need to ignore appearance. The best roofing system is one that protects your building and enhances the building’s overall aesthetic.

Consider the architectural style of your building and any colors you would like to feature or match. Some roofing types, such as built-up roofing, aren’t visible to people below and won’t afford much room for customization, but many other types of commercial roofing materials, such as rubber or metal, come in different colors and finishes. You may even want to set your building apart with a garden rooftop.

What Is Your Budget?

Another thing you’ll want to think through when you need to replace your roof is your budget. One way to think about your budget is to simply consider the amount you’re willing to spend and then choose an option that fits within that limit. Another approach that may serve you better in the long run, however, is to think of your new roof as an investment, the benefits of which you can continue to reap over time.

This may mean expanding your budget a bit to install a better quality roof. When you spend more now on a high-quality roofing system, you can save money in the long run since you likely won’t have to spend as much on repairs and will be able to wait much longer before replacing your roof again. Some roofing materials even have the potential to last a lifetime.

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Does Your Insurance Pay for a New Roof?

When you’re considering your budget for a new roof, you should check your insurance policy to see if it will cover the cost of a new roof. Home insurance policies often include provisions for roof replacements in the case of acts of nature. Commercial policies may also include coverage for either repairing or replacing a roof that has been damaged by things like insects, fire and storms.

Typically, insurance companies will not offer any assistance with roofs that are ready to be replaced after experiencing normal wear and tear, so this responsibility will fall on the property owner. Every policy is different, so you should check yours to see whether a new roof or roofing repairs may be covered.

Who Should You Hire to Install Your Roof?

Finally, you’ll need to think through who you’re going to hire to install your new roof. It’s in your best interest to work with a company like Houck, who will apprise you of all your options and won’t try to pressure you into paying for a full roof replacement when you may only need repairs. An experienced and fair roofing company will be able to consult with you and provide valuable input to help you settle on the best roofing solution for your building.

Check online reviews and talk to colleagues and friends who have had their roofs replaced recently to get some recommendations. Keep in mind, however, that, if your roofing project calls for a special set of skills, such as historical restoration, you may not want to go with a company your neighbor used. Instead, look for a company that specializes in your type of project.

Getting a New Roof? Here’s What to Expect:

Once you decide to install a new roof, you can begin moving forward with the project. If you’ve never undertaken a re-roofing project before, you may not know what the roof replacement process looks like. Generally, the steps include:

1. Inspection and Planning

The first week or more of the process will involve inspecting your current roof and making a plan. A craftsperson will take a close look at your current roof to determine whether replacing the roof is the best course of action and will then help you determine what type of roof to install. The roofing company should also provide you with a quote at this point to help you budget for your new roof.

2. Paperwork

Once you’ve planned your project, the next step is for your roofers to obtain the necessary permits. Most cities require building permits for roofing projects to make sure they abide by the relevant building codes. Another type of paperwork you should receive at this point is a written contract detailing the agreement between the roofing company and you. You should also ask for a written confirmation that your roofing company has the necessary insurance coverage for your project.

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3. Installation

The installation itself will likely go much faster than the planning and paperwork leading up to it. Depending on the size and type of roof, installation may take several days. Your roofing craftspeople may have to start by removing the old roof, depending on how many layers of surface material you have, what condition it’s in and whether they need to get to the decking to make repairs. Depending on the project, you may have to vacate your building during the roof installation

4. Clean-Up and Walk-Through

After your roof is installed, your roofing craftspeople will spend a day or so cleaning up. This typically includes disposing of the previous roofing material that was removed and collecting any debris lying around. Your roofers may also use a magnet to collect any screws, nails or other metal pieces on the ground. All these materials will go into a dumpster that will be hauled away. Finally, you should be able to do a final walk-through with your roofer to see the results of the project.

Preparing Your Roof for Replacement

There are some things you, as the homeowner or property manager, can do to help prepare for your new roof installation. Here are a few tasks you should take care of prior to the start of your roof installation:
  • Cut the grass: Keeping your grass short will help your roofers mind any pieces that are dropped on the ground, including small objects like nails, screws and staples.
  • Cut back trees: If there are any tree branches that are encroaching on your roof, you’ll need to prune these back to keep them out of the way for re-roofing. It’s also wise to maintain space between trees and your roof, so they don’t damage your roof.
  • Move outdoor objects: You should also move objects like potted plants, outdoor furniture, ceramic landscaping features and anything else that could break if it were to be hit by a falling piece of debris from the roof. If you have a satellite dish on your roof, you’ll need to move this, too.
  • Move vehicles: You’ll want to leave a large path on your driveway or parking lot for your roofers to come and go with materials. Moving vehicles to the other side of the parking lot or down the street will also help protect them from falling debris.
  • Identify outlets: One way you can help streamline the process is by identifying the most convenient outlets ahead of time for your roofers to access for power tools. Outdoor outlets are ideal. If you only have outlets inside your home, you’ll need to run an extension cord outside.
  • Clear out the attic: Gaps in your decking can allow objects and debris to fall through during the re-roofing process, so if you have an attic, you’ll want to either remove the items you have stored there or cover them with a tarp to ensure nothing gets damaged.
  • Remove wall hangings: You may also want to take down wall hangings, especially if you’re having work done on the roof decking and not just the surface material. This will prevent pictures from falling down and breaking due to vibrations and impact from above.
  • Notify neighbors: It’s courteous to speak with neighbors, whether neighboring homeowners or neighboring businesses, ahead of time to let them know you’ll be having some work done. This small gesture can go a long way toward preventing a disturbance.
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Houck Can Meet All of Your Roofing Needs

A roof replacement can be an involved process, but it’s sometimes a necessary step when your existing roof has come to the end of its lifespan. Keeping up with the health of your roof is critical, so you can ensure your roof continues to provide the insulation and protection your facility needs.

If you think your roof may need to be repaired, reinforced with a coating or replaced, you can trust Houck Construction in Central Pennsylvania for all your roofing needs. With over 70 years of experience, we can help answer any questions you may have about the industry or best roofing practices.

Contact Houck today to learn more about how we can help you enjoy the benefits of a top-quality roof.

Roof Winterization Tips From Houck

As fall turns to winter, it becomes important to ensure all aspects of our properties are prepared for the coming cold. We make sure our industrial heating systems are working properly, that our yard plow trucks are serviced and that all windows and doors seal properly. The roof of your building or facility is an essential barrier against the cold and therefore should be a top priority. Simple maintenance and inspection can prepare it for freezing temperatures and harsh winds.

At Houck, we know winters can be brutal. Wind, snow, sleet, ice and cold temperatures can damage a roof and allow heat to escape. If the damage is severe enough, the roof may leak, leading to damage elsewhere in the building. Before winter arrives, we encourage you to sign up for our roof inspection services. We can ensure your roof is equipped for a mid-Atlantic winter.

When to Have a Roof Inspection Performed

Although a roof inspection can be performed spring through fall, we recommend scheduling an inspection in the fall. This is the best way to guarantee your roof is ready for winter. Inspecting early in the year allows time for wind and rain to damage your roof, and waiting until the temperature drops in early winter can render an inspection and any needed repairs too dangerous to perform.

Plan ahead and call us to schedule an inspection so we can ensure your roof is prepared for the coming winter.

What We Include in Our Comprehensive Roof Inspection

Houck is a leading area contractor with experience in commercial and industrial buildings. We adapt our commercial roofing inspection to match the unique design, shape and materials of your industrial property and ensure all roofing materials are properly secured.

We will also inspect the coating system of your industrial property to eliminate cracks or tears susceptible to winter damage and leaks. We verify all  roof penetrations  are sealed and will not allow water or ice to infiltrate your building.

Once we have completed our roof inspection, we prepare a report detailing our findings and recommendations. We outline any problem areas to be addressed before the cold weather hits. We then schedule all necessary repairs and maintenance at your convenience.

At Houck, we value safety, quality and performance. That is why our workers are trained in safety and efficiency. We will ensure you are fully protected from the cold, rain and snow.

Important Areas to Inspect

During our detailed roof inspection, we examine many critical points where damage can escalate if snow and ice accumulate, including:

  • Roof hatches
  • Skylights
  • Drains and vents
  • Access points

Once snow has fallen, it can be difficult to locate these roof features and make repairs. Inspecting prior to the winter season means we can quickly assess the condition of your roof and make any necessary repairs.

This preventative maintenance saves time and money and can help avoid costly damage to your valuable equipment, machinery and your facility’s interior.

Services Included in Roofing Winterization

While every roof is unique, there are some winterization services we perform during every pre-winter service. The goal is to avoid water and snow buildup, since cold temperatures cause freezing that expands and cracks roofing materials and creates costly damage.

To keep snow, water and ice from collecting on your roof and around your property, we perform:

  • Gutter cleaning (removing old leaves and tree debris)
  • Drain cleaning (cleaning and verifying that drains flow properly)
  • Tree trimming (removing branches that can block gutters)
  • Storm drain clearing (to ensure storm water and snow evacuates correctly)

These tasks ensure all water and snow can drain properly instead of accumulating in your gutters and drains. This cleaning also allows us to more closely inspect your roof and assess its condition underneath the build up of leaves, branches and other debris.

Clearing Snow After It Falls

Industrial and commercial roofs are prone to snow and ice accumulation due to their flat or slightly inclined designs. Once snow has built up, our team can come in and clear it for you.

We work safely to remove snow before it has a chance to turn to ice. It is important to remove snow after every significant fall because the accumulation of winter precipitation adds substantial weight to your roof. Too much weight can cause your roof to sag or even collapse. Allow Houck to take care of your roof snow removal and ensure your building and property is protected from the winter elements.

Experience You Can Count On

With over 70 years’ experience, Houck can handle all your roof inspection, maintenance and repair needs. We are the reliable choice from floor to roof. Do not wait until you are under a foot of snow to think about the state of your roof. Instead, let us take care of inspection and maintenance before winter comes so you can spend the cold months enjoying peace of mind.

The Pros and Cons of Roof Coating vs. Roof Replacement

When your roof needs repaired, you have to decide whether to recoat it or replace it entirely. To protect your commercial or industrial building, it’s important to ensure the roof is watertight. While both roof coating and roof replacement can restore your roof to like-new condition, there are factors to consider prior to making your decision.

At Houck, we have decades of experience as a leading specialty commercial and industrial building restoration contractor. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will inspect the state of your roof and recommend the best option for your facility.

Trust our experience and reputation to help you understand the different roof restoration options in order to select the right choice for your facility, situation and budget. Start a conversation today!

Roof Coating

Applying a waterproof coating can be a fast and reliable solution to a leaking roof. We can install a variety of coatings that resist water penetration, preventing damage to your facility or equipment. Before choosing a roof coating system, consider the following roof coating benefits and drawbacks:


  • Lower-cost
  • Fast and easy installation
  • Suitable for complex roof designs


  • Doesn’t address structural issues
  • Can require significant prep work
  • Weather-sensitive installation

Roof coating shouldn’t be thought of as a “Band-Aid” solution. When our team installs a roof coating system on a commercial or industrial property, we use quality materials and apply a consistently thick coating to ensure years of reliability. We also prep your roof for added durability. This includes cleaning and removing loose materials for better coating adherence.

With over 70 years of experience in the industry, we know when coating your commercial or industrial roof is the best solution. We stand behind our work and will only recommend a roof coating when we are confident it will eliminate leakage and provide years of reliability and value.

Roof Replacement

Replacing all or part of your facility’s roof can sometimes be the most effective and cost-efficient solution to a leaking roof. At Houck, we’re conscious of the waste generated with re-roofing and only propose this solution when the option of a roof coating system is not suitable. Before creating your comprehensive estimate, we consider the following points:


  • A new roof  can add years to the lifespan of your facility
  • The new roof can add strength to your building
  • We can use green and energy-efficient materials


  • Installing a new roof is more disruptive to operations than applying a coating system
  • It may be necessary to expose portions of your building when removing your old system
  • Mechanical and HVAC installations on your roof can complicate re-roofing

The recommendation to replace your roof isn’t one we make casually. Our team of craftspeople will inspect your roof and locate the weaknesses and leaks. Once we have assessed your roof, we will determine if replacing your roof is the best solution and provide a comprehensive estimate. We can also recommend additional insulation and green materials for improved heating and cooling benefits.

Is There a Right Roofing Solution?

Roof coating and roof replacement are both suitable solutions for roofing leak problems and provide their own benefits. At Houck, we use our decades of experience to determine which type of roofing repair is best suited to your situation. In all cases, we ensure that safety, quality and performance are part of every roofing project. Contact us today to discuss the current state of your roof.

Are you already experiencing leaks, or are you worried your roof may soon require attention? Have you discovered issues during a routine inspection, or suffered damage from a storm? Houck is your top choice for commercial and industrial facility roofing repairs in the mid-Atlantic region. Contact us today for a comprehensive roof evaluation.

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