Why Your Commercial Roof Needs a Fall Checkup

Feb 16, 2020Blog, Commercial Roofing

By September, your commercial roof has already been through the wringer for the year. It stood up to the frigid temperatures, snow, and ice of late winter, the rain and hail of spring, and the pounding heat of summer. After all of that stress, the best thing you can do for it is to have it inspected by a professional.

a city skyline at dusk

Your commercial roof is the workhorse of your building’s envelope (the seal that keeps moisture and the elements outside where they belong). Keeping it in good condition is the key to avoiding many headaches as a building owner. Annual or semi-annual inspections by a commercial roofing specialist are the easiest way to maintain your roof’s integrity and spot problems before they start.


It’s never a BAD time to have your commercial roof inspected but there are a few reasons fall is the PERFECT time for it. First let’s talk about the year-round reasons regular inspections are the smart choice:

  • Having a professional assess the condition of your roof and recommend any necessary actions BEFORE you’re faced with a roofing emergency will allow you the time to research and choose the contractor that’s right for you, instead of being forced to accept the contractor that can get to you the soonest. Don’t put yourself in a position to make a rushed choice!
  • Having your roof assessed before serious problems occur also protects the rest of your building from damage. It’s far better to deal with the minor inconvenience of a roof repair or replacement than to also have to coordinate repairs for the interior of your building due to water damage from a leak, or worse.

As we mentioned, having roof inspections and subsequent work done in the fall comes with benefits you won’t find at other times of the year. Here’s why:


The benefits for commercial roofing in autumn mostly boil down to the weather. Fall temperatures and weather conditions are ideal for both commercial roofing materials and the professionals that install them.


Obviously, roofers have to take storm forecasts into account before beginning any work. Nobody wants their building to be caught in the rain without its hat! Less inclement weather in the fall means fewer delays to the start and completion of your project.


Being the coolest and driest season means fall is also ideal for the roofers themselves. Being able to work all day without worrying about heat exhaustion or frostbite means roofers can work faster and longer in autumn than at any other time of year. This translates to projects being completed quickly, with less inconvenience to businesses within the building.


Autumn’s moderate temperatures provide ideal conditions for commercial roofing materials, as well. Some commercial roofing systems, like EPDM, can’t be installed in temperatures below 40 degrees because the adhesives used won’t seal properly in frigid temps. If the work on your commercial roof requires adhesives, installing in autumn gives any thermal seals the time they need to fully settle and become airtight before harsh winter conditions put them to the test.


Whether the commercial roofing professional that inspects your roof recommends repairs, a commercial coating, a full replacement, or gives you the all-clear, knowing where you stand before you head into winter will give you immense peace of mind. Have you scheduled your roof’s fall check-up? If not, call us today!

9 Questions To Ask Potential Roofing Contractors 

Hiring a contractor can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of roofing contractors in  Eastern PA alone. How are you supposed to choose one? 

We can’t decide for you, but the following 9 questions will help you pick a competent contractor and avoid ending up with a bad one. 

  • Are you licensed and insured? 

It’s essential to ask about insurance for several reasons. For one thing, when a contractor has all their papers in order, it shows they care enough to follow proper procedures. 

And secondly, having proper paperwork protects both you and your roofer should anything go awry. 

The requirements to become a licensed roofer differ from state to state. In PA, contractors must meet the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act requirements and register at the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. 

Regarding insurance, PA law requires roofing companies to provide their employees with worker’s compensation insurance. Worker’s compensation protects you, as the homeowner, from being financially responsible for any injuries that might occur on your property. 

Your contractor should also have general liability insurance. This protects you from being responsible for any damage or injury to non-employees that might occur on your property, such as a bystander being injured on property damage.  

Roofing contractor insurance
  • Are you local? 

Some roofing companies like to move from town to town following storm damage. These companies may not be familiar with local laws and regulations, and if there is a problem with your roof after installation, they wouldn’t be available to help you. 

We aren’t saying this is a bad or dishonest business model. Just keep in mind that these companies won’t be around long-term.  

Hiring a local company is normally better, so ensure your contractor has a local address and phone number. Then if complications arise, they’ll be around to assess the situation. 

  • How long have you been in business? 

The longer a contractor has been in business, the better they understand their trade. And while it’s not wrong to hire a new company, it’s more risky. A roofing company that has “been around the block” understands all the ins and outs of a roofing system and will likely do a better job. 

Plus, the longer a business has been around, the more likely they are to be in business for years to come, and that means they’ll be around if you need them in the future. 

  • Do you offer a warranty on your products? 

Roofers may offer warranties for 1, 5, 10, or 25 years or even for life. Normally the roofing company’s warranty covers the work, and the materials manufacturer offers another warranty for the materials, so there are two separate warranties. 

Roof warranties typically last a year, and an extended warranty may add to the overall cost of your project. 

understanding roofing warranties
  • Do you use subcontractors? 

Some companies use subcontractors to help them get the work done. You should know if your contractor uses subcontractors for several reasons. 

  • One, you don’t want to be completely surprised and confused when trucks with an unknown company name on them show up at your place and strangers start working on your roof.
  • Two, you should ensure that all subcontractors have adequate licensing and insurance. 
  • And three, sometimes disreputable contractors neglect to pay their subcontractors, and in such a case, you could be held financially responsible. You may want to consider getting a lien waiver for the project to protect yourself from this. 
  • Do I need a full roof replacement or just repairs? 

You don’t want to fork out the money to replace your entire roof if you could fix your issues with some simple repairs. Alternatively, you don’t want to put a bandaid on a broken leg by replacing a few shingles when the problems go deeper. 

Knowing the extent of your roofing damage will allow you to make the best possible decision for your home. 

know the extent of your roof damage
  • Will you remove the old roof?

When fixing a roof, there are two options: tear off the old roof and completely replace it or install new roofing materials over the old roof. 

Roofing over old materials is faster and cheaper since you save the time and labor to tear the old roof off. However, if you go for this option, you won’t see your roofing system’s actual state as clearly. If there are underlying issues you missed, you may need to replace the roof a few years down the road anyway. In that case, the money you spent on roofing overtop would be wasted. 

An expert contractor can help you make a wise decision about repairing or replacing your roof. 

  • Do you have a cleanup policy once the installation is complete? 

Installing a roof is a messy project that leaves a lot of scraps and debris. You don’t want to be left in the lurch with a huge mess in your yard. 

Ask your contractor what their cleanup policy is before you hire them–a quality contractor will have policies in place. 

Will there be a dumpster sitting in your yard? Or do they hire a trash removal service? Some trash removal methods may have implications for your property and yard, and it’s best to ask about them so you aren’t surprised. 

  • How will you protect my property and yard during construction? 

During a construction project, there may be scraps lying around, large vehicles driving through your yard, and strange people in your home. Your contractor should have policies to protect your property, so it’s left mostly the same as before.  

Some companies enforce mandatory foot traffic patterns so your flower beds and grass don’t get trampled. Some use large magnets to pick up any nails that might have fallen in your yard so your children and pets don’t get injured. 

You should make sure your contractor is conscientious enough to treat your property like their own.  

Tips For Hiring A Competent Contractor 

Those are a few questions you should ask your roofing contractor before signing anything. As a bonus, here are a few miscellaneous tips for hiring a good roofing contractor: 

  • Ask for some references or previous jobs you could look at. Talking with previous customers and asking about their experience with a contractor is one of the best ways to learn more about them. 
  • Request roofing price estimates from several contractors in the area and compare them. That gives you a good idea of a reasonable price. 
  • Know your needs. Do you need to complete the project by a specific time at all costs? Or do you have a specialized roofing system requiring unique expertise? If so, these things affect what contractor you should hire. 

There are lots of good contractors out there! These questions and tips should help you make a good decision for your home. 

tips for hiring a roofing contractor

We hope this article has been helpful for you, and we wish you luck with your roofing project. 

If you want to hire a contractor in Eastern PA, contact us at River Run Roofing! We would be happy to help with your project. 

We specialize in residential roofing, light commercial roofing, and siding.

Give us a call today to get an estimate on your project! 

We look forward to hearing from you.