5 Eco-Friendly Commercial Roofing Options

When companies make the decision to go green, roofing is probably not the first thing on the list. However, the materials used on a commercial roof can have a big impact on the overall eco-friendliness of a building. 

Here are a few options for creating an eco-friendly commercial roof:

Green Roofing

Possibly the most eco-friendly of all commercial roofing types, green roofs put vegetation directly on the roof surface over a waterproof layer. These roof plants have a number of environmental benefits, including air purification, carbon sequestration, and purifying runoff. The main advantage of green roofs, however, is that they help reduce the temperature of the building and the surrounding area, making them great for urban areas that have problems with heat sequestration. These roofs can also help regulate building temperatures and lower electricity bills.

Cool Roofs 

Cool roofs are one of the fastest growing segments of the roofing industry. The term “cool roof” refers to a roof painted white or a very light color. This color reflects sunlight better than darker roofs, keeping buildings cooler and allowing them to become more energy-efficient.

Rooftop Solar

Solar panels allow buildings to generate their own electricity and can sometimes even pump additional energy back into the grid. Over time, solar panels can also help companies save money. Adhering solar panels to a roof can be a complex and expensive task that should always be done under the supervision of a roofing professional.

Recyclable Materials

Many of the materials used for roofing can come from recycled elements like metal, which can be taken from the scrap yard and repurposed for a roof. Old roofing materials, such as reclaimed shingles, can often still be used on a different building. Rubber roofs are often made from old belt tires. When using new materials is necessary, choose one that can be recycled or sustainably disposed of after the roof needs to be replaced, like metal or rubber.

Durable Materials

The longer something lasts, the better that is for the environment. Using durable roof materials generates less waste and requires the use of fewer prime resources. A long-lasting roof is also a huge financial benefit to businesses, as they won’t need to replace their roof as frequently. Durable roof materials include metal, rubber, and a number of other options.

Your Trusted Partner for Eco-Friendly Commercial Roofing

Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. has experience with all types of eco-friendly roofing options. To learn more about using your commercial roof to go green, contact the Maxwell team today.

5 Money-Saving Tips for Commercial Roofing

Constructing a new commercial roof or replacing an old one can be a huge expense for a business. While there’s no way to avoid the necessity of some roof-related costs, there are some ways to save money throughout the roofing process.

Here are a few ways to save money on your commercial building’s next roofing project:

Recover Instead of Replace

When a roof has reached the end of its life, it may not need a total replacement. If a roof’s deck and insulation are still in good shape, then you may be able to install a new roof over the top. This is known as a roof recover system, and it saves material costs and a significant amount of labor.

Investment in Good Materials and Craftsmanship

It may seem tempting to just contract the cheapest roofer to install the most inexpensive roof, but this can end up costing more money in the long run when the roof doesn’t last. Commercial roofing systems are designed to last decades if they are installed properly. However, a shoddy roofing job will likely need to be replaced long before that. Investing some upfront money in a job well done will save costs in the long run.

Don’t Neglect Maintenance

Even a perfectly constructed roof will need maintenance over its lifetime. Getting regular inspections and incremental repairs can prevent costly catastrophic damage. The best way to save money on roofing is to make a commercial roof last as long as possible without a major repair.

Track Warranties

Nearly every product on a roof comes with a manufacturer’s warranty, but these can be tricky to keep track of. Good roofing companies are familiar with possible defects in roof materials and know how to help their customers get their money back when something goes wrong.

Get a Budget Plan

Long-term budget planning can prevent companies from being forced to take out a loan for emergency repairs or replacement. Many roof maintenance plans offer budget planning and forecasting so companies can adequately prepare.

Your Cost-Savings Roofing Partner

Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. is always looking for ways to help our customers save money. Contact us today for a consultation. Our team is highly experienced and equipped to provide you with a variety of solutions.

What to Know About Commercial Rooftop Bars or Decks

Rooftop bars and decks are becoming popular features in city buildings, as restaurants and hotels look for new and creative ways to provide their guests with a unique experience. Rooftop patios are appealing, but they can put additional strain on a commercial roof.

 For building owners planning a rooftop bar, there are a few additional things to consider when planning for roof construction: 

Maintenance is still important.

Rooftop bars are doing double duty as a commercial roof and an entertainment space. It needs to be water-tight, fireproof, and support certain equipment like a regular roof, while also being able to accommodate large amounts of people. While it may be tempting to treat a rooftop patio like an extension of the interior of the building, it needs to be maintained by a roofer. Only a roofer will know the proper way to check for leaks and maintain other roofing equipment.

It’s not the same as a ground-level patio.

Designing an outdoor roof space isn’t the same thing as designing one on the ground level. Designers must ensure that the roof itself has enough support before they even start laying plans for the deck. For this reason, rooftop decks should be planned with the help of a roofing company and a structural engineer to ensure the structure can handle the projected plan.

Rooftop features are exposed to the elements.

Just like regular patios, rooftop patios are constantly exposed to the elements. Outdoor spaces need to be constructed from materials that can stand up to rain, snow, and wind. This is doubly true of a rooftop patio, which is generally more exposed and needs to be durable enough to protect the structure underneath it.

Drainage can be difficult.

Commercial roofs typically are not completely flat. It’s best that they have at least a slight slope, so that water will drain off the roof. Moisture pooling can damage a roof and eventually lead to leaks or other damage. This drainage requirement limits design options for rooftop decks and can make it difficult to plan them properly.

Rooftop patios are expensive.

Creating a rooftop deck or patio can be very costly for the building owner. While this expense can be daunting, it’s important to remember that rooftop patios add value to the building and can help attract additional customers. Some studies also show that patrons on rooftop bars stay longer at a bar or restaurant than they do at venues without a rooftop space.

Don’t forget the special equipment.

Commercial roofs often house special equipment like HVACs, but adding a patio or deck opens up even more options for the type of equipment a roof may need to house. Rooftop pools, hot tubs, or fountains can be especially challenging to design and maintain as they can create moisture that may damage the roof.

 While construction and maintenance on a rooftop patio can be challenging, the rewards are often worth it. Contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today to start designing your outdoor rooftop space with the right roofing partner.

How Commercial Roof Diffusers Can Help Regulate Building Temperatures

Heating and cooling a large commercial building can be a daunting and expensive endeavor. But managing temperature in a building doesn’t have to involve creating an entire duct system to move air.

 By making some simple changes to a commercial roof’s HVAC system, a building can use a diffuser system to pull air into a room for a single point and spread it around a room. Here is what air diffusers can do to control the temperature in a large building:

Conditioned Air In, Building Air Out

Rooftop air diffusers are used to bring conditioned air into a building from an HVAC unit and then return air back to the rooftop. Diffusers are an excellent delivery system for air and an alternative to a complex duct system.

Different Styles for Different Rooms

Every type of room is unique, and air may need to spread throughout an open space in a different pattern depending on its use. Air diffusers come in a number of different styles. The main types include slot diffusers that distribute air evenly along one strip, jet diffusers that push air into a room, and cone diffusers that release air in a radial pattern outward from the vent.

Simplifying Ceiling Installation

Unlike vents, diffusers can be combined with multiple pieces of overhead equipment in the same area. This makes it easier to install diffusers than other types of heating and cooling equipment.

More Temperature Control

Many heating and cooling systems require that several rooms be incorporated into the same temperature zone. In some types of buildings, this can cause discomfort to occupants. Certain types of electronic diffusers can allow for more flexibility in air control with a thermostat in each individual room.

Consistency

Because diffusers provide air from a single source, it provides more consistent air flow than other types of ventilation systems. Consistent air flow typically means more consistent temperatures, which keeps building occupants more comfortable. 

Expert Knowledge for Commercial Rooftops

Like all heating and cooling equipment, rooftop air diffusers require specialized knowledge to install. Because diffusers require the use of a rooftop HVAC system, it’s essential to consult a professional roofer when designing and installing it. Only a roofer has the necessary qualifications for installing a roof curb for a diffuser.

 To learn more about rooftop air diffusers and how to regulate the temperature of a commercial building, contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today.

Employee Spotlight: Martha Walden

Martha Walden grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where she graduated from 20th Century College with a major in Business Administration. She came to Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. with an extensive and well-rounded background in accounting, having worked accounting roles in the manufacturing, treasury, restaurant, and property management industries. Martha joined the Maxwell Roofing team 8 years ago as Accounts Payable Manager, and she has loved her time with the company. 

Current Role

As Accounts Payable Manager, Martha’s days in the office are always exciting. She not only handles the payables function but also acts as a liaison for the service and construction departments. “I can plan my day, but it never goes as planned,” she says. Her versatile role keeps her work interesting and presents new challenges daily.  

Martha works with a team of three. Her team’s external clients are suppliers who provide materials or services. The team’s internal clients are officers, project managers, estimators, and superintendents. 

Her main focus is to clearly understand each of her team member’s roles and how they work together to reach their goals. By providing her team with a platform to ask questions, offer new ideas, and talk openly about opportunities for improvement, Martha creates a collaborative environment.  

Why Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. Stands Out

 Martha’s passion for her job stems from her excellent contributions to her team. She says, “The one thing I love about Maxwell is having the ability to use my talent in such a way that, at the end of the day, I feel very confident about my contribution.” As she has always loved working with numbers, Martha knows that accounting is her niche. Her penchant for numbers led her to this career, but it’s Maxwell’s culture and team collaboration that keeps her with us. 

Personal

When she’s not in the office, you’ll find Martha in the kitchen, at a fresh seafood restaurant, or traveling. She adores cooking for her family—her husband, three daughters, five grandchildren, and her mother, who recently turned 100 years old. Once she retires, Martha has set her sights on traveling the world—especially to her favorite city, Dubai.

Commercial Roofing Terminology 101

As in any industry, roofers like to throw around specific terminology when they talk about their craft. Because roofing is so complex and specialized, roofers need to use this language, but it can be difficult for customers that are unfamiliar with the industry to understand.

Before you start working with a roofing company, it’s good to brush up on some basic terminology. Here are some of the most useful roofing terms and their definitions:

Roofing Materials and Components

Bitumen—Bitumen is a component of asphalt or coal tar, which keeps the roof waterproof. And while it is flammable, it does have a decent fire rating.

Built-Up Roof Membrane—Known as BUR for short, built-up roofing has been around for more than 100 years and uses multiple layers of bitumen in order to increase waterproofing and durability. BUR is not as popular in today’s construction, due to costs. Single-ply membranes are much more cost-effective than BUR installation.

Curb—This is a raised roofing component that is used to raise equipment above a roof surface. These typically surround things like fans, HVAC units, vents, or skylights. Curbs need to be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure that they remain in good condition.

Deck—The roof deck is the surface that everything else goes on top of. It’s the first layer that sits right on the joists. This material is often made of concrete, metal, or plywood. Protecting the roof deck is critical for the health of a commercial roof.

Envelope—The envelope refers to the waterproof seal that protects the base of a roof and a building. A building’s envelope is adhered onto a roof itself and is a crucial component of any roofing system.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer—Also known as EPDM or rubber roofing, Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer roofs are a cost-effective approach to a new roof system and are composed of recyclable materials. Though cost-effective, EPDM is not necessarily known for its durability in the same way as BUR roofs.

Flashing—Usually made of sheet metal, flashing is used on the edge of roofs to keep it covered and weatherproofed. Flashing is also used around roofing equipment like HVACs or near drains and skylights to keep those areas watertight.

Galvanized Steel—Iron in steel will rust if it isn’t coated. Galvanized steel is coated in zinc so that it does not corrode or rust. Many metal roofs use galvanized steel due to its strength and durability.

Polyvinyl Chloride—Also known as PVC, polyvinyl chloride roofs are a plastic material that sits on top of a roof and has some of the highest ratings for durability, fire-resistance, longevity, and waterproofing. These types of roofing systems tend to be more expensive than other options. PVC is valuable on roofs that contain grease emissions, as the grease will not eat through the membrane like other single-ply roof systems.

TPO—Short for short for Thermoplastic polyolefin, TPO is one of three single-ply roof systems, along with EPDM and PVC (mentioned above). TPO is a more cost-effective alternative with potentially high-energy ratings due to its white reflectivity.

Vents—Vents are any opening used to allow air or vapor to leave a building. Vents should be carefully planned out with roofing contractors, so they don’t become blocked or made ineffective.

Roof Problems

Ice Dam—Ice dams are walls of ice that form on a roof when water or snow freezes. They can cause leaks in a building if left unmanaged.

Thermal Stress—When temperature changes, roof components will expand and contract. This can lead to damage over time.

Water Infiltration—When water or even a small amount of moisture gets into your building, it’s called water infiltration. These leaks require immediate attention.

Wind Uplift—Strong winds can cause a section of a roof to rise. If the roof is not properly sealed, it can cause a section of the roof to blow off.

Your Roofing Terminology Interpreters

Roofing terminology can be useful to anyone investing in a commercial roofing system, but the  Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. team is happy to walk you through every component of your roof in more accessible terms. To learn more about how we can help get you acquainted with the roofing business, contact us today.

Do’s and Don’ts of Low-Slope Commercial Roofing

When it comes to commercial buildings, low-slope roofs are the most cost-effective and space-efficient roofing options. For these reasons, it’s rare to see a factory, warehouse, or grocery store with a sloped roof. While there are many advantages to a low-slope roof, this type of structure also presents some issues that commercial building owners should be aware of.

Here are the basic do’s and don’ts about owning and maintaining a low-slope commercial roof:

Don’t…

  • Ignore the maintenance schedule—With a low-slope roof, a small problem can become a big problem very quickly. Low-slope roofs don’t flush debris or moisture as easily as pitched roofs. Because of their large surface area, they can easily conceal problems. This makes regular maintenance and inspections even more important for a low-slope roof. 
  • Wait for repairs—Because low-slope roofs are so exposed, damage can get worse quickly. When there is damage on a low-slope roof, it’s important to get it taken care of as soon as possible before a small tear becomes a giant leak.
  • Make the roof overly accessible—Roofers and building contractors need access to your roof, but that doesn’t mean every person should be able to go up there. If someone doesn’t have official business on the roof, don’t give them access. High traffic on a low-slope roof can cause damage, not to mention it being a safety hazard.

Do…

  • Clean the roof regularly—A little mess on your roof may not seem like a huge issue, but it can become a serious problem for a low-slope roof. Debris, dirt, and grime don’t flush off a low-slope roof as easily as a roof with a pitch. Over time, filth can build up on a roof, clogging drains and even causing leaks. Regularly cleaning a low-slope roof will help your building look nice, and it will prevent problems.
  • Give water an escape route—When designing a low-slope roof, make sure not to create places that will retain water. Moisture build up is one of the biggest risks with a low-slope roof, and having a proper drainage system is critical to preventing leaks. Be sure to consult a professional roofer about drains and other equipment you’ll need to guide water off the roof’s surface.
  • Get on a consistent inspection plan—A maintenance schedule for a new low-slope roof should begin the day after it’s finished. Regular inspections and being consistent with minor repairs are the only way to ensure that a low-slope roof stays healthy. By working with a roofing contractor, you can get enrolled in a roof management program that will predict when you’ll need roof repairs.

There’s a lot to consider when getting a new commercial roof. Let the experts at Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. help. For a consultation, contact Maxwell today.

The Top Misconceptions About Commercial Roofing Construction

When it comes to commercial roofing, there can be a lot of confusing information out there. Since commercial roofs are often complicated to construct and maintain, it’s easy for bad roofing companies to keep their clients in the dark so they can cut corners or over charge.

Here are a few common misconceptions about commercial roofing construction to help you know what to look for when searching for the best company for the job:

The cheapest option is the best option.

Commercial roofs are expensive, and it can be tempting to choose the cheapest option. It’s just a roof, right? The problem with this line of thinking is that inexpensive could mean that you’re sacrificing quality or that important items are missing from the scope that will end up needing to be added during the job, resulting in a change order. 

Instead of just looking at the price when comparing quotes for a roofing job, be sure to look at a roofing company’s reputation. Reputable roofing companies with many years in business have gotten to that point because they do their jobs well and fairly price their work.

More is better.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the more you put into a roof, the better it will be. But, it’s not just the quantity of material that makes a roof durable, it’s finding someone with the technical know-how to use roofing materials properly. A prime example of this fallacy is with insulation. Many people think that the more insulation stacked onto a roof, the better and more energy-efficient it will be. In fact, too much insulation can actually damage a roof. Excess insulation can trap moisture, which can attract mold and eventually cause leaks. Only professional roofers know the right way to use roofing materials.

If it doesn’t seem broken, don’t fix it.

If your roof doesn’t have a leak or a visible hole, then you may think it isn’t in need of a repair. Unfortunately, commercial roofs can have many hidden problems that aren’t easily visible to the naked eye. Hidden moisture can cause damage to a roof’s substrate over time, which can eventually lead to more obvious and expensive damage.

The best way to prevent major roof damage is to put a maintenance plan into place as soon as a commercial roof is installed. Preventative maintenance and inspections can catch small signs of damage early when they are much easier and cheaper to fix. Just because your roof isn’t leaking doesn’t mean it can’t use some care.

All commercial roofs are the same.

Few people realize how complex commercial roofs can be and think they all function the same way. There are many different materials and designs that a commercial roof can adhere to, and a good roofer will be able to walk their clients through all the options. 

Any maintenance worker can handle a commercial roof.

Your handyman or contractor may be great at his or her job, but roof construction and maintenance requires specialized skills. Using anyone other than a trained roofer on a commercial roof is a recipe for disaster. 

Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. prides itself on customer service as much as construction expertise. When you choose the Maxwell team, you can be sure you’ll always have correct and up-to-date information about your roof. To learn more, contact us today.

Roof Maintenance vs. Roof Management

Everyone knows that in order to make a commercial roof last, you must take care of it. Traditionally, this has been done through preventative maintenance, with inspections every few months and repairs based on the recommendation of the contractor. 

Maintaining a roof will make it last longer, but for companies with multiple roofs to look after, there’s now a better tool: roof management. Here are two important differences between roof maintenance and roof management.

Proactive vs. Reactive Inspections and Repairs

With a roof maintenance program, inspectors will regularly examine a roof and make recommendations based on what they find. Roof management uses a predictive analysis to proactively treat your roof. It creates a plan for every roof in a portfolio of properties and allows owners to predict what repairs they’ll need and when. 

Because of this forward-thinking approach, roof management plans help property managers save money on more costly repairs. It also saves on unnecessary inspections and repairs. Roof management takes the guesswork out of roof repair, so you’re never just acting on a recommendation but on cold, hard facts.

Budget Surprises vs. Budget Planning

Roof maintenance can be unpredictable. When a roofer goes up for an inspection, there is always a chance that they are going to come down with a recommendation for a costly repair. Roof management programs predict when repairs are needed and allow roofers to proactively fix your roof so you have a better understanding of what to expect and can plan for repairs. 

Many roof management programs include a budgeting plan, so you know how much identified recommendations will cost and can schedule repairs for when your budget allows. This lets property managers put money aside in their budget for their roofing needs and not get caught off-guard.

Manage Your Roof with MAXCare®

For roof management, Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. has MAXCare®, the most comprehensive and unique program on the market. Not only does MAXCare provide its customers with the repairs and maintenance planning that all roof management systems do, its web portal also actively educates customers about their roof. 

The portal can be used to report leaks or check on a repair. The portal also stores all invoices and reports from past repairs. Additionally, MAXCare gives clients first priority service, discounts on repairs, and 24/7 emergency access. With all these features together, MAXCare provides customers with the best tools in the industry to manage a commercial roof. 

To learn more about Maxwell’s MAXCare, contact us today.

The Power of Preventative Maintenance

Exposed to the elements and loaded up with building equipment, commercial roofs have a lot of things that can go wrong without proper attention and care. Even in perfect weather conditions, every roof will experience some level of wear and tear over its life.

In order for a roof to make it through its expected life span, it will need to be maintained. While it may seem like a hassle to take care of a commercial roof, the benefits of preventative maintenance are too great to walk away from. Here’s what preventative maintenance can do for your roof: 

Catch the little things before they become big things.

A roof experiences hundreds of little things that over time cause it to deteriorate. Most of these things are almost undetectable to anyone other than a roofer, and over time these small problems can develop into major leaks or structural damage. Preventative maintenance fixes those small issues before they become major expenses. 

Take advantage of manufacturer warranties.

Sometimes, a roofing product just doesn’t perform the way it’s supposed to. The best manufacturers provide long-lasting, comprehensive warranties for situations in which the product fails. Understanding these warranties and realizing when a product is eligible for replacement is much more difficult than it seems. With regular maintenance inspections, roofers get a chance to go over a roof’s materials and make sure they are working properly and discover if a roof product is eligible for replacement before it’s too late.

Save money.

Preventative maintenance makes it less likely that a commercial roof will require a major repair. Paying for inspections and small repairs will cost far less in the long run than it would for a major repair or re-roof. Structural damage to a roof can also cause damage to equipment and other parts of the building, costing even more. Maintenance also makes a roof last longer, so you get more out of your investment.

Save time and avoid stress.

Dealing with a building disaster can be time-consuming and stressful. With regular roof inspections, you can predict what is coming down the line and avoid a sudden emergency. In the long run, this saves time and avoids unnecessary stress.

Be more eco-friendly.

Major roof repairs and re-roofs require a lot of material. By keeping a roof well-maintained, you are extending its life and the longevity of the materials used on it. 

Plan your budget.

Roof forecast assessments help commercial building owners plan for major expenses. This lets building owners know what they need to save and avoid unpleasant budgeting surprises.

If scheduling roof maintenance still sounds too overwhelming, turn to MAXCare® by Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. MAXCare lets property management companies manage all their roofs in one easy-to-use online portal. This organizes all the reports and assessments, so you know exactly what’s going on with all your facility rooftops.

To learn more about roof maintenance or MAXCare, contact Maxwell today.

5 Ways to Prepare for a Commercial Roof Inspection

Regular inspections are essential to extending the life of a commercial roof. Without inspections, problems on the roof can go undetected and lead to deterioration. While inspections are necessary, they can be intimidating for building owners who haven’t gotten one before.

Here are some tips for what to do before getting a commercial roof inspection:

1. Do a self-inspection.

You’ll need a professional roofer to diagnose a problem, but a self-inspection can help identify areas of concern that the inspector should watch closely. Walk the roof, scanning for debris, standing water, and obvious damage. Take note of what you think the inspector should be aware of.

2. List known problems.

Often commercial building owners call in for an inspection because of a problem. This may be a leak or a loose piece of flashing. It could also be a strange noise coming from the roof or something else that doesn’t have a clear cause. Lay out these known problems in a list, and make sure your contractor explains the problem to you after the inspection.

3. Track down warranty information.

All your roof’s components should come with a manufacturer warranty. Warranties will help you get a repair or replacement for free in case of a defect, but they can be tricky to redeem. Having all of your warranty information on hand will help the inspector determine if any part of the roof qualifies for replacement.

4. Find a contractor.

The most important step in getting a roof inspection is finding the right contractor. Look for a roofing company with a good reputation and a long history in business. Try to find a company that can be a long-term partner in the health of a roof rather than a roofer who may not stay in business.

5. Get a customized management plan.

The first inspection should only be the beginning of a roof management plan that lasts the life of a commercial roof. Quality roofing companies can provide building owners with a comprehensive management plan that automatically schedules inspections and projects when repairs are likely to be needed. Developing a plan like this greatly extends the life of a commercial roof.

Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. offers forecasting assessments, inspections, and a full management plan called MAXCare®. To learn how the Maxwell team can turn a routine inspection into a plan to extend the life of your roof, contact us today.