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A Roof Replacement Guide For Bar And Restaurant Owners

Posted on June 10, 2024

bar and restaurant roof replacement

Wisconsin is home to some of the most popular bars and restaurants that have been open for years. For many bars especially, there is a somewhat historic charm and appeal that is a part of the draw for customers. However, even properties with classic looks and nostalgia need to ensure that fundamental safety standards are met.

The roof plays a crucial role in protecting your property, employees, customers, and inventory from the elements, and since many bars have been running for decades, the roof may have reached the end of its life span and begun to wear down. When that time comes, you’ll want to balance preserving your bar’s beloved ambiance with meeting modern building codes and safety requirements.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the considerations involved with replacing the roof on your bar or long-standing restaurant. We’ll cover everything from the signs that it’s time for a new roof to selecting the right materials. 

Bar Roof Replacement
Bar Roof Replacement

Signs Your Bar Or Restaurant Needs A New Roof

The first step is recognizing when it’s time to replace your existing roof. Some telltale signs include:

Age – Be it pitched roofing systems or flat roofs, nothing lasts forever. Most roofs last 20 to 25 years. If yours is approaching, or reached this age, it’s likely nearing the end of its useful life and you should start to look at replacement options. 

Leaks -Water stains on ceilings or walls indicate that there are leaks that need to be fixed right away. If leaks keep occurring, even after significant repairs, it means your roofing system is failing.

Membrane Cracks or Tears – The roofing membrane or surface layer of material is critical for shedding water on a flat roof. If you see cracks, splits, or tears forming in the membrane, it could mean that the waterproofing benefits of these membranes are compromised, allowing for moisture infiltration.

Bubbling or Blistering – When air or moisture gets trapped below the surface, it can cause bubbling or blistering patches to form. This accelerates deterioration and makes leaks more likely to occur in those vulnerable areas.

Key Considerations For Your Restaurant Roof Replacement 

Once you’ve determined it’s time for a new roof, there are several key factors to take into account as you plan the project:

Size Of Your Restaurant’s Roof: The size of your roof and other considerations such as if there are skylights, HVAC systems, or other equipment, will impact labor costs. The more complex the roofing system, the longer it takes to install.

Roofing Materials: The materials you select will be one of the biggest drivers of the overall cost. EPDM roofs tend to be the most economical choice, while materials like TPO, and PVC are also good alternatives for bars, but can increase the expense of the bar roof replacement. 

Roof Deck Condition: If the plywood or boards underneath the old roofing system need replacement, that will add to the project’s final cost. Your roofer should inspect them during the quote process.

Permit Requirements:  Most towns and cities require permits for roofing work. Permits add to the cost but ensure the work is inspected and completed properly. 

Timing and Accessibility: Scheduling will be critical if your bar or restaurant has little to no ability to close during the roof replacement. Factors like avoiding peak business hours and customer accessibility will come into play.

Skilled Labor: Using an experienced, reputable roofing contractor is vital. Their expertise will ensure the job is done right and prevent costly issues down the road.

Minimizing Disruptions During The Roofing Process

A roof replacement is bound to cause some level of disruption and noise that you’ll need to manage and mitigate. A few key tips:

  • Build a timeline and coordinate the schedule with your contractor to have work done during slower periods if possible.
  • Arrange for parking and staging of materials and equipment in a low-impact area away from main entrances and patios.
  • Post signage for customers about the work, any re-routing or temporary entrance closures.
  • Develop a safety plan if you’ll remain open, like roping off areas and monitoring for debris.
  • Be prepared for noise from tear-off, material delivery, and installation. Consider adjustments to music volume or seating layouts.

With proper planning and your contractor’s support, the disruption can be minimized. Just keep in mind that there will be some temporary inconvenience as your new roof is installed.

Starting The Process: Selecting The Right Roofing System

When it comes to materials for a flat roof for your bar or restaurant, you have several options to consider:

EPDM Rubber Roofs: 

EPDM Rubber Roof
EPDM Rubber Roof

Ethylene propylene diene monomer, or EPDM, is the most popular choice for restaurant roof replacements. It is a durable material that is made from synthetic rubber compounds that give it flexibility and allow it to last 30 to 40 years. It’s affordable and provides excellent water, UV, and ozone resistance.

  • EPDM roofs are available in black and white colored roofing rolls
  • EPDM rubber roofs can last for more than 30 to 40 years
  • They are quite durable and resistant to the elements

TPO/PVC Membranes: 

TPO Membranes
TPO Membranes

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are heat-weldable membranes that are highly reflective, energy-efficient, and fire resistant. These are relatively newer on the market, with a 20 to 30-year life expectancy.

  • Both TPO and PVC roofs are known for energy efficiency and durability.
  • They’re both highly resistant to UV radiation and chemical exposure.
  • TPO membranes are typically white, which helps reflect sunlight and reduce cooling costs, however, PVC roofs are available in multiple colors, 

Modified Bitumen: 

Modified Bitumen
Modified Bitumen

A very common and cost-effective commercial flat roof option, this has been in use for quite some time now. “Torch-down” or peel-and-stick bitumen rolls can achieve a 20-30 year lifespan with proper maintenance.

  • This type of roofing is asphalt-based and reinforced with polyester or fiberglass.
  • It’s durable and easy to install, making it a popular choice for flat roofs.
  • Modified bitumen roofs can be heat-welded or cold-applied, providing flexibility in installation methods.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR): 

Built-up roofs consist of multiple layers of asphalt and reinforcement fabrics. It’s a traditional and time-tested option known for its durability and longevity. BURs are very rugged and can last 30+ years, however installation can be tricky. 

Replacing the roof of your bar is a long-term decision, which is why you should be particular when selecting materials, consider long-term costs like maintenance needs, and also how much you can spend for the replacement project. Your roofing contractor can advise on the pros and cons of each flat roof option.

How Prestige Roofing LLC Can Help You Improve The Roof Of Your Bar/Restaurant

Roof Replacement
Roof Replacement

With over 50 years of combined experience, Prestige Roofing LLC has built a reputation as the premier commercial roofer for bars, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses. We’ve successfully completed countless flat roof installations and replacements for establishments just like yours.

Just recently, we installed a new EPDM roofing system on Joe’s Bar in Stevens Point, and the entire team was very impressed with our services. 

Our expertise with flat roofing systems ensures we understand the unique challenges these buildings face, from heavy foot traffic to severe weather exposure. We’ll work closely with you to select the optimal roofing solution that maximizes durability and minimizes lifetime costs and disruption.

Our crews are all fully trained, in-house employees. This allows us to completely control quality and maintain a safety-first approach on every job site. Plus, we’ll take care of everything from permits to material disposal and cleaning up when your flat roof is complete. We make the entire process seamless so you can stay focused on running your business!  Whether you need emergency flat roof repairs or a full roof replacement, the Prestige Roofing LLC team has you covered. Contact us today at (920) 791-0414 for a free assessment and estimate. With our knowledge and customer-first service, we’ll ensure your new flat roof exceeds expectations, and your restaurant is up and running again!