I was chatting the other day withRoofing Contractorcolumnist John D’Annunzio about roof maintenance.

I was chatting the other day withRoofing Contractorcolumnist John D’Annunzio about roof maintenance. John is the president of Paragon Roofing Technology (www.paragonroofingtech.net), which he founded in 1989, and he consults on new and remedial commercial projects throughout the United States and all over the world.

He stated that extending the life of the roof has never been more crucial. “The biggest trend I’m seeing is a product of the economic times we are in,” he said. “Building owners are requiring more extension of life with roof systems rather than just routine maintenance and repairing leaks. We’re finding that they just don’t have the money to do roof replacement right now, so extending the life of the roof is a top priority.”

Of course, extending the life of the roof was always a part of maintenance, said D’Annunzio, but in the past, most contractors and building owners were mostly centered on fixing leaks. Now the mindset is becoming more proactive. “Extending the life is the key focus,” he said. “We’re also seeing building owners that never had maintenance programs are starting to utilize them for just that purpose - to extend the service life.”

According to D’Annunzio, the manufacturer’s warranty can be a great tool for educating owners. “With all manufacturers’ warranties, maintenance is required,” he said. “And, with the life-extending services we provide, it really does add to the life of the roof.”

Part of his work as a consultant is to help owners develop a budget for roof management. “We do a roof evaluation, and that tells us how much remaining service life is left in that roof system,” he said. “We then ask the building owner about what type of extension they are looking for - is it 1to 2 years, or 4 to 7 years? We then determine the budget for them. We typically budget for a 1 to 2 year extension and a 7 to 10 year extension. Once we determine when we are replacing the roof, we figure out what type of materials, etc., will be installed, and that’s how we determine the budget.”

He pointed to one client’s experience as a case in point. “An auto manufacturer in Indianapolis had a facility that was 40-plus years old. They were going to be closing that plant in two years. The roof system was in very bad shape and had to be replaced, but the roof replacement cost was more than the value of the building.”

“The problem was that it had more than 100 leaks and areas with extensive deck damage, and it was still an operating manufacturing facility. So we devised a plan to fix the leaks, replace the deteriorated decking, and extend the service life of the roof system up to 3 years. And we conducted the repairs without affecting plant operations.”

D’Annunzio is the author of four books on roofing, including theRoof Management Handbook, which covers how to set up a maintenance program and conduct roof inspections. Look for his article on extending the life of the roof in the June issue ofRoofing Contractor.