The Ideal Materials for Commercial Flat Roofs

Best Materials for Commercial Flat Roofs | Marlowe Roofing

Commercial Roofing Materials

April 23, 2022 5 Read

Have you ever wondered why most commercial establishments have flat roofing systems instead of the traditional steep-sloped roofs? There are a few reasons for this, but the primary one is that it’s more cost-effective to build a flat roof. Another advantage of a flat roof is that it’s easier to install solar panels and other types of energy-efficient roofing systems.

But just because flat roofs are more popular for commercial buildings, that doesn’t mean they’re the only option. There are a few different materials you can use for your commercial flat roof, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular materials used for commercial flat roofs:

Built-Up Roof (BUR)

Most old commercial establishments are roofed using BUR. BUR uses the classic hot-tar-and-gravel combination to pile up layers of roofing. The advantage of using BUR is that it is the cheapest roofing option, and the final surface is attractive, especially to windows and decks that overlook it. Moreover, gravel is a very good fire-retardant.

However, BUR has more disadvantages than it has advantages. The multiple layers of tar and gravel may become very heavy that you will need to strengthen the joist of your roof. Likewise, it would be tough to detect any leaks, and you may resurface the entire roof area. Another disadvantage is that hot tar is very messy and hazardous to apply. As a result, most modern flat roof projects no longer use the BUR method.

Modified Bitumen Roof

Modified Bitumen Roofing is a better alternative to BUR (Built-Up Roofing). Modified Bitumen Roofing is a single-ply asphalt-based material that keeps the advantages of BUR but removes the disadvantages, especially in the installation process. Bitumen Roofing may also be applied with multiple layers. This type of roofing will also absorb a lot of heat from the sun, making it ideal for flat roofing, frequently visited by cold winter temperatures. However, Modified Bitumen Roofs need torches or the involvement of a heating process to install, which may be dangerous for inexperienced roof installers. Likewise, flat bitumen roofing may not be as aesthetically pleasing when seen from above.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer or EPDM

EPDM is similar to modified bitumen roofing in installation and single-layered roofing. However, EPDM is made from repurposed rubber. As a result, EPDM roofing materials are tear-resistant, waterproof, flexible, easy to maintain, and energy-efficient. However, EPDM roofing materials are installed using adhesive or mechanical anchors instead of having a heat-welded bond. As a result, EPDM roofing is susceptible to loosening its adhesive because of extreme weather conditions.

PVC Roofing

PVC is the favored material of choice by establishments and homeowners looking for an eco-friendly flat roofing system. PVC are single-ply membranes that are specifically engineered for strength. Likewise, their hot welded seams make PVC roofing durable and impervious to moisture. If a professional roofing company is installed properly, PCV roofing can last more than 20 years. The advantage of PVC roofing is that it is easy to repair. You can patch any holes or tears. However, PVC roofing is one of the most expensive commercial roofing options.

TPO Roofing

TPO is a single-ply membrane that looks like an installation process similar to PVC roofing. The advantage of TPO is its affordability, which falls in between EPDM and PVC roofing. Likewise, TPO is also easy to repair. However, one disadvantage of TPO is that it is not as durable as PVC roofing.

Metal Roofing

If you are looking for a more sustainable and eco-friendly option, then metal roofing is the best choice. Metal roofing is made of recycled materials, and it can be recycled again when you decide to replace it. Moreover, metal roofing reflects heat, making it more energy-efficient than other types of roofing. Metal roofing also has a very long lifespan – more than 50 years. However, one disadvantage of metal roofing is that it is an excellent conductor of electricity. As a result, you need to be extra careful during installation, and you need to have proper insulation to avoid any accidents.

Spray Polyurethane Foam or SPF Roofing

SPF roofing is one of the most popular types of flat roofing. It is made of two chemicals sprayed onto the roof and expands to form a protective layer. SPF roofing is very durable, water-resistant, and energy-efficient. However, one disadvantage of SPF roofing is that it is difficult to repair. Once the chemicals are sprayed on, they will expand and harden, making it difficult to make any repairs.

Green Roofing

Green roofing is a type of roofing that is covered with vegetation. Green roofing has many benefits, such as being environmentally friendly, improving air quality, and reducing noise pollution. However, one disadvantage of green roofing is that it is difficult to maintain, says the crew over at Roofing Clarksville. The vegetation needs to be regularly trimmed, and the soil replenishes.

Solar Roofing

Solar roofing is a type of roofing that uses solar panels to generate electricity. Solar roofing is environmentally friendly and can save you money on your energy bills. However, one disadvantage of solar roofing is that it is expensive. Solar panels are not cheap, and you will need to have a professional install them.

Deciding to install a flat roof in your commercial establishment or home. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the roofing materials will enable you to know which ones will suit your needs and be cost-effective in the long run.