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Property Managers Weigh Maintenance Investments with ROI

EVERRROOF Property Managers
July 21, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

By Will Lorenz, EVERROOF.

EVERROOF® coatings provide a cost-effective solution for leased warehouses.

There are more than 10,000 commercial property management companies in the United States managing millions of square feet of commercial real estate. These companies serve as the owners’ maintenance representative. Part of their responsibilities is keeping property assets in good condition. They deal with a host of other issues daily, too, including controlling capital expenditures and operational costs. Balancing the efficiencies among all these tasks is not easy while also weighing the ROI of maintenance projects, including untimely and expensive roofing issues.

Since many warehouses are built with low-slope roofs and there are almost 19,000 warehouses in the U.S., you have a tremendous business opportunity. By understanding roof coatings and the benefits for a low-slope roof system, you are then able to provide a cost-effective solution to warehouse property managers.  

Roof coatings

Roof coatings protect the roof from long term weather exposure and extend the useful service life for new construction or existing roof coverings, such as BUR, metal, modified bitumen, single ply membranes and spray foam. The most common types of roof coatings are acrylic, asphalt, polyurethane and silicone. This article is focusing on the benefits and attributes of silicone.

Roofs that are in good shape but just need a renewal from age and normal wear and tear are perfect candidates for a silicone roof restoration. This coating process is rolled or sprayed on as a liquid membrane to fill in cracks, blisters and seams, and increases a roof’s resistance to the elements. A roof coating is an added waterproofing barrier, protecting the roof surface from environmental exposures and physical damage, including keeping a damaged roof membrane from potential leakage. While the process does not upgrade the insulation, it does add an extra layer of UV protection to reduce thermal absorption; this helps the building’s interior stay cooler thereby reducing energy consumption and costs.

Unlike other coating materials, silicone won’t degrade, chalk, or crack from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Silicone coatings erode much slower than other elastomeric coatings without becoming too brittle or hard.

Once cured, these moisture-cured coatings form an elastomeric and durable film, which allows the roof coating to seal around penetrations, bridge cracks, and reinforce membrane seams. Being an inorganic polymer, silicone effectively resists moisture reversion making it the ideal coating to protect against the damaging effects of ponding.

Professionally applied roof coatings extend the lifespan of the roof up to 20 years and can be re-coated every 10 or so years, saving thousands of dollars by avoiding traditional roof replacement – an important benefit to point out to your property management customers.

Return on investment

A primary goal of commercial building owners and property managers is maximizing the ROI on each property’s assets, including the roof. A silicone roof coating helps avoid an expensive roof tear off and the difference in price is significant: a silicone roof restoration costs around $2-4 per square foot, whereas a complete tear off and new roof can cost around $6-8 per square foot Additionally, a tear off exposes the roof’s contents to the elements, costs money to haul away and dump the existing roof in a landfill, and adds expenses for the new roof material and installation.

Silicone roof coating benefits

  • Extends roof life by preventing water, UV and physical damage

  • Prolongs roof system life cycle by reducing “thermal shock” stress of large temperature changes

  • Reduces installation costs by as much as 30 percent because of the straight-forward, shorter-length process, which also lessens labor costs

  • Increases energy efficiency because white roofs reflect the sun so the roof surface stays cooler. By minimizing cooling costs, peak energy usage is reduced and decreases the risk of power outages, and the strain on the electrical grid. According to Energy Star, a roof coating can cut peak cooling demand by 10-15 percent.

Since tenants pay their own electric bills, they will appreciate the lower operating costs and increased lease value. This helps ensure tenants are more satisfied and are therefore long-term renters. Additionally, many businesses are environmentally conscious and want to lease buildings from forward-thinking property management companies.

Coatings tax benefits

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a provision that reduces the overall cost associated with roofing projects. Specifically, Congress made a change to the Section 179 deduction that is important to highlight for roofing projects. The new change increases the amount of money that a business owner can deduct (up to $1 million) on income taxes as an expense in the first year rather than being considered a capital expense subject to depreciation over multiple years. Section 179 encourages qualified expenses that are investments, like maintenance and improvements to roofing. It allows commercial building owners to deduct the full price of these business purchases in the same calendar year. Under the previous rules, a roof coating was a maintenance expenditure, while a roof replacement was considered a capital expense. Please consult your tax professional for more information.

Reduced maintenance and investment protection

Astute and proactive property managers recognize that controlling unplanned maintenance expenses is the most effective way to reduce costs and tenant frustration while protecting owners’ assets. This strategy is especially valuable when applied to properties throughout the portfolio.

As you know, one of the most expensive and vulnerable assets of a commercial building is the roof. Leaks from a damaged roof are not only a nuisance but destructive to everything under the roof including tenants’ property and equipment. By counseling your property management customers– who must evaluate maintenance costs for their leased properties– about the benefits of a silicone roof coating restoration, you are helping reduce their roof maintenance expenses while providing a cost-effective solution that delivers an excellent ROI. 

Will Lorenz is Vice President of Sales with EVERROOF® and may be reached at will@generalcoatings.net or (949) 466-8552. Over his 33-years in the roofing and polyurethane foam industry, Will has received numerous awards and recognition. He is currently president of the Roof Coating Manufacturers Association, a member of NRCA and serves on the board of directors for the past two years for the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance board of directors. When not focused on roofing, Will enjoys watching the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks, spending time with his family and attending church, and taking his pit-bull mix, Mack, for long walks around his California neighborhood.

Learn more about EVERROOF in their RoofersCoffeeShop Directory.

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