Commercial roofing systems come in many forms, each built to cater to the needs of the building, the business and the owner’s budget.
The system you use on your commercial property plays a vital role in its overall health and the roof’s longevity. You also have to keep external elements like weather, foliage and animals (especially raccoons and rats) in mind as all impact its integrity, too.
This post has been prepared to help architects and building owners better understand what it takes to build a quality commercial roof.
Let’s explore some of the best roofing choices so you can decide which is best for your commercial building.
The Most Suitable Commercial Roofing Materials
Commercial properties usually have either a low slope or flat roof, which narrows down the roofing materials available. These are some of the most common (and best) options available.
Designed to be installed in a single layer, this roofing system uses ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). All are incredibly robust and flexible materials that are popular for commercial buildings because they resist cracking, peeling and other forms of weathering. The two main categories inside the single-ply roofing industry are thermoset and thermoplastic membranes.
EPDM is a chemical compound known for its toughness and elasticity. This roofing system is composed of a type of synthetic rubber compound of oil and natural gas. It creates a material that can fight exposure to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. It’s an incredibly durable and low-maintenance roofing material that’s also resistant to weathering and abrasion. This system is becoming even more desirable as it’s a sustainable and environmentally friendly option that offers resilient strength at a low cost. However, it’s necessary to have the roofing inspected at least once a year (preferably by a roofing company) to ensure its integrity from mould, mildew and debris.
This one’s composed of two layers of PVC with a polyester reinforcement scrim in between. The top-most ply includes additives that produce a UV-resistant membrane perfect for commercial roofs. The bottom ply is generally darker and consists of plasticizers that offer flexibility, making installation a breeze. PVC is a fire-resistant and durable material that can be welded to a connecting sheet to make it watertight. By welding a pre-manufactured rib to its surface, PVC roofing can be constructed to look like a standing seam roofing system. This creates a visually appealing aesthetic without burning a hole in your pocket. The membranes are also recyclable, meaning you can combine existing sheets with new ones.
This includes reinforced sheets that feature highly reflective heat-welded seams. Its single-ply membrane is composed of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber that’s polymerized with each other. The roofing is part of the thermoplastic membrane and is available in a wide range of colours, including tan, grey and white. It reflects UV radiation, helping reduce summer utility costs, and can be installed using different methods, including having it mechanically adhered to or attached with. When cared for properly, including having it professionally inspected annually, this kind of roofing can last up to 20 years. In order to prevent leaks, the sealants may need to be replaced or repaired regularly.
Also referred to as BUR, built-up roofing is made up of alternating layers of bitumen along with fabrics known as roofing felts. These are supported with either organic or fiberglass mats, and, when adhered to bitumen, result in a durable roofing membrane. When a roofing contractor refers to the number of plies on this roofing, they’re referring to the number of layers used. Due to the usage of multiple sheets, even if one layer breaks down, the others offer lasting protection. The BUR system can resist thermal shocks and high pressure, and has great tolerance for building stress. Its strength and toughness offer long-lasting durability.
This roofing system combines a unique chemical polymer with asphalt to offer temperature resistance and flexibility. It’s generally applied in several layers with varying application methods such as torch applied, cold applied, hot mopped asphalt and self-adhesive sheets. This makes it suitable for both hot and cold climates and can indeed be applied in all seasons. The seams need to be melted together to form a secure bond that protects against hail, fire and wind.
Maintenance of these roofs is pretty simple and can be handled with annual cleanings and inspections. It provides enhanced tensile strength compared to other roofing systems that see regular foot traffic. So, if you have a commercial roof that experiences a lot of activity, modified bitumen roofing is the perfect fit.
As property owners search for longer-lasting and more sustainable roofing options, the materials available continue to improve. As you can see, there are quite a few suitable options for your commercial property, ensuring you get something that’s appropriate, long-lasting and within your budget. Each has its advantages, so your choice essentially comes down to what you and your building need. Contact our experts to figure out what that is.