DIY Mistake Leads to Total Loss of Historic Hershey Farm and Inn

A Case Study Against DIY Roofing

As more and more information becomes available online, business owners have felt increasingly empowered to take commercial building roof repair projects into their own hands. While this can sometimes be done with minimal risk, there are commercial roofing tasks that should never be done DIY by an inexperienced roofer or general maintenance person. 

While the risks of DIY commercial roofing are always significant, the results aren’t always effective. For example, a poorly executed roof repair might leave a commercial building vulnerable to moisture intrusion, leading to structural damage to the roof and a need for a premature—and expensive—roof replacement.

In the case of the Hershey Farm and Inn, a DIY commercial roof repair led to an incredibly dangerous situation that resulted in a fire that destroyed the historic building. Trying to save a small amount in repair costs by a roofing professional resulted in a multi-million-dollar loss. At Moser Roofing Solutions, we share this unfortunate event to highlight the importance of having a commercial roofing professional to protect your roof. 

Total Property Loss in Hershey Farm and Inn Fire

On January 10, 2023, emergency responders rushed to the address of Hershey Farm and Inn, a popular getaway destination located in Lancaster County’s Amish country. Firefighters were responding to reports of a blaze that was threatening to engulf the entire building. Ultimately, the fire resulted in “a multi-million dollar loss to the structure,” according to Pennsylvania State Police, as the entire building was destroyed. No one was injured by the fire.

A DIY Commercial Roofing Project Gone Wrong

According to reports, it was determined that the fire started on the roof of the building. The owner of Hershey Farm stated that an employee had been working on the business’s roof, completing a repair on the building. The roofing glue used for the project caught fire, likely from a roofing torch used to seal roofing seams, and the resulting blaze quickly got out of control.

A Dramatic Result That Should Have Been Avoided

Here at Moser Roofing Solutions, we generally recommend against DIY commercial roofing. While simple residential roofing projects (such as replacing a few shingles) can often be completed by a handy homeowner, commercial roofing systems are a completely different repair, altogether. 

Because of the complexity of these roofing systems, there’s a lot that can go wrong even during a simple repair. Those without commercial roofing experience may leave air bubbles or trap moisture under roofing membranes, fail to complete proper surface preparation before installing materials, leave gaps and unsealed seams, puncture roofing membranes, neglect to install proper drainage, and much more besides.

In this case, the result was an incredibly dangerous situation, as roofing materials caught fire during the roof repair and the entire commercial building was lost. While fairly uncommon, this should still serve as a stark reminder for why commercial roofing projects should be left to the professionals.

Always Hire a Commercial Roofing Professional

A commercial roofing contractor with experience in the material used for your flat or low-slope roof will always be the ideal candidate to repair, maintain, or replace your roofing system. While DIY can be a tempting way to save money, it’s more likely that you’ll spend more money due to errors and inefficiencies—and then hire a professional roofer to fix the problem anyway.

Commercial roofing contractors specialize in the unique and complex needs of flat and low-slope roofing systems. And when you work with a company like Moser Roofing Solutions, you get a commercial roofing partner that aims to provide the most cost-effective—and just plain effective—roofing solutions for your business.

If you’re considering hiring an amateur or cut-rate roofer for your commercial roofing project, we strongly urge you to consider the many expensive and dangerous risks and opt for an experienced professional instead. And if you’re looking for licensed and bonded commercial roofing solutions that are tailored to meet the needs and budget of your business, contact our team at Moser Roofing Solutions today.

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