Understanding the Five Types of Commercial Roofing

Arguably, commercial roofing is one of the most important aspects of any business. It serves as protection against the elements, playing a crucial role in the overall integrity of the building. Without the right type of commercial roofing for your climate and building structure, your business’s overall safety and operations could be at risk. Not only this, but an inefficient roofing system could lead to lost heating and cooling and other money-gouging effects. By understanding the five types of commercial roofing, you will be able to make an informed decision as to which is best suited to protecting your business and saving you money along the way.

Understanding the Five Types of Commercial Roofing

Single-Ply Roofing

Single-ply roofing refers to a type of roofing membrane made from synthetic materials, including thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM). According to this expert commercial roofing company in Charlotte, NC, single-ply roofing is highly flexible and resistant to UV radiation, acid rain, and other chemicals. As a result, it can last up to 40 years, even in harsher climates. chemicals, making it one of the most popular choices for commercial roofing. In addition, these types of flat roofing allow easy roof access for maintenance purposes and plenty of space for solar panels and satellite dishes.

The main disadvantage to consider with a single-ply roofing system is drainage. While they do incorporate advanced drainage systems to account for the flat nature of the roof, they are nonetheless more susceptible than other systems to standing water. Water that lingers for too long in one area can lead to sagging, mold growth, and leakage.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing consists of asphalt and various resins, providing excellent strength and durability. It is highly resistant to harsh weather, fire, and foot traffic, and its high reflectivity helps to cut down on heating and cooling costs. Modified bitumen is an especially good choice for buildings in extremely cold climates because it won’t crack even in below-freezing temperatures.

On the other hand, modified bitumen roofing is known to perform worse against standing water than single-ply roofing. Also, its installation process requires high heat and may pose a fire hazard to certain buildings. That said, advancements in technology have resulted in a cold-adhesive installation option for modified bitumen, which does not create fire hazards or release toxic chemicals into the environment.

Built-Up Roofing

Known for its durability, cost-effectiveness, and longevity, built-up roofing (BUR) is made from layers of asphalt and reinforcing fabrics, creating a multi-layered system. Its average lifespan is 40 years, but this may depend on the number of layers, the quality of materials used, and the substrate’s condition. High quality materials can also offer UV resistance, fire resistance, and superior waterproofing.

While BUR may be a fantastic option for businesses in dry climates, its cons make it less than ideal for those in wet climates. Built-up roofing may be more prone to water damage than other systems. Aside from standing water, BUR may experience cracks when water combines with cold temperatures and blistering when water combines with hot, direct sunlight.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is becoming an increasingly popular option for commercial roofing due to its durability, energy efficiency, and sustainability. Metal roofs can be made of steel, aluminum, and copper for an aesthetically pleasing look. Plus, these materials can be recycled at the end of the roof’s long 40 to 70 lifespan.

The downside is that metal roofing may be subject to corrosion. To prevent corrosion, it is essential to choose a high-quality metal and maintain it regularly.

Sustainable Roofing

Sustainable roofing refers to eco-friendly roofing systems that help reduce energy consumption and promote environmental sustainability. Rather than a specific system, this is an entire category of roofing types. Green roofs implement vegetation for superior cooling and insulation, stormwater management, and environmental support. Solar panel roofs can significantly cut electricity costs and provide tax incentives for businesses in sunny regions.

In Conclusion

From single-ply to sustainable roofs, the most common commercial roofing systems vary in their strengths and weaknesses. Thus, factors such as the location, climate, and building type should be considered when selecting a commercial roofing system. Consult your local professional roofing contractor to help you make an informed decision. Remember, the investment in quality commercial roofing is worthwhile in the long run, as it is critical to the safety and longevity of your business’s physical home.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.