New Commercial Building

How often do you think about what’s overhead? Probably not as often as you should!

Of course, if your roof is in good shape, you have nothing to worry about. However, commercial roofing doesn’t last forever, and in order to get the most life out of your current system, your roof may need a little TLC every now and again.

Wondering how to take care of your roof? Not quite sure what type of roof your building even has? Check out this helpful commercial roofing guide!

How Is Commercial Roofing Different Than Residential?

Commercial buildings are typically larger than houses (which factors into the type of roof design that is normally used). Commercial roofs are often flat with a low slope, whereas residential roofs have a moderate to high pitch. 

The flat nature of most commercial roofing systems requires more frequent inspections and maintenance in order to reduce leaks and damage.

FAQs About Commercial Roofing

Have some burning questions about commercial roofing? You’re not alone! Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.

How Long Does Commercial Roofing Last?

There are two main factors affecting how long your commercial roof will last: what it’s made out of and how well you care for it. 

Generally speaking, commercial roofs can last from 10-50 years. 

However, not all systems are created equal. Metal roofing is widely known for its longevity while single-ply membrane systems (which are popular flat roof solutions) can last between 15-30 years, depending on the material and quality.   

Do Leaks Mean You Need a New Roof?

If you manage to catch a leak early, roof repair may be possible, depending on the severity of the leak, the age of the roof and the type of roofing material. 

Unfortunately, though, once water has made its way into your building, it’s likely that significant damage has occurred and a new roof may be necessary.

The best way to catch a leak early is to inspect your roof regularly for damage or worn parts. Numerous studies show that regular roof maintenance (suggested to be completed twice a year and after major storms) can reduce leaks by up to 70 percent and fully double your roof’s life expectancy.

Can You Put a New Roof on Top of the Old One?

Possibly. However, there are various factors affecting whether this is possible:

  • The type of roof you have
  • Whether or not moisture problems are present
  • Underlying insulation and previous roofing systems
  • Deck conditions

An experienced roofer can inspect your roof and make recommendations based on your specific situation. Keep in mind that a visual inspection is usually not enough and the contractor will need to cut into the roof to properly determine its condition.

What’s the Best Type of Commercial Roof?

There is no one perfect type of commercial roofing system. Your business and budget are often the biggest determiners of what kind of roof is best for you.

For example, a restaurant typically discharges cooking oil and fat residue through the ventilation system. If this system is located on the roof (as it often is) you’ll need a thermoplastic membrane material that can withstand these types of substances. 

Another factor to consider is weather. Some types of roofs are built to withstand snow and ice and others are better at holding up under the strong sun. 

Consult with a trusted roofing contractor (like us!) to learn more about the best type of commercial roof for your business.

Common Types of Commercial Roofing

So what are the most common types of commercial roofing? Let’s take a closer look. 

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing (at its most basic) is a combination of rubber, or plastic components, and asphalt. These two- or three-ply systems are easy to install, flexible yet strong and stable, durable, easy to maintain and cost-effective.

They are commonly used for low-slope or flat roofing structures.

With proper maintenance, a modified bitumen roofing system can last as long as 20 years. If wear appears in the membrane (under the gravel), modified bitumen roofing can be repaired if found early on.

Built-Up Roofing Systems

For sunny areas, the built-up roofing system is a great choice. It is resistant to UV rays and helps keep your energy bills down by keeping the sun’s heat out.

This particular option is also commonly referred to as a tar and gravel roof and is generally considered to be fully adhered if applied directly to the roof deck.

Cracks on the surface are simple to fix with a bit of asphalt cement. With proper care, you can expect about 15-30 years of life from this type of roof. 

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has an excellent lifespan. When properly installed and cared for, metal roofs can last up to 50 years! The weight varies depending on the type of metal, but metal roofs are generally lightweight and easy to install.

Metal roofing can also be a more stylish option than some of the other materials available. 

Single-Ply Roofing Systems

The popularity of single-ply roofing systems has exploded over the past few years. They have fewer seams and don’t require torches or hot asphalt for installation.

Made from durable, pre-fabricated sheets, these membranes are easy to install, and with proper installation and care, they can protect your commercial building for many years.

There are a few materials you can choose from that fall into two general categories — thermoset and thermoplastic membranes.

Thermoset Membranes

These materials are made from rubber polymers. The most common is EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer). This material is excellent for its resistance to UV rays and its ability to withstand exposure to chemicals commonly found on roofs.

Thermoplastic Membranes

There are a few popular types of thermoplastic membranes. PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PVC blends, and TPO (thermoplastic polyolefins) are the most common.

System  assemblies come in multiple options, each with its own unique benefits. Assemblies include ballasted, mechanically fastened, fully adhered and metal retrofitted.

Beyond This Commercial Roofing Guide

Unfortunately, you can only learn so much from a short commercial roofing guide on the internet. Have more questions or wondering if you need a new roof?

Feel free to contact us today! We specialize in providing the very best in commercial roofing options, installation, inspection and maintenance.