Commercial roofs represent a large amount of the maintenance and repair budget on a commercial building. That is why it’s important to have a long-term plan for roof maintenance and knowledge of the cost of a new roof installation for budget planning purposes.
Roofing costs can vary significantly based on building type, roof material, and other factors. But this guide can help explain averages for commercial roofing cost to help building owners budget for the future.
Average Cost of Commercial Roof Installation
The average price ranges below are shown for the different types of commercial roof systems most commonly installed.
Average Cost of Single-Ply Membrane Roof
Single-ply membrane systems are the most common type of commercial roof type installed in the 2020’s. There are three main types of single-ply commercial roof materials mentioned below. Each of these can protect your building for up to 30 years if properly installed and proactively maintained.
- EPDM – average cost of $12-$16 per square foot. EPDM is a rubber-based single-ply membrane that has passed the test of time on many commercial buildings. EPDM can be affixed with mechanical fastening (screws), bonding adhesive, or ballasted using stone or pavers.
- TPO – average cost of $11-$15 per square foot. TPO is a thermo-plastic membrane. The seams are welded together using hot-air welding machines for extreme waterproofing. TPO roofs can be mechanically attached or adhered with roofing adhesive, but are not commonly installed with ballast.
- PVC – Average cost of $12-$15 per square foot. PVC is similar in appearance and installation technique to TPO. One distinction is some PVC manufacturers create custom-fabricated membrane templates for specific building as opposed to a common 1,000 square foot roll of membrane that is field-fabricated.
Average Cost of Built-Up Roof
Built-up roofs are one of the oldest styles of roofing that is still used today. A professionally installed and well-maintained built-up roof can last 50 years. But if installed incorrectly or neglected over time, they may not make it past 20 years. There are two main types:
- Built-up with gravel – average cost of $10-$14 per square foot. Commonly known as “tar and gravel” roofs, these roofs have layers of felt paper and asphalt. Usually installed in a 4-ply minimum system, then covered with gravel to protect the asphalt from damaging UV rays.
- Built-up with cap sheet – average cost of $11-$14.50 per square foot. As an alternative to gravel, a built-up roof can be covered with a granulated cap-sheet that appears similar to a modified bitumen (see below) roof system.
Average Cost of Modified Bitumen Roof
Modified bitumen roof systems became popular in the 1980s and began to take market share away from built-up systems. That is because they require less material and are simpler to install, but can have the same roof life expectancy. There are a few variations of modified bitumen:
- SBS Modified Bitumen – is a rubber-modified asphalt rolled roofing product. It is installed in two layers, one being a base sheet providing primary waterproofing, then topped by a granulated cap sheet for UV protection. SBS modified bitumen can be installed as self-adhering (peel-and-stick), or torch-applied.
- Self-adhering SBS modified bitumen systems cost between $9.50-$14.50 per square
- Torch-down SBS modified bitumen systems cost between $11-$15 per square foot.
- APP Modified Bitumen – is a plastic-modified asphalt rolled roofing product. It is usually installed as a 3-ply system, and almost always torch-down applied. APP roofs are more common in areas that do not have cold temperatures under 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Torch-down APP modified bitumen systems cost between $12.50-$16 per square foot.
Average Cost of Metal Roof
Metal roofing on commercial structures is one of the best ways to keep the property safe and dry for multiple decades. A well-designed, installed, and maintained metal roof can last 50 years or more.
There are three main types of metal roofs on commercial properties:
- Standing seam metal – mechanical seam lock – average cost of $13-$17 per square foot. Mechanical seam roofs are common on commercial properties with a more shallow pitch, typically under 4:12. The seams are hand-locked with a special metal roofing tool, making them very effective water entry barriers.
- Standing seam metal – snap lock – average cost of $12-15.50 per square foot. Snap lock metal roofs are more common on steeper slope roofs above a 4:12 pitch.
- Exposed fastener metal roof – average cost of $10.50-$14.50 per square foot. Exposed-fastener systems have lifted ribs and anti-siphon grooves at the seams to prevent water entry. Like mechanical seam systems, they are common on shallow-pitch industrial roofs.
Average Cost of Roof Coatings
An alternative to replacing the roof is coating it with one of several material options. Not all roofs can be coated, but those that do can extend the life of their roof by 20+ years for a significant cost savings over a roof replacement.
- Silicone roof coatings – average cost of $5-$9 per square foot. Silicone coatings are great for commercial and industrial roofs, as they are un-damaged by UV rays that eat away other materials. And silicone can withstand unlimited amounts of water ponding – a common factor on commercial roofs.
- Acrylic roof coatings – average cost of $4-$8 per square foot. Acrylic coatings can work well if there is a slight pitch built into the roof to promote natural drainage. Acrylics are another good option for UV resistance.
- Eco-plastic – average cost of $4-$10 per square foot. Some innovative coating products, like Castagra Ecodur, are naturally derived and eco-friendly. This type of coating adheres incredibly well to all substrates, and can withstand pressure from UV rays and ponding water.
- Urethane and rubberized coatings – average cost of $5-$11 per square foot. These options are less-frequently used but may be the right choice for certain property types.
What Factors Affect The Cost of A Commercial Roof Installation?
As noted above, there are large price ranges for each type of roof material. Several important factors will determine if a given roof installation cost will be on the low end, middle, or high end of those ranges. Those factors are:
Condition of Existing Roof
If the existing roof is in poor condition, it can add labor cost to safely remove and dispose of it before the new roof is installed. And, if there are multiple layers of roofing present, crews must take time and care to remove and haul all layers.
Size and Complexity of the Roof
Larger, open roofs may have lower per-square-foot roof installation costs due to the simplicity afforded to the roofing crew. However, smaller roofs with many penetrations, curbs, and corners can be more expensive due to the amount of cuts and angle changes the crew must include in the installation process.
Access to the Roof
Many commercial properties have simple, built-in roof access. However, some buildings may require elevator access, and others may not have a location to put a dumpster for debris. These factors affect the cost associated with loading material, removing old roofing, and daily crew accessibility. All of these factors can drive roofing expenses up or down.
Type of Commercial Roof Warranty Selected
In commercial roofing, you may have warranty options when you have a new roof installed. Those warranty options include:
- Manufacturer’s product warranty – usually low/no cost, the manufacturer guarantees it’s product is free from defects that would affect roof performance. Coverage is for the cost of affected materials only.
- Manufacturer’s full system warranty – otherwise known as “no dollar limit” (NDL) warranty. These warranties usually cost $0.15-$0.30 per square foot and extends coverage to full material and labor expense to fully repair or replace any components that fail during the warranty period.
- Contractor workmanship warranty – sometimes a no-cost warranty is provided to assure the customer that the roof was installed according to industry standards and manufacturer specifications. Other times (depending on the contractor) there may be a cost added for longer workmanship warranty coverage.
Commercial roofing and industrial roofing projects are highly customized to the needs of each individual property. Understanding those needs and including all factors into the installation plan are what determine the final cost of the commercial roof installation. When you are ready to get started on your project, contact the team at Sol Vista Roofing.