5 Great Flat Roof Material Options for Commercial Buildings
At Central Roofing, we are asked constantly why commercial buildings have flat tops. The primary reason why is that the HVAC and ventilation units that rest on top of the building are away from foot traffic. You’ll see a flat roof on nearly every commercial building in Los Angeles, but they aren’t all the same. Addtionally, Commercial Roofs are flat roofs because they are much more cost-effective compared to pitched roofs. It’s easier to put a sloped roof on a small residential home, but to do the same on a very large commercial building would be impractical, dangerous, and difficult. With a flat roof, you may think that there aren’t many roof options but that isn’t the case in fact YOU DO HAVE OPTIONS. In fact here are 5 Great Material Options For Flat Roofs.
A BUR system scores high in aesthetics because of its gravel top layer. It’s also durable and stands up to heavy foot traffic. Multiple layers make it energy efficient. It is inexpensive overall, but your roof might need additional reinforcement. Expect 15 to 30 years out of a BUR system. Here are some key things to know about Built-Up Systems.
On the plus side, Built-up roofs tend to provide excellent waterproofing and ultra-violet protection. Thanks to the aggregate top layer, they are also fire-resistant. Built-up roofing is generally low-maintenance and therefore costs little to maintain over its life.
On the downside, built-up roofing can be slow to install and, with the exception of cold bitumen processes, installation involves hazardous fumes. Overall, installation costs are relatively high, and some types of this roofing can be susceptible to wind and water damage.
Modified bitumen is also a multi-layered system. A base layer is attached to your roof deck, and overlaps are applied with a durable permanent adhesive. A granule top boosts the final product’s aesthetic and reflects the sunlight well. Expect 10 to 20 years’ longevity. One of the great things about Modified Bitumen Roof Systems is their reflectivity of U.V rays. This can help to reduce energy costs, especially if lighter colors or more reflective top coatings are used. Also, due to the combination of fiberglass and/or polyester reinforcement layers, these roofs are tear-resistant and can handle foot traffic well. However, its lifespan is relatively low compared to other options and without a proper drainage system installed these commercial roofing systems tend to collect water which may cause the flat roof to wear down faster.
You’ll pay more for PVC, but it’s worth it. This single-layer option uses a PVC membrane to resist water and sunlight. The material is rolled out in sheets so there are seams, but once sealed they’re stronger than the sheets. A PVC system can last up to 30 years.
Corrosion can be an issue in just about any setting, but more so in an industrial flat roof building where fumes, gases, or perhaps exhaust can put a heating and cooling system at risk of becoming damaged after some time. PVC is considered a good option for minimizing the risk and is often used to conform to mandated safety regulations. In properties, PVC ductwork can allow a cooling and heating system to run beneath the house without becoming corroded by moisture or even radon. Over time, metal ductwork with corrosion will need to be replaced. Ultimately, you could reduce costs with PVC ductwork.
However PVC’s can get quite expensive with bigger flat roof buildings, which may be a deal-breaker, and the gross weight of this type of commercial roofing system is quite considerable, which is something you’ll have to keep in mind.
If you prefer a seamless system, silicone may be the way to go. Silicone roof coatings are sprayed on your existing roof and cured. The seal is nearly impenetrable and energy-efficient, which makes it a little pricier. Silicone lasts up to 20 to 30 years. It’s also more environmentally friendly than the other options because it uses less material and has less hazardous waste to throw away. But Silicone Roofing Systems are very slippery when wet and have a foul odor during installation.
TPO combines ethylene, propylene, rubber, and other fillers to give your building a durable and “green” roof system. We’re experienced in using this material, which has only been around since the 1990s. You can expect your TPO roof to last seven to 20 years.
In comparison to other thermoplastic membranes, TPO resists mold growth, dirt accumulation, tear impact, and punctures. It is made to be flexible and can allow for a flat roof building’s movement or settling. Reinforced TPO membranes can handle a building’s thermal expansion and contraction more effectively than other single-ply roofing products.
One of the biggest disadvantages of TPO is that it is a really young roofing technology. Manufacturers are still trying to figure out the best chemical formula that will make the product durable and long-lasting while maintaining a competitive price. Finding this right formula has been a challenge for many manufacturers and over the years there have been many documented instances of seam failures and material failures such as membrane curing and cracking. New and improved formulas continue to be tested, but it is not possible to tell at this point how long a new TPO roofing product will last. If you choose to purchase a TPO roofing membrane, it is advisable to get it from a manufacturer that has been around since the beginning of TPO production, as they will most likely have the most long-lasting formulation available on the market today.
As you can see you do have options even if you have a flat commercial roof. As with anything, there are pros and cons to each one and you’ll have to consider the maintenance, reliability, and nature-friendly properties. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and you’d like to get your commercial roof checked out. Be sure to check us out we’ve been in commercial roofing for 30 years and provide free estimates, Thanks for reading.
WHAT DO THEY SAY ABOUT CENTRAL ROOFING
I recently have had some repairs done to a commercial building we have here in California. I have tried other vendors in the past and usually get left with areas... read more that need future repairs. The few times I have had Central Roofing out for repairs and maintenace the roof always seems to be in better operating condtion then prior to the repairs made by them. I highly suggest Central Roofing for roof repairs at our various buildings.
Patrick Klein April 27, 2022
Central Roofing put on a fabulous roof on our commercial building. It was white and beautiful. Supposedly very reflective from the sun UV rays. The workers there were very professional... read more and highly trained and skilled. Wonderful work.
Jane Tan September 27, 2021
I never write reviews but Central Roofing has impressed me so much by doing such an excellent job that I want to spread the word so that others are aware... read more of this talented roofing company and team. We have a large commercial roof over five tenant businesses. After years of dealing with numerous roofing companies who unsuccessfully attempted to repair ongoing roof leaks every time it rained, I finally contacted Central Roofing, Dave Wilkes their highly knowledgeable project manager, to fix our commercial roof. Central Roofing is the best roofing company I have ever dealt with. They really CARE, are highly responsive, trustworthy, conscientious, dependable, hard working and very customer and tenant focused. It continues to be a pleasure dealing with each and every member of their highly professional team. Central Roofing worked hand-in-hand with me to devise a commercial roofing solution within our budget to eliminate the recurring serious roof leaks. Central Roofing restored our commercial roof and, extended its life 15 years. Our roof restoration took approximately a week during which Central Roofing actively pre-coordinated all roofing repairs not only with me but also the building tenants to ensure no business interruption. Whenever I have a question or solicit their input, Central Roofing's entire team is always very responsive. Central Roofing has my business for life! -On behalf of Kim Holmes
Katie Holmes September 27, 2018
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One of our roofing estimators will gladly meet you to discuss your options and follow up with a free, no-obligation, written estimate.
At Central Roofing Company, we understand that a sturdy and reliable roof is crucial for the success and safety of your commercial property. Our team of highly skilled and trained roofing professionals is committed to delivering exceptional craftsmanship and superior service in every project we undertake.