3 Commercial Roof Inspection Tips to Consider in 2022

Most people aren’t taking full advantage of their commercial roof inspections. Despite all the professional knowledge and technological advancements in the roofing industry, companies still don’t know how to plan these assessments and use them to get ahead in their budget planning.

Today, we’d like to explore how your business can leave this trend behind and start saving time, money, and effort through a better commercial roof inspection.

A Roof Inspection on an Industrial Building

Key Takeaways

  • Ask exactly what the inspection covers
  • Upgrade your inspection if necessary
  • Map out the next steps after the inspection

If you’ve struggled to find reliable roofing professionals in the past, be sure to read along closely.

Why You Need a Roof Inspection

Let’s be honest. Roofing projects can get expensive fast. That’s not a reason to shy away from a commercial roof inspection. On the contrary, a timely checkup for your rooftop could make the difference between a few minor repairs and a major replacement scenario.

That’s why we highly encourage professional consultations every two to three years. 

No matter how skilled a building manager or company owner may be, a seasoned roofing specialist always detects those minute signs of degradation better than the untrained eye. Their experience allows them to discern differences between simple scarring and leak-prone vulnerabilities in the membrane (or metal panels, etc.). Plus, it saves you time trying to examine the damage yourself!

When to Schedule

As we’ve mentioned already, two to three years is a widely accepted interval between commercial roof inspections. For buildings with thick steel or aluminum roofing, businesses may be able to stretch that time period up to five years. This makes it easy to track gradual degradation from wind, solar radiation, chemical effects (common with industrial buildings), thermal warping, and other seasonal factors.

Of course, that interval is often cut short by extreme weather threats, including hail trauma. You’ll need to assess the rooftop and (potentially) schedule your storm damage repair. Below are just some of the many appropriate circumstances to call your local roofing contractor.

A Casual Roof Inspection on a Commercial Building

Plan to Schedule a Roof Inspection Every Two to Three Years, Unless You Experience a Severe Storm, in Which Case You’ll Need Immediate Inspection.

When to Get a Roof Inspection

  • Following hail trauma or another severe storm threat
  • After detecting (or suspecting) a leak
  • Before performing a roof restoration/coating project
  • When assessing property value
  • Every two to three years (five for metal systems)

What Does a Roof Inspection Cost?

Sadly, large-scale commercial roofing inspections are rarely free! That’s actually a good thing, however, as paid inspections generally entail a more detailed assessment of your building’s health. If you’re on the verge of an expensive roof repair or replacement decision, you don’t want your contractor breezing through the checkup!

While commercial roof inspections feature a wide cost spectrum across the various states, most small business projects fall in the $200-500 or (5-10 cents / sq ft.) range (HomeAdvisor). This reflects the larger scale of single ply and other flat roofing systems that so frequently top our buildings.

Most contractors will charge by the square foot as a result. Expect higher rates for roof inspection projects involving specialized imaging equipment, which we’ll discuss later on.

For now, let’s take a look at how to take better advantage of inspections.

Tip #1: Know What You’re Getting

The concept seems so simple. However, one of the top reasons most businesses can’t take full advantage of their roofing inspections is they simply don’t know what’s included in their service. Start asking questions if your company wants to save time, money, and effort during your upcoming building projects. Ease of Access to the Roof Can Also Affect the Price of Commercial Roof Inspection.

There’s room for more, but below are some critical questions to ask your roofing contractor(s).

A Roof Inspection on a Metal System
  • What does a roof inspection entail?
  • What’s in the inspection report?

What Does a Roof Inspection Entail?

If you’re going to pay $500 or more for a building checkup, it better end with something more in-depth than “Oh ya, there’s damage, alright! Lemme call my estimator.” A paid commercial roof inspection should include carefully analyzing the rooftop surface, seams (the usual suspects for leaks), equipment edges, draining systems, and more. 

That’s why prudent business owners tend to inquire ahead of time about what’s included in their service, especially when trying out a roofing contractor for the first time. Ask about time requirements, costing, areas covered in the inspection, and what’s included in their roof inspection report.

What’s in the Inspection Report?

If you’re thinking, “Um…what is a roof inspection report?” that’s okay. This contractor-created document outlines the inspection findings, documents and itemizes damaged areas, and (typically) includes an estimate for fixing the degradation. It’s the single most important product of your commercial roof inspection because it allows your business to plan the next steps. 

If your contractor fails to provide a report, the waiting time between roof inspection and repair work tends to widen, which isn’t acceptable in a post-storm situation.

You’ll likely need the roof inspection report for insurance purposes too! There’s one more reason to ensure your contractor includes estimates in their findings.

A Drone Takes a Picture During a Roof Inspection

A Drone’s Point of View Allows Greater Coverage During an Industrial Roof Inspection, Adding Greater Context to The Findings.

Tip #2: Upgrade Your Inspection

Visual inspections offer timely, cost-effective results if the client is a small business. Larger companies typically require a more expansive analysis, and “eyeballing it” often leaves areas of damage undetected. You don’t want to find water leaks weeks after your repair project!

That’s why it helps to upgrade your roof inspection with drone support.

Drone inspections, particularly with infrared (or thermal) imaging, equips your roofing team with a broader perspective. These assessments naturally work well with large industrial or shopping centers needing a roof inspection for hail damage and/or leak detection. They also complement energy-efficiency checkups for building managers looking to test their cool roofing systems.

Popular Uses for Thermal / IR Inspections

  • Detecting weakness (energy waste) in the commercial building envelope
  • Identifying degraded seams between membranes
  • Spotting punctures and scarring on the rooftop
  • Locating exposed edges and corners
  • Detecting water pooling trapped on or under the roof

Tip #3: Ready Your Next Steps

So far, we’ve outlined how to better prepare before your commercial roof inspections. Now let’s dig into how to harness the assessment process to plan your next steps.

Building management never ends. Neither does the ongoing upkeep of your roofing system, a huge factor in your team’s protection against the elements. Instead of ending your inspection with a simple repair or replacement quote – or worse, sitting on the report findings until the problem gets more complicated – why not take a moment to plan ahead?

A Roof Inspection in a Large City

Use Inspection Time to Plan Your Maintenance Budget Years in Advance, Which Will Help You Save Long-Term.

While you have a seasoned, knowledgeable, and licensed professional there to answer your questions, start asking about future roof milestones. This might be a replacement ten years in the future or a restoration project you’ve been considering to save on energy costs.

Get estimates that you can factor into the building management budget. The choice to act on this information or ultimately discard it is up to you, but at least you’ll be working to get ahead!

Potential Questions to Ask Your Inspector

  • Which solutions could help us cut energy costs in our future roof replacement?
  • How can we extend the life of your roofing system down the road?
  • Realistically, how long can we expect these repairs to last before more work is needed?
  • How can we reduce roof maintenance costs in the future?

Find a Trusted Commercial Roofer Near You

If your current roofing contractor doesn’t provide the consistent results you’d like to see for your commercial roofing projects, our team at Roofer’s Guild can help. The association of roofing contractors spans the United States, making it easy to find a reliable professional in your local community.

Every contractor adheres to a strict standard of excellence, professionalism, and certification, meaning you can call with confidence!