Commercial building with a commercial metal roof.

Are you revamping your commercial building? Choosing the right roof is a vital step in this process and can even bring you tax credits if you go the energy-efficient route. 

Your building’s roof keeps you and your expensive equipment safe from the elements and can also add aesthetic appeal to its exterior. But, a lot of times, it’s difficult to decide which of the excellent modern-day roofing options are best for you without some guidance.

Here are the factors you should consider when choosing the ideal roof material for your commercial building

Your Existing Roof

The condition and characteristics of your existing roof have a major impact on the types of roof materials available to you. Do you have a flat roof? Does your current system feature asphalt shingles?

Some of the things you need to take note of include existing structures like fire mitigation systems, HVAC positioning, as well as any accessibility requirements, especially for roofing with a high amount of foot traffic.  

In many cases, when replacing a worn out roofing membrane, contractors can apply many of today’s commercial roofing systems directly on top of your existing roof. This saves you the time and cost of undergoing a full roof replacement, AND it’s also more environmentally friendly!

In some cases, though, re-roofing isn’t an option. For instance, you can’t apply a PVC roof over an existing asphalt roof. A professional, experienced commercial roofer will be able to discuss your existing roof, it’s life expectancy, and the best options for repair or replacement.

Your Commercial Property’s Location

Your roof is your first line of defense against the weather, so, logically, it needs the durability to stand up to the prevailing weather conditions in your area.

Most commercial roofing systems can tolerate a variety of climates, but it’s worth considering the best one for your location. Storms, high winds, and hail can easily damage roofing materials that aren’t up to the task.

Roofs located in extreme climates need a flexible covering to withstand temperature fluctuations. And, highly reflective roofs can ensure indoor comfort if your building is located in a hot, desert climate. 

Other aspects that may affect your choice of the best roof material include wildlife populations, overhanging trees, and local building codes.

The Nature of Your Business

Different businesses have widely differing heating and cooling needs.

For instance, a shopping center needs a roof that helps keep the temperature comfortable inside. A less energy-efficient system will suffice for warehouse roofing if the building’s only used for storing non-temperature-sensitive items.

Other types of buildings, like factories or restaurants, need a roofing system that suits exhaust and ventilation systems and resists chemical and oil fumes. 

Environmental Concerns

Environmental impact is a concern for both commercial building owners and manufacturers of commercial roofing systems. So, you’re bound to find many roofing options made from recycled and recyclable materials.

Other environmental considerations include the roof’s capacity to accommodate green initiatives like solar panels and additional insulation. 

Although eco-friendly issues are important, you also stand to gain from rebates offered by Energy Star-approved products when you go the green roof route. 

Your Intentions For Your Building

The life expectancy of different roofing systems is another important factor if you intend to occupy your commercial property for decades to come. If you’re planning to sell your building soon, you might not want to spend more on a longer-lasting roof.

Some types of commercial roofs can last for up to 50 years when well maintained, while others have a maximum longevity of 15 years. 

Budget Considerations

Commercial roofs can cost a lot to install, so it’s tempting to try and cut costs where you can. Don’t forget, your roof is an important long-term investment, so think further than the initial costs.

You should also consider factors like the frequency and cost of maintenance and repairs, warranties, and the longevity of the roofing material

Cheaper roofing materials, while cost-effective, may cost more to maintain over their lifespan, and you’ll need to replace them sooner. More expensive options often have added cost-saving benefits, like superior energy efficiency or the potential for recoating. 

Which Roof Material Suits Your Building? 

When you’ve got a clear idea of what you need, you can consider what’s available on the market today. These are the most popular types of commercial roofing materials nowadays.

Built-Up Commercial Roofing Systems

Built-up roofing, or BUR, consists of alternating sheets of fiberglass asphalt sheeting and bitumen, topped with a layer of heavy bitumen.

Bitumen roofs are fire-resistant and can last for up to 20 years, but a built-up roof can be an expensive option since installation takes longer than other commercial roofing materials.

Single-Ply Membrane Commercial Roofing Systems

These roofing systems, sometimes referred to as rubber roofing, are hardy, flexible, and quick to install. There are three main types to choose from: 

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC

This lightweight, highly reflective material helps cut down on your energy bills. It’s resistant to fire, chemical emissions, punctures, tears, and UV light.   

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

TPO roofing is eco-friendly and 100% recyclable, and TPO has all the benefits of PVC, too. This type of roof is relatively new on the market, but when well-maintained, can have a life expectancy anywhere between 20 and 30 years.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

EPDM roofing is a synthetic rubber roofing membrane, so it’s a flexible and versatile option that fits any shape or low-slope roof. They’re usually black and highly suited to cooler areas, but you can convert them into cool roofs, too.

Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems

These flexible roofs are made from sheets of asphalt mixed with a chemical polymer. They’re either self-adhesive or stuck together with hot-mopped asphalt on installation.  

Once it’s installed and sealed with a hot torch, it’s impervious to wind, hail, fire, and extreme temperatures.

Metal Roofing

An attractive but expensive option, metal roofs come in a variety of materials and colors. Due to the corrosive properties of most metals, many metal systems require a protective coating, which drastically impacts durability.  

Metal roofs have extremely high fire resistance, are resist tears and punctures and have one of the longest lifespans of any commercial roofing material.

Liquid Applied Roofing

Contractors pour this mix of resin and polyester onsite, so it flows into every nook and cranny of your roof, creating a leak-proof finish. This roofing solution is often used to extend the life of a structurally sound roofing system and can help eliminate points of failure.

Get Trusted Insight on Your Commercial Roof

It’s difficult for a business owner to decide on all the above factors without professional guidance. With all the types of roofing out there, the best way to choose the ultimate roofing solution for your precise needs is by consulting a seasoned roofing contractor.

At TEMA Roofing, we consider every factor as part of the bigger picture and help you make an informed, long-term decision about your next roof system. Get in touch with us for assistance with choosing the perfect roof material for your operation.