How do you choose the best flat roofing materials for your business? There is a guide I can show you if you do not know. Several different materials are available for roofs, and in this post, I will discuss a few of the most popular ones. We’ll talk about the pros and cons so you can decide which is right for you!
The term “flat roof” refers to a roof that is not quite flat, but has a very low slope (for drainage purposes), which is usually found on commercial buildings such as high-rises, strip malls, and big-box retailers. Flat roofs serve as a protective covering for a large area and, with green roofs, can also serve as a place to hang out or have a community garden. No matter which type of flat roof a building owner or occupant chooses, it provides a variety of benefits. So you can worry about your team and not your roof, I’ll show you which is the best option for your company.
For commercial structures, there are a few really common flat roof types, such as modified bitumen roofs, built-up roofs (BURs), single-ply membranes, and PVC roofs. This post will explore the pros and cons of each flat roofing material so you can decide which would be the best option for your roof, budget, and level of maintenance.
Commercial flat roofs can benefit from modified bitumen. Water leaks and UV light are protected by the multi-layer system, so the roof will not wear out as quickly and can last 20 years or more with proper maintenance. There are multiple layers to a roof, including insulation, plies (or base sheets), a membrane, adhesive, and a surface layer that protects it from UV rays and absorbs heat. Other advantages of this type of roofing include its reasonably low cost and ease of installation.
Modified bitumen systems can be susceptible to downsides due to the material composition, which can be asphalt or coal tar pitch, polymers, and other chemicals. It is important to note that these materials can create a lot of fumes that can pose a health hazard to any roofer who install the roof on your site. In addition to the disadvantages listed above, this material is not ideal for commercial roofs with a large number of foot traffic. It’s also possible to damage or wear away the modified bitumen layers if they constantly get walked on or come into contact with a lot of debris. Last but not least, it can cause your air conditioner to start working harder during the summer months, increasing your energy bills.
- Repairs and replacements are easy
- Strong resistance to UV rays
- It’s fragile
- During installation, poisonous fumes are released
- Those with a pitched roof are more likely to accumulate water (than other types of roofs)
It has three layers: an outer covering (like modified bitumen above), an insulation board sandwiched between plywood sheets referred to as decking, and gravel before the insulation to provide a waterproof barrier. It is easy to install and maintain built-up roofs, and they offer excellent drainage because they are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.
In addition to its long installation period (typically two days), BUR’s downside may not be ideal if you want to get your project back up and running quickly. The reason for this is that the overlapping layers must be installed a few layers at a time. A lot of weight can also accumulate on your roof, which can cause problems if your roof isn’t strong enough.
- Installation can be done all year long (heat or cold)
- Protects against fire and UV rays
- Easily repaired and replaced
- Twenty to thirty years of life expectancy
- Seals that keep out water
- When there is a storm with high winds, the gravel top layer can blow away
- Material that weighs a great deal
- During installation, there are harmful fumes
- In comparison with other types of roofing, it requires more time for installation
One-ply roofing typically consists of several layers of polyurethane or PVC in a thickness of 40, 60, or 90 millimetres. Therefore, they may leak moisture more readily, causing them to be less durable, especially in harsher climates. Lightweight single-ply membranes are easy to install, flexible, and flexible; however, they are prone to leaks and UV damage. A commercial flat roof deck is sealed using hot asphalt instead of asphalt shingles like on a residential roof.
- It’s super light
- Installs quickly and easily
- Liquid leaks very easily
- Easily punctured
- The protection against UV rays is little to none
Both residential and commercial structures can benefit from green roofs, but they aren’t suitable for every structure. The most common reason for installing a green roof for commercial buildings is to reduce the urban heat island effect by shading hot air during the day and to reduce your heating costs during colder weather because the vegetation can reduce your building’s interior heating costs.
Often, the plants installed on green roof decks can be self-sufficient and do not require much maintenance, except if you want a rooftop garden. Your roof can also be made environmentally friendly by installing solar panels.
A key disadvantage of green roofs is their high price, as well as their ability to form ice dams in harsher climates, like snow regions. However, they also help in water runoff and provide an excellent environment for birds, insects, and birds to reproduce while simultaneously improving building efficiency.
- Insulate using natural materials
- Gardening/seating on rooftops is possible
- Environmentally beneficial
- Costs up front are very high
- Roofs with flat surfaces need a lot of maintenance
A single-ply membrane made of EPDM is usually elastic and used to create Tyvek bags. Building owners who are price conscious choose it because of its low upfront costs. EPDM rubber roofs typically install very quickly, are fire- and UV-resistant, and don’t need a whole lot of maintenance.
- Energy costs can be lowered when a building is well-insulated
- Twenty-plus years of life
- The material is highly resistant to UV and fire
- Not the most attractive roof in terms of aesthetics
- A leak or puncture is a common occurrence near the end of its lifespan.
It’s apparent that your commercial flat roof comes in a range of materials, each with its own benefits (and drawbacks). If you’re looking for something low-maintenance and affordable, single-ply or EPDM roofs might be a viable option. For a business that needs longevity, a BUR, modified bitumen, or green roof is a better choice. Whenever you are in need of a new roofing system, consider calling a professional roofing contractor. You can get your flat roof repaired or replaced in no time at all with the help of a company that will work closely with you so you can focus on running your business.