It’s all about the view. We desire to be at the top, to enjoy the horizon, uninterrupted by other buildings. It’s so peaceful, so beautiful, and frankly hard to find in the city. Rooftops have become a largely desired commodity in our high-rise world. That is why we see so many unusual and interesting uses of commercial roofing. From infinity pools to green spaces to lounges, like the one at The Taylor in Uptown Dallas, there is no end to unusual and unique uses for rooftops in commercial spaces. Of course, that also increases the complexity of the installation.
“Choosing to maximize a commercial roof space makes good business sense and provides a unique way to add value to tenants and guests,” said Steve Little, president of KPOST Company. “Pools, lounges, and general beautification are all excellent ideas to make the most of a commercial roof while expanding the livable, usable space of the facility.”
Up on the Roof
Whether a hotel, high-rise condo, museum or football stadium, there is no shortage of unique and creative commercial roofing installations. Just in North Texas, we have the very interesting AT&T stadium, with its retractable roof, plus a multitude of other unusual roofing installations such as Perot Museum, the Omni Dallas Hotel and The Westin Galleria. The one thing these properties have in common is working with a reputable, experienced commercial roofing partner. Why is that so critical?
“These types of complex installations require a more specialized knowledge. Not every commercial roofing partner is well-equipped to handle unusual rooftop installations or high-rise projects,” said Little. It will be important to select the right roofing partner for both the installation and ongoing maintenance and repair.”
So what is it about these installations that make them so complex? There are a number of factors including:
- Non-traditional use of water – whether it’s a pool or water feature, any time you put water in the air, there is the increased likelihood of leaks. Having the right plan for installation and maintenance will minimize that likelihood so you can enjoy the pool without concern of leaks into someone’s room. Also ensuring you have the right drainage systems in place keep the water where it belongs.
- Unusual angles – the majority of commercial roof installations are at a slight angle to accommodate drainage, so to the untrained eye they are flat. When you add sharp angles or severe slopes, the installation and maintenance become more difficult. The commercial roofing team must have a strong focus on safety so you are confident they can access the roof without any issue. In addition, experience with the various roofing materials combined to create the unusual angle or slope is important as well. These are not the type of projects you want someone to climb on and off of repeatedly because he does not have the right experience and tools to complete the repair.
- Brand it – with increased airline traffic, capturing the plane’s audience by putting your company logo and message on your roof promotes your brand and supports your marketing initiative!
- Make it appealing – or even more functional. How many times have you stayed in a hotel with a view of the lower gravel roof? Not all that enticing is it? Now it is possible to enhance the look of that roof while keeping it functional. These beautification projects could include garden roofs that help the environment and save water by allowing for it to be used for plant life instead of draining off the roof. The complexity of these types of roofs requires expertise since the primary focus is to keep everything under it clean and dry. Plus the roof houses HVAC systems, venting and other much needed components of the building. So making it appealing should also mean ensuring that the roof still does the job.
Knowledge Equals Empowered
While the contractor is responsible for the installation of these roof systems, the continued maintenance will fall squarely on the shoulders of the property manager or building owner’s choice of contractor. Therefore, it is important to select a reputable commercial roofing partner who has strong experience with complex roofing installations AND maintenance. Use these tips to help you select the right commercial roofer for your complicated roofing installation:
- Know the Score – the commercial roofer should have experience with complex installations and be able to provide examples. Testimonials and referrals are even better, as you will have a clearer understanding of their involvement in the project as well as the quality of work provided.
- Safety First – obviously it is important to select a commercial roofing company with a strong safety record, but when it comes to unusual and unique installations, that safety record becomes paramount. There are too many things that could go wrong on a steeply sloped roof, or one with sharp angles, so ask for proof of the company’s safety record. It will provide peace of mind for everyone.
- Where Everybody Knows Your Name – select a commercial roofing partner who has a web-based CRM (customer relationship management) system that can track all the maintenance on your roof, and also give you access to that information 24 x 7. Detailed record keeping that includes pictures and roof maps while providing transparency of the records are both a positive that empower you to keep your guests and / or tenants safe by knowing exactly what repairs have been performed and when.
Not all commercial roofers have the same skills, focus or abilities. When it comes to maximizing your rooftops, by all means do so in a way that is safe and provides a benefit to your customers. This will include selecting a commercial roofing partner who can ensure proper maintenance of your very unique roof!
“Specialized commercial roofing systems require a unique skill set, one that will cost a bit more, but will be worth it in the long run,” said Little. “The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten!”