Commercial roofing systems and residential roofs primarily have the same function of protecting property. However, they are quite different when it comes to the materials used to build and install them. Commercial roofing systems are typically made up of single-ply (TPO, PVC, EPDM), concrete, modified bitumen, built-up roofing system, tar and gravel, and more. Depending on the weather conditions, residential roofs are typically made of asphalt shingles or concrete tiles.
Types of commercial Roofs
The following are the most common commercial roof types:
Commercial Flat Roofs:
Flat roofs are one of the most common types of roofs for commercial buildings.
Commercial flat roofs can be significantly more cost-effective to build than pitched roofs or steep slope roofs because they require less material due to the fewer square feet to be covered.
They are easier and quicker to install, which can translate to significant savings for the building owner.
Solar panels and satellite dishes are easier to install on flat roofs than on pitched ones. These items are then less obvious from the curb or parking lot.
Maintenance and drain cleaning is easier on flat roofs since workmen can walk easily and safely, regardless of weather conditions.
One of the most important disadvantages of flat roofs is poor drainage.
Commercial Low-Sloped Roofs:
Allows for better water runoff which means fewer maintenance calls. Safer and cheaper than pitched roofs and can use the same materials. Heavy snow can weigh down and potentially cause damage.
The pitch of low-sloped roofs allows for water runoff.
Low-sloped roofs offer easier and safer conditions for roofers to work on than high-pitched roofs or steep-slope roofs.
Commercial roof installation, repair, and replacement is easier to perform. There is less chance that the building owner will need to call repairmen out to manage water problems since the slight pitch does not allow for standing water or puddling.
Air conditioners, solar panels, and satellite dishes are easier to install and maintain on low-sloped commercial roofs than on roofs with a higher pitch.
Commercial Pitched Roofs:
Best for water and snow runoff.
The main positive aspect of pitched roofs is that the increased slope provides greater runoff for water and snow.
The steeper the roof structure, the easier it is for liquid and debris to roll off. Ultimately this means less risk of water buildup that could lead to leaks and mold damage.
Overall, having a steep-sloped roof could reduce your need for repair and maintenance a bit compared to a flatter, less inclined roof.
Commercial Metal Retrofit Roofing:
Simple, cost-effective method of re-roofing a metal roof with a membrane system. Reuses your current roof structure and insulation making it environmentally friendly and structurally sound. Can greatly extend the life of a damaged roof.
The biggest advantage is the cost of retrofitting your metal roof. This material not only greatly extends the life of your roof, but it also doesn’t cost as much as your standard metal roof replacement.
Retrofitting is also eco-friendly. By not taking the roof apart and damaging/scrapping the materials, this reduces landfill waste, making re-roofing an appealing option for the environmentally conscious.
Commercial PVC Membrane Materials:
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most popular and time-tested membrane materials used in roofing today.
By far one of the largest advantages of PVC roofing materials would be its durability, longevity, and fire retardant properties.
PVC is also resistant to moisture, wind, and chemicals as well as being tear and puncture resistant.
Due to the light-colored membrane sheets and thicker insulation, it is also highly energy efficient.
Commercial TPO Membrane Materials:
Light color, good for reflecting heat away from the building. Colors come in white, tan, gray, green, red, and blue. Seams are sealed with a hot-air gun. However, easier to puncture and prone to shrinkage.
Many building owners have chosen TPO materials over other options due to a cheaper up-front cost compared to other materials.
TPO membranes are very durable and flexible, which makes custom edge-to-edge fabrication simpler, cheaper, and more efficient.
The material is also 100% recyclable and eco-friendly which is great for companies trying to go green.
The membrane is slick and good for moving water off the roof.
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