Prefab Buildings Insight: Is a Roof Retrofit the Right Solution?

Prefab Buildings Insight: Is a Roof Retrofit the Right Solution?

Unlike the sloped roofs found on prefab buildings, structures with flat roofs are more likely to be prone to leaking.

Flat roofs have been around for ages. They work fine as long as they’re carefully maintained, but they can become prone to leaking issues when they’re not. If you find yourself in this situation, it might be possible to retrofit your roof so that it looks and performs like the ones found on modern prefab buildings.

Like any roofing system, a flat roof is designed to provide a few basic functions:

  • Prevent water infiltration
  • Protect contents of building interior
  • Contribute to structural integrity

As long as a roof remains watertight, it will keep the elements at bay. However, as soon as the membrane of a flat roof fails, it will likely result in a leak. That’s because water on flat roofs tends to pool due to a lack of runoff.


Issues with Built-up Roofs

Upon discovering a flat roof that’s leaky, your first reaction might be to simply repair it and move on. It’s an obvious conclusion, but it might not yield the best result.

Most flat roofs are constructed using a built-up roofing method. It involves applying multiple layers to create a water-resistant barrier capable of providing protection from the elements. However, there are a number of concerns with this approach:

  • Requires ongoing maintenance
  • Shorter lifespan than other roofing types
  • Inability to discharge rainfall and snow loads


It’s All Downhill with a Sloped Roof

When faced with the prospect of repairing or replacing a flat roof, it might be worth considering a roofing retrofit as an alternative. Many owners of commercial and industrial enterprises find this to be a viable long-term solution for a number of reasons: 

  • Greatly increases your roof’s ability to shed water and snow
  • Metal roofs typically last longer than built-up roofs
  • Similar to prefab metal buildings, they require less maintenance
  • Reduced operating costs

When properly installed, a retrofitted metal roof will last for decades. On an existing building, it should perform for the duration of the building’s expected lifespan.


How Does the Retrofit Process Work?

The process for retrofitting a flat roof is actually quite simple. In essence, all you’re doing is installing trusses and other framework on top of the existing roof to create the desired slope type. Several popular options include:

  • Single slope
  • Gabled
  • Hipped

With the framework is in place, you can then finish the roofing system like you would for prefab buildings. Additional options you might want to consider include:

  • Insulated roofing panels for increased energy efficiency
  • Skylights for daylighting
  • Choice of colours and metal panel coatings for enhanced visual appeal


To learn more about the benefits of daylighting, read our post: THE BENEFITS OF USING DAYLIGHT IN STEEL BUILDINGS.


Are you looking for a steel building company that specializes in designing and erecting prefab buildings? If so, call Metal Structure Concept to discuss your project.