Selecting the proper roofing material for your commercial building is an important choice that impacts not just the strength and lifespan of your roof but also the general maintenance expenses and energy efficiency of your company. With various materials available, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks, the selection process can be quite overwhelming. This guide aims to simplify this task by providing an overview of the top commercial roofing materials, along with their pros and cons.
Built-Up Roofing (BUR) Systems
Commonly known as BUR, built-up roofing is a popular choice for flat or low-slope roofs. The finished membrane consists of layers of asphalt or coal tar sandwiched between reinforcing fabrics. The number of layers incorporated provides flexibility in the level of durability and, therefore, the lifespan of the roof.
For example, a commercial building located in an area prone to severe weather conditions might benefit from a BUR system with multiple layers to ensure maximum durability. However, the installation process can be time-consuming and disruptive, which should be considered if your business operations could be affected.
With its versatility, metal roofing can be used on both low-slope and steep-slope roofs. It’s available in various materials like steel, aluminum, copper, and tin, each offering different levels of strength, cost, and aesthetic appeal. Metal roofs are durable, fire-resistant, and reflect heat, making them energy efficient.
A business aiming for a modern aesthetic might opt for a sleek steel or aluminum roof. On the other hand, a business located in a coastal area might choose copper for its resistance to saltwater corrosion. It may cost more to install metal roofing, but its longevity and low maintenance requirements can offset the initial cost. With years of experience in providing commercial roofing solutions, Mighty Dog Roofing in Bixby has the expertise to assist businesses in selecting the best metal roofing material for their particular needs.
Thermoset Membrane Roofing (EPDM)
Thermoset membranes, such as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), are commonly used for low-slope commercial roofs. In addition to their durability, flexibility, and ease of installation, they are also known for their versatility. EPDM roofs are resistant to UV radiation and harsh weather conditions, making them long-lasting.
Consider a business located in an area with high sun exposure; an EPDM roof would be a good choice due to its UV resistance. However, its black color can absorb heat, potentially raising cooling costs in hot climates unless a reflective coating is applied.
Thermoplastic Membrane Roofing (TPO & PVC)
For commercial roofing, thermoplastic membranes, particularly TPO (thermoplastic olefin) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), are gaining popularity. They are resistant to UV rays, chemical exposure, and high winds. These roofs are also highly reflective, contributing to energy efficiency.
For instance, a commercial building housing a restaurant might opt for a PVC roof due to its resistance to fats and oils released in the air from the kitchen. While thermoplastic membranes are generally more expensive than EPDM, they can offer superior performance and energy savings.
Also known as living roofs, green roofs are an innovative and eco-friendly option. They involve growing vegetation on the rooftop, which provides insulation, absorbs rainwater, and helps reduce air pollution. They also offer aesthetic and psychological benefits, creating a pleasant environment for employees and visitors.
A business aiming to improve its environmental footprint might consider a green roof. However, this type of roof requires robust structural support due to the weight of the soil and plants, and it involves ongoing maintenance costs related to watering and caring for the plants.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
Similar to BUR, modified bitumen roofing uses modifiers to improve the bitumen’s performance properties. It’s typically installed as a two-ply system and offers improved tensile strength compared to BUR.
A commercial building with heavy foot traffic, such as a rooftop restaurant or deck, might benefit from a modified bitumen roof due to its high durability and tear resistance. However, like BUR, it involves a complex installation process that can disrupt business operations.
Selecting the best commercial roofing material for your business involves considering various factors, such as your budget, the slope of your roof, your aesthetic preferences, local climate, and maintenance requirements. Whether you choose a traditional option like built-up or metal roofing, lean towards more modern options like thermoset or thermoplastic membranes, or even a green roof, the key is balancing cost with performance and longevity. Investing in a quality commercial roof will protect your investment, enhance your building’s appearance, and contribute to your business’s energy efficiency.