Roof Inspections Don’t Cost (in the long run)

Roof inspections do not have to be major endeavor or investments. The most important inspection may be the walkover performed by the building owner, manager or the maintenance guy or gal. Okay, maybe a roof inspection cost a little for the maintenance person to walk around on the roof for a couple hours, but it doesn’t take much of a find for the inspection to pay for itself in real dollars. The modern commercial roof system will cost somewhere between a couple dollars per square foot to maybe ten to twenty times that depending on size, complexity and the materials used in the roof system. The walk-around finds one small hole in the roof that is leaking rain water into the system. The leak has not made it past the insulation layers and decking, so no one knows it is there until the inspection finds it. A call to the roofer and the hole is repaired for $200.

What if there is no inspection and no found hole? The leak may wet out a large area before it leaks into the building and prompts a call to the roofing contractor. We’ll be conservative and say it wets one 4’ x 8’ board of insulation, leaks into the building, phone call, roofer sends out two techs; they spend a 1/2 day, find the hole and repair it for $800. Further investigation determines the insulation is wet and should be removed because this location is over the something-critical area. Removal and replacement of the 4’ x 8’ area costs another $1,500 for a total of $2,300. The figures are imaginary, but the scenario is very real and happens every day.

Which is better? The maintenance person finding the small hole and the minor repair for $200+/- or waiting until the drip hits the floor and the major repair for $2,300+/-.