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5 Different Types Of Commercial Roofing + Their Functions

large commercial building

Commercial roofing is a crucial aspect of any business infrastructure. Unlike residential roofing, commercial roofing serves a different purpose and faces unique challenges. From protecting valuable assets to ensuring employee safety, the choice of roofing material and its maintenance play pivotal roles in the success of a commercial property.

In this blog, we will dive deep into the world of commercial roofing, exploring:

  • Various types of commercial roofing
  • Priorities for property owners
  • Materials
  • Replacement costs
  • Signs indicating the need for replacement

What Sets Commercial Roofing Apart?

new commercial roof system

Commercial roofing differs from residential roofing in several key ways:

  • Scale: Commercial roofs typically cover larger areas than residential roofs, requiring specialized installation techniques and materials.
  • Purpose: Commercial roofs serve diverse purposes, from protecting inventory and equipment to providing a safe working environment for employees.
  • Foot Traffic: Many commercial roofs are designed to withstand foot traffic for maintenance and inspections, necessitating durable materials and construction.
  • Regulations: Commercial properties are subject to different building codes and regulations than residential properties, influencing roofing design and materials.

Top Roofing Priorities for Commercial Property Owners

Commercial property owners prioritize several factors when selecting roofing materials and managing roof maintenance:

  • Durability: Commercial roofs must withstand harsh weather conditions, UV exposure, and potential damage from foot traffic and equipment.
  • Longevity: Owners seek roofing materials with a long lifespan to minimize maintenance costs and disruptions to business operations.
  • Energy Efficiency: Energy-efficient roofing materials can help reduce heating and cooling costs, improving the overall sustainability of the property.
  • Cost-effectiveness: While upfront costs are important, property owners also consider the long-term value and return on investment provided by roofing materials.
  • Compliance: Meeting building codes and regulations is essential to avoid penalties and ensure the safety and integrity of the property.

5 Different Types of Commercial Roofing Materials

When it comes to commercial buildings, having a strong commercial roofing material is key. But there are a lot of varieties out there. Keep reading to find the roofing system that works best for you!

1) Built-Up Roofing (BUR):

BUR consists of multiple layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics, typically asphalt or coal tar.

  • Pros: Excellent waterproofing, durability, and resistance to UV rays. Can withstand foot traffic and is relatively cost-effective.
  • Cons: Heavyweight may require additional structural support. Installation can be labor-intensive and messy.

2) Single-Ply Membrane Roofing:

Single-ply membranes, such as TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), consist of a single layer of synthetic material.

  • Pros: Lightweight, flexible, and easy to install. Offers excellent resistance to UV rays and chemicals. Low maintenance requirements.
  • Cons: Vulnerable to punctures from sharp objects. Lifespan may be shorter than other roofing materials.

3) Metal Roofing:

Metal roofs are constructed from various materials, including steel, aluminum, and copper, offering durability and versatility.

  • Pros: Long lifespan (up to 50 years or more), fire-resistant, and environmentally friendly. Reflective coatings enhance energy efficiency.
  • Cons: Higher upfront cost compared to some other materials. Expansion and contraction may cause noise in certain conditions.

4) Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen consists of asphalt reinforced with fiberglass or polyester, available in rolls or sheets.

  • Pros: Excellent flexibility and resistance to extreme temperatures. Easy to install and repair. Suitable for roofs with low slopes.
  • Cons: Vulnerable to punctures and tears. Requires regular maintenance to prevent leaks and extend lifespan.

5) Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Roofing:

SPF roofing involves spraying a combination of polyurethane foam and protective coatings onto the roof surface.

  • Pros: Seamless and lightweight, offering excellent insulation and waterproofing properties. Can be applied to various roof shapes and substrates.
  • Cons: Requires professional installation due to specialized equipment. Susceptible to damage from UV exposure if not properly coated.

Cost of Replacing a Commercial Roof

working on a commercial metal roof

The cost of replacing a commercial roof depends on several factors, including the size and complexity of the roof, choice of materials, labor costs, and any additional requirements such as insulation or structural upgrades. On average, the cost per square foot for commercial roof replacement ranges from $5 to $12, with high-end materials and complex installations costing more.

Signs That Your Commercial Roof Needs Replacement

While most of us grow up in residential homes, and know what roof damage looks like, a commercial building can be very different. Do you suspect your commercial roofing system is damaged? Here are some signs that it may be time to replace your roof.

  • Leaks and Water Damage: Persistent leaks or water stains on ceilings indicate underlying roofing issues that may require replacement.
  • Aging and Wear: Visible signs of wear, such as cracked or missing shingles, rusted metal panels, or blistered membranes, suggest the need for replacement.
  • Ponding Water: Standing water on the roof surface due to inadequate drainage can lead to structural damage and should be addressed promptly.
  • Energy Efficiency Decline: Increased energy bills may indicate a compromised roof insulation or reflective coating, signaling the need for replacement.
  • Safety Concerns: Sagging areas, loose materials, or visible structural damage pose safety risks and require immediate attention and possible replacement.

Learn More About Types of Commercial Roofing

Commercial roofing plays a critical role in protecting assets, ensuring occupant safety, and maintaining the integrity of commercial properties. By understanding the diverse types of roofing materials, prioritizing key factors such as durability and energy efficiency, and recognizing signs indicating the need for replacement, property owners can make informed decisions to safeguard their investments and prolong the lifespan of their commercial roofs. Regular maintenance and periodic inspections are essential to identify issues early and mitigate potential damage, ultimately contributing to the long-term success and sustainability of commercial properties.

From metal roofing systems, to PVC roofing, you’ll find them all when you work with O’Donnell Roofing! Contact us today to learn more about your options.

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