When most people think of building and maintaining their commercial property, the first thing that comes to mind is the front and insides of the building. After all, this is what customers and vendors are most likely to see, so it’s what you most want looking in tip-top shape.
However, it’s hard to understate the importance of having a solid roof over your commercial property.
But like anything, when it comes time to add or update this important feature of your property, there are lots of choices. Not only are there many different styles to choose from, but there are also many different types of commercial roofing systems. Picking the right one can have a significant impact on the short- and long-term health of your property.
To help you make the right choice, here’s everything you need to know about the best types of commercial roofing out there.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PICKING THE RIGHT COMMERCIAL ROOFING TYPE AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Choosing a roof for your commercial property is no small matter. You need to consider the shape and size, as well as the material, and take into account a number of different factors.
Here are some of the most important things you should focus on when deciding on the type of commercial roofing system for you.
Probably the most important thing to consider when choosing a commercial roofing system for your home is durability. Roofs are supposed to last, usually between 30 and 50 years. But whether or not that happens depends on which type of commercial roof you choose as well as the conditions where you live.
When deciding which roofing system to install, consider how much of an impact the following things will have:
Rain and snow — If you live in an area that gets lots of wet weather, then you’ll want to pay special attention to the waterproofing capabilities of your roof. Of course, any roof worth its salt should keep you dry. But some materials will maintain this quality for longer than others. Also, if you get lots of snow, you will need to make sure your roof can handle that weight and also resist deterioration while it is covered in snow for days if not weeks at a time.
Heat and light — Another thing you will want to consider is how much direct sunlight your roof gets. This matters because repeated exposure to the sun can cause the materials to break down more quickly. But it’s also relevant because it will help inform other elements of your installation. For example, using a black material on a roof that gets constant sun is going to warm up your building, which may impact the cost of heating and cooling it.
Weight — Is your roof used for anything other than just protection from the elements? Do you store things on your roof? Would you like to? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you will need to take special precautions to make sure your commercial roof can handle the
Traffic — Do people walk on your roof? And if they do, how many people and how often? If they do, you need to of course make sure your roof can support the weight. But you also need to be sure it can withstand the wear and tear that comes from constant traffic.
If you’re not sure of the exact needs of your property, then discuss this with your commercial roofing professional. They will be able to ask you a few questions about how your roof is used so that you can be sure you’re selecting a material that is durable enough for the job.
Durability is probably the most important thing to consider when choosing from the many different types of commercial roofing systems, but as a business owner, you will also want to take into account aesthetics, i.e. how it looks.
If your property is customer-facing, meaning customers walk into your store looking to make purchases, then it’s important your building has a good design. It needs to welcome people in and make them feel just right so that they will be more willing to spend money.
Of course, a roof alone isn’t going to have this effect. But a bad roof can ruin an otherwise good aesthetic, and it’s something you should definitely consider when choosing materials for your roof.
INSULATION AND EFFICIENCY
Heat rises. Well, technically, hot air is less dense than cold air, so it tends to rise to the top. But looking past this technicality, the reality is that you lose a lot of heat through your building’s roof.
Choosing the right material can help improve the overall insulation of your building, which will make it cheaper to heat in the winter.
Roofs can also make your property warmer in the summer by absorbing light and heat from the sun. It’s important to choose something that fits the climate in which the property is located so that you can achieve maximum efficiency and keep operating costs to a minimum.
Although a roof in and of itself won’t do too much to the overall value of your property, it can certainly have an impact. First, if you go to sell your property and it needs a new roof, you’re bound to receive lower offers.
But a good roofing system also protects other aspects of your property’s value. For example, properly installed and functioning gutters keep water away from the foundation and prevent mold and rot. Also, a building’s energy efficiency rating also plays an impact in how much it’s assessed to be worth, and roofs play a big role in this.
Lastly, when you’re deciding which commercial roofing system to install, you will want to keep budget in mind. Sometimes, depending on the local area and the state of the property, you don’t need the best of the best but can instead save some money with a lower-grade material.
However, you don’t ever want to skimp on your roof. So, while budget is important, it’s also essential you get the protection you need.
Again, a commercial roofing professional will help you find the right mix between quality and budget so that you can get a great roof at the right price.
Choosing Your Commercial Roofing Design
Now that you understand what’s at stake and what you should be looking for when choosing between the many different commercial roofing systems, it’s time to start choosing your roof.
The first thing you will need to decide is the design you will use. In general, you have two choices:
As the name suggests, this roof is entirely flat. It is the least expensive to install, especially on large properties such as warehouses and other industrial facilities.
The downside to flat roofs is that they do give you a more commercial/industrial look. A bigger deal for some properties than others. Also, special consideration needs to be given to drainage. Since the roof is flat, water and other debris can collect on the top and cause damage.
This can be avoided with proper installation, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced flat roofing contractor. They will identify the best method for installation so that you can enjoy all that a flat roof has to offer.
The other option is a sloped or pitched roof. Again, the name says it all. Instead of being flat, these roofs are built on an angle.
Typically, this creates a more aesthetic look, and sloped roofs also provide easy drainage for water and snow. However, installation can be tricky and therefore more expensive.
In most cases, if your property is not already built with a sloped or pitched roof, then it’s not going to be worth it for you to install one. But sometimes it is. Speak with your roofing professional today to find out if you want to go this route.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMMERCIAL ROOFING SYSTEMS
With your roof design chosen, it’s not time to pick one of the many different types of commercial roofing systems out there.
Many use acronyms and other industry jargon as names, but we’re going to decipher all of this so that you can be clear about your options and make the choice that’s right for you and your business.
BUILT UP ROOFING MEMBRANE (BUR)
Probably the most common of all the different types of commercial roofing, a Built-Up-Roofing Membrane, also known as a BUR, is also one of the least expensive.
It consists of several layers, usually three to five, of different materials designed to keep water out and protect your roof. But the number of layers will vary depending on your needs and budget.
Usually, the layers are made up of tar and gravel, perhaps with some sort of synthetic material in between to improve insulation.
This is the oldest and most simple commercial roof system available today. It’s been around for more than 100 years, and it likely will be for some time.
In many cases, a simple BUR roof will do the job and help you control costs. But there are times when a little extra is needed.
MODIFIED BITUMEN ROOFING
If you want to take your BUR roof one step further, consider going for a modified bitumen roof system. These are very similar to BUR roofs in terms of installation, but the difference is in the materials used.
Instead of constructing the roof with gravel and tar, you would use materials infused with bitumen, which is a mixture of various hydrocarbons that hardens to improve durability and waterproofing. Of course, because of the higher grade of materials, adding bitumen is going to raise the cost of installation.
LIQUID APPLIED ROOFING
If you’re looking for a quick fix to your current roof, then you may want to consider a liquid applied roof. This uses a resin and a reinforcing polyester that is applied using a spray or a roller.
What’s good about it is that the liquid is able to seep into all the nooks and crannies of your roof, which provides you with superior waterproofing. It’s also nice because it’s a very low-stakes installation. You don’t even have to close while it’s being done.
The disadvantage is that you’re not doing anything to the structure of the roof. If there are underlying problems, coating them with a liquid applied roof isn’t going to fix them. It will just provide temporary relief.
THERMOSET ROOF MEMBRANE (EDPM)
If sun exposure is going to be a concern for your property, then consider installing a Thermoset Roof Membrane commercial roofing system. This uses a special material — ethylene propylene diene monomer (EDPM) — which is especially resistant to ultraviolet rays.
It’s a synthetic material that goes on as a layer in a traditional BUR roof, and it’s also relatively inexpensive. In most cases, installing an EPDM roof will make the most sense for large commercial properties. The extra protection and minimal extra expense make it well worth it for most commercial property owners. Plus, repairing an EPDM roof is relatively cheap and easy to do, should you ever need them.
THERMOPLASTIC ROOF MEMBRANE (PVC)
For those who need a roof with a bit more shape, either because of the existing design of the building or for aesthetic reasons, a Thermoplastic Roof Membrane (TPO, for short) might be the choice for you. Made using polyvinyl chloride, aka PVC, it offers superior water and weatherproofing, and it is also fire resistant.
However, what’s nice about PVC is that it can be welded to metals. So, if your roof has an odd shape and needs to be covered in a unique way, a TPO roof using PVC might be the roofing material for you.
Also, PVC can be shaped and molded as you want, which means you can use it to create new roof designs if you want. Furthermore, repairing a TPO roof is a relatively straightforward process when done by the right professionals.
Switching gears, if you want to go for a completely different type of commercial roofing system, then consider a metal roof.
The main benefit of a metal roof is how it looks. As compared to traditional flat roofs constructed using the BUR method, metal roofs can be made into all sorts of shapes, and they also provide a totally different look.
Popular metals used in roofing include:
Zinc, allumninin, or silicon-coated steel
Other types of steel
Overall, metal roofs are considered to be stronger and more durable than other types of roof. And they also have excellent fireproof ratings. However, they are heavier and also susceptible to corrosion, which means materials need to be added to make sure they can withstand the elements.
This, plus the natural scarcity of some of these materials, means a metal roof is likely going to cost you a good bit more than more standard types. But if you have the cash, they can provide a tremendous benefit to the look and strength of your commercial property.
One last option if you really want to be different is to install what is known as a “green roof.” This roof, in terms of its construction, is similar to any of the other different types of commercial roofing systems. The only difference is that it is covered with plants.
Thanks to the high sun exposure, and also the fact that roofs often aren’t used for “anything,” they make great gardens. This is rapidly becoming a trend as people around the world look for unique solutions to climate change and also for ways to redo how we grow and distribute food.
However, underneath the garden is a standard roof. If you want to go this route, you will need to be sure your roof can handle the added weight from all the plants, and you will also want to go for some extra waterproofing as the plants can mess with drainage and cause all sorts of problems.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMMERCIAL ROOFING SYSTEMS: EXPLAINED
As you can see, when it comes to choosing between the different types of commercial roofing systems, there is a lot to consider. And since your roof is such an important part of your commercial property, it’s important to get this decision right.
When considering which roof to get, make sure you take into account the age, condition, and location of your property. And while it’s important to control costs, it’s also important to make sure you get it right.
Premier Group’s professional roofers are standing by to help you make this decision and, when you’re ready, coordinate your project. Get in touch and get your roofing project started today.