When deciding on what type of commercial roofing system is ideal to install or replace on your current commercial roof, there are many options to choose from. For starters, your location is as important as choosing a roofing material. Residing in a warmer place with tropical storms and high temperatures, choosing a roofing material such as metal or EPDM have very different effects. Clay tile roofing is one of the most popular roofing materials, but on a commercial building it may not be the easiest or cheapest choice. When making the decision on which material to choose on a commercial building usually price is the number one factor. So although clay tile roofing is number one the price tag is not, so the next best option is a metal roofing system.
Some other roofing material options to consider for a commercial building are EPDM, TPO, PVC, and BUR. Again always remembering your location and climate to be important factors, each of these materials have many positive attributes and some negative downsides. Most often a commercial building is very large in size and has a flat roof with no slope.
On a large commercial building having a sloped roof would be extremely expensive to build because there would need to be a massive amount of materials and the height it would reach is unrealistic. A roof with valleys, peaks, and other features require more complexity and therefore cost more.
HVAC Equipment: Most commercial buildings have HVAC and other types of equipment located in multiple areas of the roof, because it must be a secure location that is also compatible of heating and cooling, it would be near impossible to install on a sloped roof.
Solar: Becoming more and more common, solar is located on commercial rooftops and it is necessary to have a smooth flat surface. Solar panels are positioned to take the fullest advantage of the sun’s tracking across the sky, a large flat roof is perfect real estate for the large panels. A “flat” roof is never completely flat, it must have a slight slope for drainage.
Built-up Roofing (BUR) systems
The BUR system is a type of roofing that is built on the rooftop by a professional roofing contractor. Layers of synthetic material or felt are put together with hot asphalt or weathering and commonly covered with gravel or other types of stone for more protection. This protects the materials from the UV rays of the sun and other types of weathering. When installed correctly by the best local roofers these gravel surfaces will also provide a high fire rating for safety.
Modified Bitumen Membranes
This type of roofing has evolved from built-up roofing, made from factory manufactured fiberglass asphalt sheets. A “built-up” roofing roll is installed in single layer sheets and sometimes multiple layers. There are two types of modified bitumen that exist and they both have different installation methods. One method includes melting the roofing material on an approved underlayment using an open torch and mopping it down with extremely hot asphalt or a cold cement. Using an open torch can be very risky for obvious reasons including setting not wanted fires on the rooftop.
Modified Bitumen products are in their own class of commercial roofing systems that are called “single-ply.” These single plies are flexible sheets of the synthetic materials that are manufactured from different varieties of compounds that include bitumens, fillers, polymers, stabilizers, plasticizers and many other elements.
Thermoset Membrane Roofing
This is better known as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) is a rubber type of material that provides elasticity on the roof. EPDM sheets are chemically set and manufactured making them difficult to bond. These membranes cannot be softened by using heat so an adhesive is required for the installation process. These systems come in two colors, white and black. A local roofing contractor will use a fully adhered approved substrate to mechanically attach screws and plates to the roofing deck. When doing a re-roof a structural engineer should be consulted to approve the installation of 12-15lbs per sq ft.
Thermoplastic Membrane Roofing
This type of membrane is a PVC or TPO formulation first introduced in the 1960s. Different from EPDM roofing system because it does not set, only softens and “flows,” when being heated. This allows the membrane to be “hot air welded” seaming the material together, it is very light weight and typically comes in only the color white to be highly reflective of the sun’s UV rays. Using the color white results in massive energy savings, depending on the climate the commercial building is in. In warmer locations we highly suggest using white on most roofs when available.
Polyvinyl chloride roofing membrane is a popular thermoplastic choice for many commercial flat roofs. This type of roof provides top of the line chemical, oil, and fire resistance and also seamless seaming ability in almost all different types of climates. White PVC membranes are used to be highly reflective because the PVC does not cure on each rooftop, it stays weldable for many years following installation. Another major benefit to PVC over other types of roofing is that it can be installed all year round.
TPO was specially developed to combine PVC and EPDM, taking the best qualities of both roofing systems and putting them into one. TPO can have a spotty performance but it has been a fast growing system in the U.S.
Chemical Roofing coating
Choosing a chemical roof coating can be a good temporary option for commercial roofing systems. This can extend the lifespan of a low slope roof and these coatings can be installed on a large variety of existing roof surfaces. It can also be a large energy saver on expenses by reflecting the sunlight and is much less disruptive than a complete roof tear-off to re-roof.
Some ways you can improve your commercial roofing system is by scheduling regular inspections to ensure productivity. It is always wise to make sure you have an annual roof inspection done to catch any issues that may arise. There are numerous ways that a roof can become jeopardized which can lead to water intrusion and damaging the interior of the commercial building. By scheduling annual inspections you are taking preventative measures to avoid expensive repairs. Once you have had your inspection done it’s a good idea to determine the remaining life of your roof. This is important for budget reasons, so you are ot caught off guard when it is time to think about doing a re-roof which is costly.
Be sure you have a reliable upstate roofing contractor that is available for emergencies when needed. Do plenty of research when choosing a local roofing company you can trust and read reviews before hiring. Infinite Roofing of Saratoga Springs New York was built on the principles of trust and integrity. We always treat our customers with respect and give professional service only using quality roofing materials and exceptional safety practices.