What are the Different Types of Commercial Roofs?
Commercial roofs come in different forms. Each one is built according to the needs of the building and the budget of the owner. The kind of commercial roof property has played an integral role in the overall health of the building. Other factors, such as the surrounding environment, typical weather, and other variables such as animals, foliage, etc. can also affect the roofing system’s integrity over time.
Common Types of Commercial Roofs and Roofing Materials
Here are the most common classifications of commercial roofs and the roofing materials used to create them.
However, it’s important to note that most commercial roofs are either flat or low slope, which narrows down the available roofing materials.
Built-Up Roofing Membrane
Built-up roofing or BUR is the standard tar-and-gravel roof. It is built using multiple layers or piles.
This type of commercial roof is flexible as the number of layers can be varied to help control costs or meet some durability requirements that the owner needs to address. It’s one of the traditional low-slope roof systems and one of the most-effective and durable roofing types available today.
Metal roofing is a popular commercial roof type because it involves different kinds of metal materials available for use in the roofing system, including:
- Corrugated galvanized steel
- Aggregates of zinc, aluminum, and silicon-coated steel
- Metal tile sheets
- Stainless steel
- Stone-coated steel
Since metal is prone to rust, manufacturers add a protective layer to manage the damage from prolonged sun exposure and other environmental factors. Metal roofing also provides an attractive, finished look. However, when budget and durability are the priorities, it’s wiser to choose what works best rather than what looks best.
On the contrary, metal roofing also has strong fire resistance ratings, making it more durable and stronger than traditional roofing options. It also creates a more sustainable design for your building.
Thermoset Roof Membrane
This roofing system is also known as EPDM roofing. This type of commercial roof offers long-lasting durability and versatility. It is also easy to install and easy to maintain compared to most other commercial roof types.
EPDM roofing offers strong resistance to UV rays and ozone and is built from a single-ply rubber material.
Other benefits of this commercial roof include great flexibility in colder temperatures, resistance to some acids, solvents, and alcohol. It also has reflective properties that help lower cooling costs.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
The reinforced roof fabrics are applied to act as carriers for bitumen. These are later cut and installed in a layer similar to BUR membranes.
Modified Bitumen Roofing is generally fastened to commercial rooftops as two-ply systems, adhered to the roofing deck for maximum stability and protection.
Moreover, this commercial roof is easy to maintain and can be typically handled with annual inspection and cleaning. It provides enhanced tensile strength compared to other flat roofing systems that experience regular foot traffic. So, if the owner anticipates a lot of activity on their commercial building roof, it is recommended to choose modified bitumen.
Thermoplastic Roof Membrane
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) commercial roofs are lightweight, highly reflective, and provide excellent weathering and resistance to UV rays. Their seam strength is ideal for second-generation applications as well.
The nature of these resistances makes TPO popular for restaurants and other businesses that emit oils and fats from their ventilation systems. Other benefits include tolerance from high-temperature to high resistance to fire and strong winds.
The most versatile type of commercial roof today is green roofs. These roofs have become popular in recent years, but they also present a sustainable choice for commercial properties and businesses.
The best advantage of green roofing systems is their ability to protect commercial properties from the elements while simultaneously managing water, drainage, and improving energy efficiency. They are also beautiful and promote a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly commercial property.
Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is a material that starts as a liquid spray that instantly expands into a foam, which eventually hardens into a solid layer. This type of roofing is applied on top of an existing roof. While this type of roofing is not well-known, it has been around since the early 1960s.
An SPF roofing system waterproofs and adds an insulating factor. It can be used in any climate and can last up to 50 years with proper installation and maintenance.
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