So often we get the tragic call in from a building owner who is calling because they had a horrible experience with a commercial roofing company. Just recently, we encountered a situation where the building owner had the their low slope roof replaced within the year; however, to their dismay the roof is leaking substantially.

Since the roof replacement, the company has disappeared and left the building owner with nothing but buckets to catch the rain and a moisture entrapped roofing system that may be ruined. Not to mention, without a manufacturer certification there is no manufacturer warranty on the roof either. What now- well the building owner is left holding the new roof expensive repair bill and now has to listen to a reputable company tell him/her about all the ways this previous company cut corners, incorrectly performed the installation and basically the horrible job they received.

These stories are all too common in the commercial roofing industry. How can a building owner protect themselves you ask?? For starters, make sure you contact a roofing company that specializes in commercial roofing. Most roofing companies are residential or shingle roofing companies and do not carry the capacity or knowledge to execute or correctly install a commercial low slope roof. They may say they can or their website says they do commercial work but you have to dig deeper. Ask them questions about the products, installation specs and details. Educate yourself on low slope roofing so you know when a salesman is “winging” it or actually knows it. So many times we see even the simplest of commercial roof details incorrectly installed by a roofing company who landed a project they knew nothing about.

An excellent commercial roofing company carries certifications from major well-know manufacturers. These certifications give confidence in many ways. First, it means the company has been tested and has proven to the manufacturer the company’s expertise to install the manufacturer’s products according to specs. Second, it means the manufacturer has confidence in the company’s knowledge, financial stability and customer service ability. The manufacturer is putting their name on the line as well. Finally, the certified roofing company can provide you with a no dollar limit or full system warranty for a term of 20 years or more. What does this mean- well no matter what happens to the roofing company your roof carries a warranty from the manufacturer. Workmanship/installation and material are covered under these warranties which means no money out of your pocket for any leaks or roof failures with the installed system under the warranty term. The manufacturer, furthermore, will send one of their roof inspectors out to inspect the roof after its installation ensuring a successful roof project. In some cases, the manufacturer offers the stability of being in business for over 100 years. Some of the most well-known commercial manufacturer certifications to look for are CertainTeed Star Contractors, Firestone Red Shield Contractors, Versico Certified Contractors and Carlisle Syn-Tec Certified Contractors.

Commercial roofing systems are a beast of a different nature. The company you are dealing with must take into account your specific building’s architecture, height, layout, geographic location and weather considerations for the area before selecting a system. Your chosen company should be able to explain to you wind design considerations and specific roof attachment concerns and layout patterns along with pullout values with fasteners and/or adhesives. An excellent roofing company will design and explain your system in terms of FM Global standards or manufacturer wind warranty standards. Otherwise, you may watch your roof blow off during the next thunderstorm. Further, many roof system options come with hail protection or class IV hail impact resistant membranes that may save you, the building owner, money on your insurance policy.

Your selected company should explain to you minimum insulation requirements and educate you on your existing roof deck and what it means to your new commercial roof. Wherever your building is located, moisture concerns in the new roofing system should always be addressed. As moisture in a roofing system will destroy it without you even knowing it.

And obviously, make sure the company has a GL insurance policy and always get lien releases that include material releases. You would be surprised how many times we hear about the building owner being stuck with the material bill after they paid the roofing company.

For more information regarding what to look for in a commercial roofing company contact Cobalt at (800) 820-4182 or visit us at