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Building Northeast Wisconsin Since 1963

Cost of Roof Maintenance: Repair vs. Retrofit vs. New Replacement

 The difference between an old metal roof and new metal roof can be seen on a large industrial building in a wooded setting.

Pre-engineered steel structures with metal roofs gained immense popularity with building owners in the 1970s. Most often, the type of roof installed on these early buildings were what is commonly referred to as “screw down” metal roofs. They have provided long-lasting weather protection due to their durability and resilience and were workhorses in many different climate environments.

Fast forward 50 years to today. Screw down metal roofing is starting to show signs of wear and tear, signaling the end of its useful life. With leaks occurring more frequently and lots of buckets on floors to catch drips after it rains, building owners are finding themselves in uncharted territory: budgeting on a yearly basis for roof repairs that aren’t going away. 

They’re tasked with weighing the long and short-term costs of roof maintenance, which includes deciding whether to replace versus retrofit versus repair their failing metal roofs. Repair will likely cost less in the short-term, but in the long run, replacement often wins the day.

What to Consider When Budgeting for Roof Maintenance

Budgeting for roof repairs can be tricky. Many factors play into what should be considered for a yearly roof maintenance budget, such as roof area, age, condition, and items mounted on the roof amongst others. Once you start spending money on yearly repairs and maintenance, though, your budget will only increase year over year.

When it comes to budgeting for repairing, retrofitting, or replacing a roof, here are the long and short-term costs to consider.

A Comparison of the Costs and Benefits

There are several different costs and benefits to consider as you compare roof repair, roof retrofitting and roof replacement.

Consider the costs of ongoing roof repair:

  • The roof will continue to degrade until a replacement is inevitable. Money spent on repairs may be wasted.
  • Materials underneath the roof surface can also get damaged and will need to be replaced.
  • The resale value of the building may decrease.
  • Annual roof inspection and maintenance is required, taking up time and resources which may be required elsewhere.

If you choose to retrofit an existing roof, here are some of the costs and benefits you may not be aware of:

  • A large capital investment is needed upfront to retrofit the roof, but it can be cost-effective as a long-term solution.
  • Retrofitting may ensure a higher resale value of the building.
  • Money allocated to roof maintenance can be reallocated to a roof retrofit and your building maintenance team will not have to plan for scheduled maintenance in the short-term. 

If you choose to replace your roof, here are some of the costs and benefits to consider:

  • Roof replacement requires a large capital investment, but provides peace of mind and long-term value.
  • Replacement gives the opportunity to add roof insulation, which increases the energy efficiency of the building and lowers energy costs.
  • Replacing a roof often results in a higher resale value of the building.
  • Choosing to replace a roof and upgrading the efficiency may also allow your business to qualify for local energy rebates from your energy provider.
  • Money allocated to roof maintenance can be allocated to other areas of the business because a new roof will require minimal ongoing maintenance.

Take a look at this short before-and-after video that shows what you can expect when you select a new metal roof installation with A.C.E Building Service.



One thing you can’t budget for is where and when the next leak will occur. Will it rain over your newly installed piece of multi-million-dollar equipment? Or when you’re hosting an important new business meeting in your conference room? Ouch.  

It’s hard to pin down these possibilities, but it’s much easier to eliminate them from happening by reviewing the possible solutions with an experienced commercial and industrial construction service provider.

No matter what kind of existing conventional roof you have, you can eliminate leaks with a Butler slope build-up retrofit roof system. Learn more now. 

The MR-24 Metal Re-Roof System by A.C.E. Building Service and Butler Manufacturing

An investment in your building’s roof today will provide you decades of little-to-no maintenance and peace of mind every time a storm is in the forecast.

A.C.E. and Butler Manufacturing have the solution for flat roofs, rubber roofs, asphalt roofs, pitched roofs, old metal roofs — any roof in need of replacement. The Butler MR-24 Metal Re-Roof System by Butler Manufacturing is a fast, affordable, architecturally appealing, environmentally friendly, longest-lasting, and the most complete standing seam roofing system on the market.

In most cases, the MR-24 system can be installed directly over your existing roof with seamless integration into your existing structures, eliminating tear-off costs and minimizing interruption to your daily business activities.

See the ridge transition process in action in this short and information video.

As your local Butler Builder, A.C.E. Building Service is an experienced construction partner and will help you meet your facility’s needs, from budgeting and expert Butler building design consultation to preconstruction services and complete construction project management.

Common Questions

“What other factors come into play when discussing budget?”

If you don’t have long-term plans for the building, it might make more sense for you to continue with a repair and maintenance schedule. However, if you want to protect your building as an asset, making a larger investment upfront in roof retrofit and replacement will make more sense over the long haul.

“Do you know the actual cost difference between future repair and maintenance versus a new roof now?”

That’s really hard to quantify because so many factors play into the decision. You need to weigh the type of roof, the surface area, and the cost of regular maintenance against the cost of replacement and then establish a rate of return. Every roofing project is unique and should be vetted with specific circumstances in mind.

“Do most building owners already know that they need a retrofit or a new roof, or do they come to you for suggestions?”

Sometimes they’re pretty sure about their options for roofing, and other times they don’t know their options and are looking for guidance.

Many times if someone is looking for roof work, they turn to a roofing contractor. However, not all roofing contractors know how to properly repair or replace a pre-engineered metal roof. Because we have been building Butler pre-engineered structures for decades, we know all the tips, tricks, and best practices to offer a superior solution for their metal roofing problem over other retrofit and re-roofing options.

By their very nature, built-up or single-ply roof systems require constant maintenance to remain watertight. But there is a better option. Learn more about our re-roofing system now.

“How often do building owners tell you they just need repairs when they actually need a new roof or a retrofit roof? And vice versa?”

At A.C.E., we will never recommend replacement to anyone if simple repairs can fix the problem and offer years of continued life from the existing roof.

Our advice is to get a roof inspection done by a well-qualified and trustworthy professional. Roof inspections should be complementary and provide an assessment of existing conditions with a description of the problem areas, the dimensions, and photos.

Then do your homework. Ask for references, project examples, and most importantly, ask for information about the roofing product. Samples, performance data, and proof of competency of the process are all important vetting criteria to consider.

“Can you provide an example of a successful A.C.E.-Butler MR-24 metal roofing project?”

The first MR-24 roof that A.C.E. installed was in 1975. Gerald Ford was President of the United States, a gallon of gas cost $.57, and a hamburger would set you back about 25 cents.

That 46-year-old roof is still in place today and has never been repaired or replaced. As of 2020, the roof is also not showing any signs for concern. If that isn’t a testament to an excellent, long-lasting, and worth-every-penny roof, we don’t know what is!

The beauty of the MR-24 system is that very little about it has changed since its introduction. The already great transitions and details have been improved and perfected, and Butler now offers a re-roof system for its builders like A.C.E. to retrofit the roofs of existing buildings of all sizes, shapes, and types.

Give Us a Call!

A.C.E. is here to help you optimally design your new manufacturing facility or facility expansion. We design and build with your timeline, budget, employees, integrity, and future in mind!

Our customers will attest that our ability to listen carefully to their needs has kept them coming back to A.C.E. as their preferred general contractor. Integrity, trust, fairness, honesty, reliability, responsiveness, and respect — these are the qualities to which we remain true.

Are you interested in learning more about our services or our partnership with Butler Manufacturing? Call us today or complete the project consultation form. We look forward to hearing from you!

Topics: Reroof, Services, Building Maintenance

Written by Chris Herzog

Chris is a graduate of The University of Wisconsin - Platteville where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. In addition, he is a LEED accredited professional (LEED-AP). He began his career with A.C.E. in 2005 as an estimator/project manager and later held the responsibilities of business development and marketing before assuming the role of President in 2021. In addition to the overall management and leadership of the company, he continues to build relationships with clients, serves at the board level in several community organizations, and ensures that the company's core values are upheld and at the center of every project.