Commercial Roof Replacement Cost

Today’s blog post takes a close look at something of interest to building owners and managers—commercial roof replacement costs. Replacing a roof can be one of the biggest capital expenditures a building owner or facility manager makes. This post builds on one of earlier posts about commercial roof maintenance costs.

roof-replacementHow much does a commercial roof replacement cost? One study reports on a roof with average dimensions of 10,000 square feet, a new commercial roof can cost over $42,500, or over $4.25 per square foot. That study also found 80% of the roofs tracked had been replaced before they needed to be.

In another case, the roofing and pavement consulting firm Benchmark presented a cost range from retail roofing projects it has examined. Benchmark reported on a majority of retail roofing projects it has looked at, roof replacement costs generally range from $3.50 to $6.50 per square foot. However, the cost depends on whether a project was aiming for roof recovery or consisted of a complete tear-off and replacement job.

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Other sources have reported commercial roof replacement costs can vary from $7.00 to $12.00 per square foot. In all of these cases, there is one critical thing to keep in mind. Using an average commercial roof replacement cost for estimating a single project can be problematic, since project costs can vary depending upon labor inputs or project complexity. However, using it to budget for a portfolio of multiple property holdings is far more valuable.

Commercial Roof Replacement Costs over Time

commercial-roof-cost-overtimeOne well-known study looked at commercial roof replacement costs over time. The study drew upon data collected over a space of 9 years. The study concentrated on lifecycle costs for low slope commercial roofs that were chosen from among 100,000 square meters of roofing on 38 buildings owned by Carnegie Mellon University (or 1.08 million square feet of commercial roofing on 38 buildings, approximately). This overall roofing network ranged from newly-installed roofing systems to roofing systems over 50 years old. The entire network was valued at between $22 million and $32 million, when an average roof replacement cost of $215 to $323 per square meter (costs accumulated over 9 years) was used.

All of the buildings were located within Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which made them subject to the same climate conditions and some other variables. All of the roofs had insulation installed under them that met the requirements set by local climate conditions.

The low slope commercial roofs were chosen because they were the most prone to leaking problems. The researchers also said low slope EPDM and SBS modified bitumen roofs could be considered representative of the data used in this study.

Carnegie Mellon University Roof Study Results

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From July 1998 to December 2006, the university’s database for the entire roof network showed 1,781 roof leak-related work and repair records. It came out to an average of 200 leaks per year or 5.2 leaks on each building annually.

In terms of 2006 dollars, the average roof replacement cost came out to $269 per square meter over 9 years, or $4.5 million spent on replacement of 16,900 square meters over a 9-year stretch. From 1998 to 2006, roof replacement costs, termed “owner capital costs”, ranged from $0 to approximately $1.62 million, or a total of $4.12 million for the entire time span.


The variances in roof replacement costs show the importance of thinking about commercial in terms of lifecycle. Among other things, roof budgeting relies upon two primary factors: the roof’s service life expectancy and how much square footage the roof’s dimensions consist of.

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As the first study indicated, it would seem many commercial roofs are replaced before they need be. In terms of the first roof’s protection value and additional benefits being cut off early, those translate into thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in sunk costs.

There is a cost-effective, life-extending option that building owners or facility managers can opt for. Roof restoration, or a process in which liquid-applied roofing products are installed over an existing commercial roof, can extend an existing roof’s life for years, if not decades, and help save thousands over the long run. In this process, the liquid-applied roofing products refer to commercial roof coatings, or coating products that are formulated to create a new, seamless roof membrane over an existing roof substrate. Because it is a coating process, roof restoration usually does not require tear-off costs or heavy expense burdens associated with commercial roof recovering or re-roofing projects.

Conklin Products Offer Great Roof Restoration Solutions

roof-replacement-studyTo deliver the best value to building owners and facility managers, Choice Roof Contractor Group uses Conklin roof restoration products. These products have been installed on over 2 billion square feet of roofing in the United States. On top of that, they have been a trusted choice by building owners, facility managers, architects, building engineers, and other construction experts and professionals for over 40+ years. When they are applied, on top of the completely seamless and fully adhered roofing membrane they form, Conklin roofing products leave behind a white, highly-reflective roof surface.

In a nutshell, here are what Conklin products can do for you:

  • Extend an old roof’s life for another 20 years or longer (many coating products only extend 10-15 years)
  • Save up to 50% on avoided commercial roof replacement costs
  • Backed by non-prorated warranty for up to 18 years
  • Certified by third party organizations to resist hurricane-force winds, hail, UV-ray deterioration, thermal shock, and more
  • Reflects up to 85% of the sun’s rays, making them cool a roof surface up to 80° and save up to 15% on annual energy costs (or even more, especially with an SPF roofing system)
  • Strengthened building structural integrity with little-to-no deadweight added
  • Easily applied during business hours without operations having to be shut down
  • So much more

To learn more about the systems our members use, please call us at 800-670-5583. We would happy to tell you how a Conklin restoration system can bring much-needed life to your roof for years.


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Written by: Jonathan Keim
Jonathan Keim
Jonathan founded the group 10+ years ago. He brings a wealth of experience in commercial roofing that spans from marketing, sales, product support and much more. In addition to connecting building owners to reputable service providers throughout the nation, he has helped more than 300 contractors expand in the commercial roofing industry.