Commercial roofing system with PVC construction.

When researching the best and most cost-effective roof for your commercial building, you, as the building owner, need to consider several factors. Price is an issue, but you also need to think about energy efficiency and the longevity of the roofing materials. Keeping these criteria in mind saves you money in the long run. So let’s look at the most durable commercial roofing systems when you’re considering a new roof!

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular for commercial and public buildings. Metal roofs are more long-lasting compared to all available commercial roofing materials. They have excellent fire resistance, which is always an important safety consideration. While not entirely maintenance-free, metal roofing systems are low maintenance; with regular inspections, you can expect a metal roof to last for up to 50 years (depending on local weather conditions) before you need a roof replacement. Plus, metal roofs provide great curb appeal while protecting your business.

However, there are some downsides to metal roofs. First off, they are typically the most expensive of all of the roofing options. Secondly, metal roofs aren’t a feasible roofing solution for commercial buildings with flat roofs. Only buildings with low slope roofs or steep slope roofs are candidates for metal roofs.

Built-Up Roofing Systems

Built-up roofing systems (commonly referred to as BURs) are one of the oldest types of commercial roofing used today. They are called “built-up” because of how they are constructed. Alternating layers of bitumen (asphalt) and fabric reinforced with fiberglass are laid down, one on top of the other, “building up” a roof coating. The entire roof is then topped with gravel or a final coating of bitumen.

The bitumen provides excellent waterproofing capability, while the multiple layers help to keep the interior of the building secure. If the topmost layer of bitumen roofing breaks down, the remaining layers remain. Its strength makes BUR extremely puncture-resistant but still flexible enough to allow for natural contraction and expansion of the building.

The lifespan of a BUR system is between 20 and 30 years, as long as they are properly maintained. A major drawback of a built-up roof is its weight, so they are not appropriate for all commercial flat roofing applications. Business owners need to be aware of whether or not their building can handle the weight of a built-up roof.

Single-Ply Roofs

Single-ply roofing systems have become commonplace as roofing technology has improved over the decades. A single-ply roof is constructed of sheets of synthetic, manufactured material, called a “membrane.” Since these single-ply membranes are manufactured with stringent quality controls, there is usually a warranty against damage due to manufacturer defects. Be sure to ask your roofing company about any warranties associated with these types of roofing membranes. Single-ply roofing materials fall into 3 main categories:

TPO Roofing

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) is a combination of different types of synthetic rubber that have been chemically fused with a fabric scrim for increased strength. TPO is bright white, so it reflects the sun’s UV rays and is great for energy efficiency. With proper maintenance, TPO roofs last from 10-20 years.

EPDM Roofing

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer. EPDM isn’t just limited to commercial roofs; you can find it on residential patios and deck roofs. Like TPO, it’s lightweight, durable, and flexible. You can expect an EPDM roof to last around 20-25 years as long as it’s maintained.

PVC Roofing

You’ve probably heard of PVC or polyvinyl chloride. Due to its more flexible nature, it makes for an easier install than TPO or EPDM, but it doesn’t have quite as much puncture resistance. Keep this in mind if your building has trees nearby that could drop branches onto your roof during high winds. It has a lifespan of around 25-30 years.

Different types of roofing materials have different levels of durability, but not every roofing material is right for every structure. That’s why you need to talk to a roofing contractor who has the roofing industry experience to give you the best advice about what kind of material is right for your commercial building. When you speak to the experts at TEMA Roofing Services, you get information that comes from decades’ worth of experience installing, maintaining, and repairing commercial roofs. When you’re ready for a durable commercial roofing system, call TEMA Roofing today!