Types Of Commercial Roofing Systems

by Nov 20, 2023

When you look at a commercial building, the roof might not be the first thing that catches your eye. However, it is pivotal in protecting the structure and its occupants. With various commercial roofing systems available, it’s essential to understand which one is right for your needs. 

Get started on your commercial roofing project today with ease and insight.

Whether constructing a new building or considering a roof replacement, we’re here to guide you through the most common commercial roofing systems. 🏢🔝

Understanding Commercial Roofing Systems

aerial view of commercial building and parking lot

Commercial roofs differ from residential roofs in various ways, including design, materials, and installation techniques. These differences stem from the unique challenges of commercial buildings, such as larger square footage, specific performance needs, and a demand for longevity. 

When selecting a roofing system for your commercial property, it’s crucial to weigh factors like durability, maintenance requirements, and cost. Now, let’s delve into the various commercial roofing types to find the perfect fit for your building. 🌆🔍

Common Types of Commercial Roofing Systems

To provide a clearer picture of the available options, let’s explore some of the most widely used commercial roofing systems as well as their pros and cons. This way, you will have all the information necessary to suggest the best option for your business.

Metal Roofing

A popular choice for many commercial properties, metal roofing is known for its durability and longevity. Made from panels or shingles of metal, this roofing system can resist harsh weather conditions, making it an excellent option for areas that experience severe storms. 

The variety of metal materials, including steel, aluminum, and tin, offers flexibility in terms of aesthetics and performance. An added advantage? Metal roofs are energy-efficient, reflecting sunlight, which can help reduce cooling costs during warm months. 🌞🔩

Pros: Exceptionally durable and can last for decades. Highly resistant to fire, mildew, rot, and insect infestation. Reflective surfaces can also make them energy efficient, leading to cooler buildings and lower energy costs.

Cons: Can be more expensive upfront compared to other roofing types. Noise during rain or hail storms can be louder unless properly insulated. Over time, metal can dent or scratch, requiring maintenance.

Built-up Roofing Membrane (BUR)

Often referred to as “tar and gravel” roofs, built-up roofing membranes consist of multiple layers of tar or asphalt, sandwiched with reinforcing fabrics. These layers are then topped with a layer of gravel or stone. BUR has been used for over a century and is known for its multi-layer protection, which can be particularly beneficial for roofs with heavy foot traffic. 

The thickness of BUR provides excellent insulation, ensuring energy efficiency for the building below. While its installation might be more labor-intensive, its durability makes it a trusted choice for many. 🚧🛡️

Pros: Offers multi-layer protection, making it extremely durable and watertight. Provides excellent UV protection and insulation, which can lead to energy savings. It’s also fire-resistant and can last for many years with proper maintenance.

Cons: The installation process can be lengthy and might produce strong odors. It’s heavier than other roofing types, so the building structure needs to be strong enough to support it. Additionally, it requires more maintenance and regular inspections to ensure its longevity.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing is an upgrade from the traditional built-up roofing system. Combining asphalt with modifiers and reinforcing polyester or fiberglass, it offers enhanced elasticity and flexibility, especially in fluctuating temperatures. This roofing system usually comes in rolls, which are applied using heat to seal the seams, ensuring a water-tight barrier. 

Pros: One of the biggest advantages of modified bitumen roofing is its durability. It’s designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, making it less prone to cracking or becoming brittle over time. Its seamless nature means there are fewer opportunities for water leaks, ensuring better protection against moisture damage. 

Cons: Without a reflective top layer, modified bitumen can absorb a significant amount of heat. This could increase the internal temperature of the building, leading to higher cooling costs.🌡️✨

Thermoset Roof Membrane

This roofing option, often known as EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer), is a durable rubber roofing solution. Its main advantage lies in its resistance to sun rays, ozone, and certain chemicals. It’s often used for larger roofs as it comes in wide sheets, minimizing the number of seams and potential leak points.

Pros: UV resistant, durable, and versatile. It’s less likely to suffer from damage caused by certain chemicals or the sun’s harsh rays.

Cons: The dark color can absorb more heat, potentially raising energy costs. Seams are glued or taped, which might be less durable than heat-welded seams.

Thermoplastic Roof Membrane

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) are the shining stars in the thermoplastic roofing category. These membranes are lightweight, durable, and highly reflective. They’re welded together with heat, ensuring a watertight seal, and are resistant to UV radiation, ensuring longevity.

Pros: Heat-welded seams for strength and water resistance. They’re also energy efficient due to their reflective nature.

Cons: TPO, being a newer product, has varied formulations, which can impact quality. PVC can be pricier compared to other roofing options.

Green Roofing

green roofing on the building

Going green is more than a trend; it’s a sustainable choice for the future. Green roofs aren’t just about the plants and vegetation they house; they also offer excellent insulation, reducing the costs of heating and cooling a building. 

Additionally, they manage stormwater runoff and create habitats for local wildlife. Urban areas, in particular, can benefit from the reduced heat island effect and enhanced air quality green roofs bring.

Pros: Excellent insulation properties, environmental benefits, and aesthetic appeal. Enhances local biodiversity and offers recreational spaces in urban settings.

Cons: Initial installation cost is high. Requires regular maintenance and is not suitable for all building types.

With the right commercial roofing system in place, you can ensure the safety and longevity of your building. So, take your time, research, and consider consulting with professionals to make an informed decision. Your building deserves the best shield; we’re here to help you find it! 🏢🌂

Your Roof, Your Decision 🏠✨

Making a roofing choice is an important investment. Consider factors like longevity, maintenance, and energy efficiency. Alamo Roofing is here to help guide your decision, ensuring your building gets the best protection tailored to its needs. Reach out today and elevate your roofing game! 📞🔝

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