Commercial roofing system and residential roofing may have similar functions — protecting the property from elements — but there are clear distinctions between the two when it comes to construction.
For example, commercial roofing systems are designed to handle heavier loads — often lasting three times longer than residential roofing — so they must incorporate a different set of principles and materials for the construction process.
The type of roof on your building can hugely affect how long it lasts, what it costs to repair, and how long you’re saving on energy. Many different types of roofs serve different purposes. Let’s look at each roofing system closely to see which one is more suitable for your property.
Choosing The Right Commercial Roofing System
You should consider a few factors when choosing a commercial roof that’s best for your business. First, you’ll need to think about the type of facility you’re working with, as well as its location, size, and other factors that might impact your choice.
Slope Of Commercial Roof
With commercial roofing systems, it is essential to address the roof’s slope. Roofs are mostly categorized as Low Slope Roofs (or Flat Roofs) and Steep Slope Roofs.
Low Slope Roof (Flat Roof):
Flat or slightly sloped roofs are more common in commercial buildings versus residential, as most residences have steeply-sloped roofs. This is due to the size variance of housing versus commercial buildings. Residential structures tend to be smaller and require steeper roofs for structural stability. Meanwhile, commercial roofs are bigger and can have flat roofs without sacrificing stability.
Steep Slope Roof:
The steep roofs are more popular roofing systems in residential structures. They are commonly found on single family houses or multi-family homes, steep slope roofs are perfect for a wide array of building types and styles. With a steep slope roof, you can choose from several different materials such as metal, shingles, slate or tile.
Popular Commercial Roofing Systems
When you’re looking to update your roof, there is no need to feel overwhelmed. Whether you are looking to replace a portion of the entire roof, we can help you find the perfect system for your building. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of some popular roofing materials.
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
EPDM roofing is commonly known as rubber roofing. It’s made of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), a synthetic rubber that makes it highly resistant to heat, ozone, sunlight and oxidation.
Pros: The best thing about an EPDM roof is its price, which is much lower than other comparable roofing materials. EPDM roofs are also easy to install and require relatively little maintenance, so they can be a great choice for business owners looking for a new roof that won’t require too much work.
Moreover, EPDM roofs are resistant to wind, so they don’t scuff or scratch easily — even in harsh conditions. EPDM roofs can also withstand high temperatures and UV rays, making them a great choice for most buildings.
Cons: An EPDM roof’s main downside is that it is prone to puncturing, which is why several people shy away from the system in areas where falling tree branches or hail storms are frequent.
The black color can add a great deal of stress to your air conditioning systems because it absorbs most of the sun’s rays and exterior heat. However, lighter colors are available to help reflect the heat, but these will cost more. Furthermore, EPDM may not be the ideal solution if you want an aesthetically pleasing roof.
While specialized adhesives are necessary to install an EPDM roof, longer-lasting methods exist for other commercial roofing materials. Further, when a commercial roofing system is not properly adhered to, water underneath the membrane can travel freely and make leaks more difficult to detect and potentially more damaging.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin Roof (TPO)
TPO is a single-ply membrane that’s highly reflective and is composed of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. It’s been polymerized for added strength, and the top core layer is heat-welded in place to hold it in place. These roofs have proven to be a popular option among commercial building owners — particularly in Denver.
Pros: TPO roofing is one of the most cost-effective roofing materials on the market — it’s less expensive than EPDM and other options. TPO is a great option because it reflects heat, reducing heat buildup inside the structure. When installed properly, you can enjoy lower costs on your electric bill, as well as increased protection against further future damage to your property.
TPO is lightweight and may be put in various methods, including immediately fastening to the roof deck or entirely adhering to the roof deck with adhesives. Moreover, this roofing material does not corrode or break down under harsh weather. It doesn’t grow algae or mildew, and it doesn’t need to be pressure cleaned, which makes it ideal for business owners.
The heat-welded seams of TPO membranes are a key benefit of the material. By heating and melting the plastic and bonding it to its surface, TPO creates a strong, more dependable bond than using adhesives. With many roofing issues stemming from poor bonding, this huge benefit shouldn’t be overlooked.
Cons: Like many other products on the market, TPO roofing has some drawbacks. The quality can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, which can be a problem since buyers know only a little about TPO when they first encounter it. TPO, unlike asphalt shingles or other more conventional materials, is available in a variety of thicknesses.
While TPO can help prevent water and air infiltration, it is not fire-resistant. In the event of a fire, your roofing membrane can catch fire easily.
Shrinking, cracking, crazing, and deterioration are all risks of TPO roofing. With a product vulnerable to so many issues, it’s no wonder that the top layer is commonly laminated. This process involves gluing two pieces of material together to add sturdiness. However, even the best lamination jobs can break down after time.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
There are two layers of PVC with a polyester reinforcement scrim in between — giving it strength and flexibility. The top layer, reinforced with additives that make the membrane UV resistant, creates a surface that is easier to clean and maintain. It’s no wonder that PVC has become the most popular roofing material on the market due to its various advantages.
Pros: It’s no wonder that PVC has become the most popular roofing material on the market due to its various advantages. There are two layers of PVC with a polyester reinforcement scrim in between — giving it strength and flexibility. The top layer, reinforced with additives that make the membrane UV resistant, creates a surface that is easier to clean and maintain.
Cons: PVC roofing does have a few drawbacks. For starters, it is costly. PVC also has a tendency to shrink with time, which can result in ripped seams, raised corners, and leaks. In freezing weather, it’s prone to fracturing and puncturing, and if you need to repair a PVC roof, hot air welds don’t work well with older material.
Modified Bitumen Roofing System
With a modified bitumen as your commercial roofing system, you get the durability of a traditional asphalt shingle combined with the flexibility and temperature resistance of a unique chemical polymer. This polymer is what truly sets modified bitumen apart from other roofing products.
Pros: A modified bitumen roof can be applied in multiple layers, making it a viable option for installation through all four seasons. Whether your project is self-adhesive sheets, hot-mopped asphalt, torch-applied or cold-applied adhesive, or any combination with the skills and knowledge of our team at Sol Vista Roofing, you’re guaranteed to have an aesthetic roof that maintains its integrity year after year.
Moreover, they are wind, fire, and hail resistant, which means they will not be damaged during a storm.
Cons: Modified bitumen roofing has been around for decades, but it comes with several serious risks. Installation can involve a welding torch and lead to fire damage if your roofing component involves wood.
Thankfully, the market has innovated and advanced: manufacturers are now promoting cold-adhesive, self-adhering modified bitumen. This type of roofing technology has several benefits — and though it is more expensive than asphalt, it is far more durable and energy-efficient.
Let Roofing Experts In Denver, CO Assist You
Whenever your business needs a new roof, or if you have any questions about maintenance or repairs, talk to us at Sol Vista Roofing. We’re expert roofers with an eye for detail. We handle commercial roofs, industrial roofs, warehouses and retail spaces — whatever the size or style of your building, we can handle it all. Our partnerships with industry leaders give us access to excellent materials at special prices.
Every commercial roofing system project begins with a simple call. The expert team at Sol Vista Roofing will set you up with a free consultation and quote, inspecting your roof and outlining the best solutions to meet any concerns. Our clients can focus on their business knowing that our team of highly-trained specialists is working around the clock to maintain their roof. Call us today at (720) 712-3516.