There’s plenty to learn about commercial roofs, like all the different shapes, sizes, and materials. Our guide to commercial roofing can help in your decision-making process.
Guide to Commercial Roofing: What You Need To Know
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to commercial roofs, especially since the proper functionality of a building’s roofing system can make or break the building itself. Here are the basics of commercial roofing systems.
Roof Types, Materials, and Installation Processes
Various commercial roof types are on the market, but choosing the roofing system most compatible with your building is important. Technicians also have to properly install the system, depending on what kind of roof it is. Property owners can choose between steep slope or low slope roofing.
Professional roofing technicians can educate you on various types and recommend the most suitable one for you. Depending on the building size and its main functionality, property owners are given the following options:
Steep Slope Roof
These work well for commercial properties. However, they’re usually built on residential homes or multifamily buildings, like apartments, condos, and senior living facilities. Keep in mind because of this roofing type’s high pitch, it’s not as easily accessible. Plus, it’s not multi-functional, so roof additions like HVAC equipment aren’t an option for steep slope roofs.
Low Slope (Flat) Roof
Most warehouses, retail stores, shopping centers, and supermarkets have flat roofs. The most common flat roof systems include TPO, PVC, and EPDM, to name a few.
Most flat roofs are single-ply systems, meaning they’re installed in a single layer covering the entire roof surface. Flat single-ply roofs are made of industrial synthetic materials like plastic or rubber that offer incredible durability and insulation. One drawback to flat roofs is that they easily accumulate dirt and debris. Therefore, routine cleaning and ongoing maintenance are essential to their longevity.
Industry-leading roofing materials include rubber, plastic, asphalt, tar, and gravel, to name a few. Different roofing systems are made with certain materials. The seams are ballasted shut, or they’re tightly sealed by either heat welding or a powerful adhesive. Either way, roofers must follow the process based on the roof type and materials, which ensures proper functionality and reliable durability.
Thermoplastic polyolefin, or TPO, is a single-ply roofing system made primarily from rubber. Building owners who use this benefit from an incredibly weatherproof structure, often recommended by industry professionals.
These systems are also certified cool roofs. They have the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Rating. TPO roofs reduce energy costs thanks to their UV resistance and excellent performance in intense heat. Plus, the surface is less susceptible to mold, bacteria, and dirt buildup, so cleaning and maintenance are easy.
Polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC, is a strong single-ply roofing system made of plastic. It also contains a lower percentage of oil and petroleum than TPO and EPDM, so it’s a more environmentally friendly option. It’s also a cool roof that carries the Energy Star rating.
PVC roofs are usually installed by heat welding the seams closed, making it nearly impossible for water or pests to get inside. Heat welding also allows the system to expand and contract with the building. Because of this, it’s not vulnerable to the harmful effects of thermal shock like other roofing systems. As the temperature fluctuates, PVC’s incredible adaptability helps it endure different temperature extremes.
Ethylene propylene diene monomer, or EPDM, is a single-ply rubber roof membrane. It’s become a popular choice over the years because of its low maintenance and energy efficiency. EPDM’s top coating is reflective, preventing the roof’s surface from overheating.
And since EPDM stays much cooler than traditional roofing systems under high heat, the building stays at cooler temperatures in the summer, as well. It’s also less susceptible to deterioration, offering property owners over 20 years of protection when properly maintained.
Built-up roofing, also known as BUR, is the opposite of single-ply roofing membranes. It’s installed in multiple layers of asphalt, scrim (fabric), and topped with a protective granular coating.
These layers help resist the natural degradation of roofing materials due to fluctuating temperature extremes. Plus, BUR is less prone to punctures and impact damage thanks to its rugged top layer. For these reasons, BUR is one of the best insulated and most durable roofing systems on the market.
Why Is Ongoing Maintenance Necessary?
No matter which one you choose, these commercial roofing systems are highly dependable. However, it’s vital to hire professionals to perform routine inspections and ongoing repairs.
If a roofing contractor inspects your structure and notices bubbling in the roof membrane, water stains on the walls, or ceilings, damaged roof flashing, and puddles of water from a dripping ceiling, it spells trouble. When you ignore roof problems, they become worse and cost more money in the long run.
Count on Kirberg for Thorough Roof Installation and Upkeep
Kirberg is Missouri’s trusted roofing company. For more than 100 years, we’ve proudly served St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City. We perform all types of roof repairs and services, including new construction, restoration, and installation. We also provide free roof estimates, inspections, and annual maintenance programs for various commercial companies.
If you’re looking for a trusted roofing contractor, call Kirberg. We specialize in all building roof types, and we’re licensed and insured, so you can rely on our integrity and expertise. Our portfolio of full-service roofing solutions will certainly include what you need, and we’re confident we can exceed your expectations.