It May Be Time to Reroof Your Multifamily Apartment Complex

Should you replace your roof at a specific time, or when you start having problems?

The roofs that cover buildings in multifamily residential condominiums, apartments, or townhouses do an important job in shielding all inside from weather, contaminants and items falling from the sky. When to replace the roofs or just patch them can be an effective strategy, affecting your budget dramatically.

Here’s when your roof may need replacing:

Your roofs are old

The most obvious reason to consider replacing your roof is that it’s old. However, if you’ve maintained the roof through the years through regular maintenance and responded to any problem areas immediately, the roof may last past its expected lifetime. Don’t assume you need to replace your roof because the warranty has expired.

That being said, if some or all the roofs in your complex haven’t been well-maintained or are experiencing any of the problems below, they won’t last as long as they’re supposed to.

The contractors may have made mistakes or cut corners without your knowledge. If they left out any materials or didn’t follow installation specs, including the manufacturer’s recommendations, your roofs could come apart prematurely. The only way to know for sure is to have them inspected by a qualified contractor.

You’re spending thousands annually on repairs

Removing your old shingles and installing the new ones takes less time than repairing those shingles every year.

Collect the required information from your records and prepare a budget with expenses you’ve had over the past several years. You will need to determine the cost of repairing anything inside the units that was overwhelmingly damaged by the water — ceilings, walls, cabinets, and any household items you had to repair or replace.

Then compare what you would spend renovating roofs over several years to buying a better kind of roof that doesn’t need much maintenance. If, for example, you spend $15-25K every year repairing roofs, money that can go toward a much better roofing system that won’t leak.

If you’re in a situation where you’re having to spend a lot of money on roof repairs and maintenance, it might be a good idea to have them inspected by a qualified third party.

You see signs of deterioration

Roof problems should be anticipated and repaired before too much damage is done. This is especially true for residential properties, because it’s not as easy as many people think to keep up with even basic maintenance on a home.

Bald spots usually occur with lower-tier asphalt shingles — sometimes the manufacturing process won’t embed the granules well enough. Cupped or curling shingles are usually caused by too much moisture or an improperly vented attic. And if pieces of shingles have blown off, it’s likely the adhesive is failing.

If roofs are in different states of failure, consider doing them in phases. Replace the roofs showing failure next, with the remaining roofs the following year. While it is economically beneficial to reroof all offices at the same time, a phased approach may work more efficiently for your budgetary needs. You want to update the appearance of your facility.

Improve Curb Appeal

It can be remarkable the difference new roofs can make in the appearance of a complex. This is especially true if your current roofs are lower-tier, fading, or in a color that’s mismatched or detracts from the rest of the property. With 3-tab shingles, changes to roof appearance can happen pretty quickly after installation. If your roofs have started to experience telegraphing over time, which gives them a wavy or rolling look and can be common with 3-tab shingles, they’ll be perceived as old and shabby and can devalue the property even though the roofs may still be performing adequately.

If your condo or townhome owners want to increase curb appeal and market value or compete with other properties that look refreshed and more upscale, upgrading the roofs can be an important step in that direction. The huge number of asphalt shingles options available now give you an opportunity to transform your buildings visually while getting a better roofing system that won’t need much maintenance for many years. The transformation of properties built in the 1960s and 1970s is often the most extreme.

Re-roof Your Multi-family Complex

When you’re planning to make improvements to the property — such as painting the buildings, repaving the parking lots and driveways, adding canopies, or upgrading the landscaping, lighting or signage — it’s a good time think about the roofs. Replacing the roofs in conjunction with your other improvements can have a multiplier effect.

If you’re planning to make additions to the buildings themselves or adding new buildings to the community, you’ll need to choose coordinating roofing materials so your property looks good holistically. Sometimes you can match the existing roofs exactly but other times it’s best to choose the same type of shingle in another color (this will keep from calling attention to fading roof color).

Other times re-roofing the existing buildings so all the roofs match may make the most sense. Each situation is different but since you will have to replace the existing roofs at some point, you’ll get economies of scale if the next time you have to re-roof you can do everything at once. Remember, it’s more efficient for your roofing contractor to do all of the roofs at one time.