Don’t just look at the initial cost (short term), be sure to look at the life cycle cost (long term).
The definition of life cycle cost is the sum of all recurring and one time (non-recurring) costs over the full lifespan, or over a specified period, of a good, service, structure, or system. It includes purchase price, installation cost, operating costs, maintenance and upgrade costs, and remaining (residual or salvage) value at the end of ownership or its useful life.
Many government agencies would make purchases based on low bid and initial cost. After realizing the higher cost in the long run due to shorter life cycles and having to replace their roofs sooner, many government agencies are now looking long-term and basing their purchases by life cycle and performance based criteria.
Be sure that the roofing system you choose has a proven record of longevity and long-term performance. There are four things to consider when looking at long-term performance and life cycle in order to ensure you are protecting your investment.
1. Material Performance
Not only performance, but also selecting the right material and system for the project at hand. This goes hand in hand with specification and design.
2. Contractor Workmanship
Even the best material is doomed to fail prematurely if the workmanship is poor and if the system is not properly installed. Job oversight by a manufacturer or consultant can help ensure better workmanship as well.
3. Specification, Design, and Details
It’s important to design and specify the most appropriate roof system for a project. The wrong design will result in a shortened service life.
4. Maintenance and Housekeeping
Proper proactive maintenance and housekeeping will help extend the service life of your roofing system. Most manufacturers recommend inspecting your roof at least twice a year and after any major weather events as mentioned in my previous blog. At that time you can identify any potential deficiencies and any immediate needs. Housekeeping such as cleaning drains, gutters, and debris from the roof surface will also go a long way to extending the service life of your roof.
These four items above are very important to the life cycle and performance of the roof. If any of these considerations are not met, the service life of your roof will be shortened and additional direct and / or non-direct cost may be incurred. It's understandable to get sticker shock when selecting a roofing system as it is a rather large financial investment, but a lower initial cost does not necessarily mean a lower lifetime cost, so be sure to take overall life cycle into consideration to choose the best roofing solution for your needs.