If your flat roof is starting to show unsightly signs of wear and tear or damage, it’s time to start thinking about replacing your commercial roofing system. While materials choices can definitely be a hindrance in getting the job done, the flat roof replacement cost is a big hold-up for many businesses or homeowners. You need to closely consider the costs, especially if you want your flat roof to be:
- Durable 💪
- Low-maintenance 🔨
- Long-lasting ⏳
Depending on the size of the building, reroofing a flat roof can be a significant expense— one you didn’t plan for. So, how much does a flat roof replacement cost in 2023? Let’s find out so you can plan your budget.
First, What Is a Flat Roof?
Despite the name, flat roofs aren’t actually flat. Rather, they are a very low slope barely noticeable by the naked eye. If a roof had a truly flat slope, rain, snow, and ice wouldn’t be able to flow off and the roof would be at risk of collapse. Therefore, a flat roof should have a slope of at least 1% but up to 10%.
Flat roofs are most commonly used on commercial buildings like:
- Big box stores
- Strip malls
- Standalone shops
Due to the size of those structures, a standard sloped roof like a gable or hip roof wouldn’t be as functional. Many of these structures also require regular foot traffic on the roof to repair or manage air conditioning units, plumbing pipes, and other mechanical components of the buildings. So a flat roof makes the most sense.
What Are the Common Types of Flat Roofs?
Just like roof shingles, there are multiple material options for flat roofing as well. Some of the most common include:
- Modified bitumen
- Green Roofs
Each type of flat roof material has its own pros, cons, durability, cost, and best functionality. So it’s important to know what’s available before investing in the best flat roof for your structure.
EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer)
EPDM is a rubber-like material that has been widely used for decades. It’s reliable, low-maintenance, and very cost-effective. It comes as large sheets of black material that is rolled out across your roof and then heat-welded together at the seams for a seamless finish. EPDM can last up to 30 years if properly maintained, but it is prone to puncture and tearing.
Modified bitumen is an asphalt based layered roofing system that makes a superior waterproofing system. Some of the basic layers of modified bitumen include:
- Thermal insulation
- Polyester or fiberglass membranes
- Multiple plies
- Waterproofing adhesive
Modified bitumen is a long-lasting very durable option for flat roofs and often comes with flame-resistant and hail-resistant properties protected by long-term warranties depending on the manufacturer.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
PVC is a single-ply thermoplastic membrane that creates an excellent waterproofing system. It offers superior protection from the elements and has relatively low-maintenance costs, making it cost effective over time. PVC also comes with resistance to fire, chemicals, tearing, punctures and other environmental factors.
TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)
TPO features a single-ply membrane that is mechanically fastened with overlapping sheets. This type of system offers superior waterproofing and fire resistant properties, as well as being energy efficient in warmer climates to reflect the sun’s rays. It’s a very affordable option and low maintenance with low installation costs, making it a great choice for businesses on a budget who want a hands-off option.
Green roofs are becoming increasingly popular due to their environmental benefits. You can customize green roofs with different types of plants and vegetation that absorb water and reduce stormwater runoff. Green roofs can be expensive to install but the environmental benefits make it worth the cost for some businesses. Plus, they can provide an opportunity for a roof-top garden or patio area for residential apartment complexes.
BUR (Built Up Roofing)
Built up roofing (BUR) uses multiple layers of tar reinforced with fiberglass to create a waterproof membrane that can last up to 30 years if properly maintained. BUR roofs are very strong and durable and can be customized with different types of surfacing materials like gravel, crushed rock, or even ceramic chips for added protection.
How Much Does a Flat Roof Replacement Cost?
The average cost for an average sized flat roof replacement (1,600 square feet) is between $3,800 and $15,000. Some large-scale commercial projects, however, can cost upwards of $40,000+. Obviously, this is a wide range of costs because of many variables including:
- Roof size
- Installation costs
Generally, flat roof replacement cost is calculated by the square foot, as that’s how you’d purchase and install the material. But we’ll go into detail about all the other cost factors so you aren’t surprised when you get your first estimate for a flat roof replacement.
The cost of labor can vary greatly depending on the company you hire, the location you live, and the expertise of the training for certain materials. Overall, most commercial roofers will charge between $35 to $100 per hour.
Depending on the complexity and size of your flat roof, it will take roughly one to five days to complete. This could set you back up to $3,000 in labor expenses alone. Some materials used for constructing roofs such as built-up roofing may extend this timeline and hike up costs further due to their complex installation process.
Roof Removal Cost
One benefit of flat roofs is, depending on the material and your local regulations, you may be able to overlay a new roof over the old one without removing all the material. However, if your roof has been damaged and needs to be replaced, it’s likely that the old materials will need to be removed and disposed of. The job usually costs around $1 to $6 per square foot, but this can vary greatly. Always check to see if your roofer includes the tear-off costs in your initial quote.
Cost of Materials
The cost of materials can vary greatly and depends on the type of material you choose. Some materials may even require additional insulation or protection layers that can increase your costs substantially. In general, you can expect the following price per square foot, on average, for each material type:
- EPDM: $5 – $14
- Modified bitumen: $4 to $7
- PVC: $6 to $8
- TPO: $3 to $5
- Green Roofs: $10 to $25
- BUR: $4 to $12
How to Prolong Your Investment in a Flat Roof
To get the most out of your roofing investment, you definitely want to make sure you take good care of your flat roof investment. While many roofing materials are very low maintenance, they do require at least some light care to keep it in tip top shape.
And if you live in an area with intense weather, you’ll want to pay even closer attention to your flat roof to make sure it doesn’t suffer any damage or leaks. So, to prolong the life of your flat roof investment and save yourself the pain of repairs or early replacement, keep these tips in mind:
- Have your flat roof checked by a professional at least twice a year.
- Perform regular maintenance and cleaning to remove any debris or build up.
- Address any issues immediately, as they can lead to bigger problems later on.
- Apply waterproof sealants around joints, seams and flashings annually.
- If you live in an area with extreme weather, make sure to check your roof more frequently and have it inspected after any intense storms.
By taking these steps before any major damage can occur, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and headaches when it comes to keeping your flat roof in its best shape for years to come. But one of the best things you can do to protect your flat roof investment is to hire a reputable commercial roofing team, like Tectum Roofing.
Make the Easy Choice and Work With Tectum Roofing
We know that flat roofs aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, Tectum Roofing will provide a custom roofing solution for your flat roof based on budget, functionality, and other complexities that you need to get the right fit.
Additionally, we’ll always be transparent about pricing and the project timeline so you are never left in the dark. Get the roofing team that you deserve with Tectum Roofing. Reach out for your FREE estimate.