Although commercial and residential roofs have the same purpose, which is to protect the property, they are different from the material used to install and the installation method. Gravel, tar, single ply, and concrete are a few materials that make up commercial roofing systems, while concrete tiles are typically for residential roofs.

Although it may appear as though a roof is just a roof, roof installation requires professional roofing personnel and the use of quality materials since damage on the roof is expensive and could lead to loss of property value.

Read through this article if you want to learn more about commercial roofing.

What is Commercial Roofing?

Commercial roofing uses different materials used to cover roofs of commercial construction as a way of protecting them. This type of roofing is becoming popular by the day, and most homeowners prefer using it. Commercial roofs are light; hence it requires minimal to no maintenance, and it is also very versatile and durable.  Commercial roofs also save energy by lessening consumption.

Types of Commercial Roofs

There are different types of commercial roofing systems. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages as listed below:

Metal roofing

This is a popular type of commercial roof. Metal commercial roofs found in different materials such as:

  • Tin
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Stainless steel
  • Corrugated galvanized steel
  • Metal tile sheets
  • Silicon coated steel
  • Stone-coated steel
  • Aggregates of aluminum

This type of roofing has a protective layer and has high fire-resistant ratings, which protect them from damage, making them durable. The protective layer also helps to prevent the roofing from damage caused by direct exposure to sunlight and rusting. You can also be able to build a viable design for your house.

BUR Membrane/ Built-up Roofing

BUR, which is another name for the built-up roofing, is made of gravel and tar. It has several layers, which make it more durable. If you are looking for a commercial roofing system that is affordable and durable, BUR is the best choice for you.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Some people refer to the modified bitumen roofing system as the mod-bit roofing. It is made up of layered bitumen and reinforced roof materials. It is tightened to the roof like a two-ply system as a warrant of stability and protection. Compared to other commercial roofing systems, mod-bit roofing has improved tensile strength and is easy to maintain. If you predict a lot of activities, this is an excellent choice for you.

Thermoplastic or PVC & TPO Roofing System

 If you are looking for a second-generation application, the PVC and TPO are the best options. Some of their characteristics include:

  • Highly reflective
  • Most bacterial and chemicals growth
  • Resistant to pictures and UV rays.
  • They are lightweight.

These commercial roofing systems are best for companies that realize their oils through ventilation, like hotels and restaurants.

Thermoset/ EPDM Membrane

This roofing system is easy to maintain, long-lasting, and versatile compared to other roofing systems. It is fastened on the rooftops as a single-ply. Its installation process is simple, and it strongly resists ultraviolet light and ozone.

Green Roofing System

This roofing system is becoming popular by the day due to its sustainability. They are environment friendly and can improve their efficiency.

The Essential Aspects of Commercial Roofing

There are three common aspects of commercial roofing, which include:

Roof Installation

Commercial roofing installations vary from one way to another. From the pricing, materials used difficulty level, to labor hours. Finding a professional contractor for your commercial roofing is essential to have your installation appropriately done within a budget and time.

Roof Inspection

According to professional engineers, commercial roofing contractors should perform inspections at least twice a year, during spring and fall. This is to detect any damages and repair them before severe weather causes more damage. The following is what they should look for while inspecting:

  • Tears and gaps in penetrations
  • Tears and gaps in flashing
  • Any blockage that is affecting the water drainage
  • Proper seals on the vents
  • Additional damage signs

Additional details that could be looked at during inspection are:

  • Counter flashing — This helps to find out the condition of metals. In the face-mounted counter flashing, it is essential to determine the state of caulking and attachment.
  • Drains — It is also essential to determine the condition of all the scuppers and drains. Make sure that they are tight and that all the waste is being drained.
  • Vent stacks — Examine metal to ensure that it has not deteriorated and that the caulking is still in place and is well adhered to.
  • Pitch pans — Ensure that you examine that the pitch pan holds water and that the metal is not pulled from the flashing sheet. Also, ensure that the metal is still in good shape and not cracked. If the pitch fails to hold water, reload it with the correct active filler.
  • Rooftop equipment — To avoid leaks and other roof problems, ensure you of signs of deterioration in skylights, air conditioners, ducts, and ventilators.
  • Walls — It is essential to ensure that walls stay in a watertight condition since walls are the primary water intrusion in buildings.

Roof Warning Signs

Although a roof is seen as a simple piece of the building, it plays a crucial role in safeguarding it in various ways. En single damage on the roof could later result in more severe damage if it is left unattended. Professional roofing experts will make a point of inspecting the oof regularly and stay alert for the following signs:

  • Bubbles on the roof cover — Most of the materials used in commercial roofing are flexible. However, if there is excess moisture, it is likely to turn into bubbles, which could cause roof leakage or wind damage.
  • Excess stagnant water Having stagnant water on the roof for long could cause dangerous damages like leakage, leading to molding on the roof. The stagnant moisture can make the support beams under the roof weak.
  • Flashing gaps As the flashing stips expand and contract because of weather changes, it may cause the roof to cover the top in case of strong wind and rain.

To have your commercial roof lasting extended, proper maintenance is essential. Some of the maintenance practices include:

  • Repairing the HVAC and flashing systems
  • Attending to any water damage, leaks, or tears
  • Ensuring the roof materials are in a good state.
  • Getting your roof ready for each season

Routine Repairs for Commercial Roofs

If the repairs are minor, they could be done immediately after the inspection, but in most cases, repairs are scheduled before. The repairs done directly are the quick fixes which, if left unattended, could cause severe damages.

Contractors often use flexible, mastic, and high-grade adhesive materials to repair cracks or gaps that are formed over time.

Through an inspection, contractors can determine a loose flashing and perform a quick fix to prevent it from causing leakage. If the repairs are done thoroughly, it increases the durability of the roof.

You should also avoid installing equipment on the rooftop like antennas without consulting the manufacturer. Only make roof penetrations after the manufacturer has approved, and an experienced roofing contractor should do it. If you install without the permission of the manufacturer, you might temper the roof warranty.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Roofing Systems

Each roofing system has its advantages and disadvantages. Some of which include:

Advantages of Commercial Flat Roofs

Since flat roofs use fewer materials because of the few square feet to be covered, they are cost-effective compared to other roofing systems like the pitched roofs' steep slope.

Because the installation is quick and easy, it also affects your future commercial roof repair price. As the building owner, you have various colors and materials to choose from, although most people prefer to use white. This is because white has reflecting features which help in reducing energy waste from the cooling costs.

Another advantage of commercial flat roofs is that satellite and solar panels are easy to install, and air conditioners can be lifted to the roof from the ground.

Flat roofs are also easy to clean and maintain since the maintenance people can walk easily on a flat roof despite the weather.

Disadvantages of Flat Roofs

Poor drainage is the most common disadvantage of flat roofs. Stagnant water can damage roofing materials easily within a short period. With pitched roofs, there is no need to be concerned about drainage because of its roofing style.

If the water damages the building materials, leakage is likely to start, and the leaking water could damage the building's inner part.

Flat roofs require installation and repairs by a professional and experienced roofing engineer to avoid damaging the ceiling.

Advantages of Commercial Pitched Roofs

Proper drainage is the most common benefit for pitched roofs. The slope allows water and snow to run off immediately. The more vertical the roof structure is, the easier it is for water and other substances to drain off. This means that the chance of water building up and later causing damage and leaks on the roof are zero.

A steep roof rarely has damages; hence, the repair cost is less compared to a flat roof.

Disadvantages of Pitched Roofs

The major disadvantage of a pitched roof is that the steep incline makes it hard to carry out the repair and maintenance.

The installation cost is also higher since lifting the materials to the roof and moving around the top is challenging and risky.

Pros of Commercial Low-Sloped Roofs

Since low-sloped roofs are also pitched, they allow water to drain off immediately, reducing the risks of water damaging the roof. Low sloped ceilings drain off the water and set a direction to where the water should drain, for instance, in drains or valleys. The roofing areas are also less, which means less roofing material will be required and less work than pitch roofs, which translates into less money spent on the roofing contractors.

Low slope roofs are also easy to clean and repair as compared to high pitched roofs. Since the repair and maintenance are easy to carry out, the cost of the repairs become less. Since these roofs do not have drainage problems, the chance of repairing or damage issues is less.

The installation and maintenance of satellite dishes, solar panels, and air conditioners are easy compared to high pitch roofs.

Additionally, the materials used on flat commercial roofs can also be utilized in these types of roofs. For instance, the bitumen, TPO, rubber rolled roofing, modified bitumen, and EPDM. Note that since modified bitumen is thicker, its warranty is longer.

Cons of Low-sloped Roofs

The major disadvantage is that the snow that takes time to melt can add weight to the roof leading to damage and leakage.,

The Pros of Commercial Metal Retrofit Roofing

The cost of reconstructing your metal retrofit roof is among the typical advantages of these types of commercial roofing systems. This material is affordable, and it is also very durable.

While being installed, the metal roof offers protection to the inner part of the building to move on with your daily tasks as the construction takes place. This gives protection to your employees and ensures productivity.

Retrofit roofing is eco friendly. Since minimal repair is required, like removing the rusts and other roof damage, retrofitting is environmentally friendly. You can also re-use your current roof insulation by retrofitting over a metal roof. It helps to regulate the temperature in the building and saves on energy costs.

Cons of Metal Retrofit Roofs

Adding a metal retrofit roof on top of your metal roof helps your roof last up to 20 years. However, this costs quite a significant amount of money from purchasing the material to the installation.

Advantages of  TPO Membrane Materials

TPO is the commonly used single-ply roofing membrane. It has been recording an increase in its sales every other year.

The most common advantage of TPO is it is cheap upfront compared to other commercial roofing systems.

EPDM and PVC are always compared with the Thermoplastic polyolefin because they share similar properties.

These membranes are flexible, and they last Along, making the edge to edge custom cheaper, more comfortable, and more effective. Due to the flexibility, materials can adapt and stretch to the setting and movement of your building.

Additionally, the material is eco-friendly and recyclable. The membrane does not also cause water stagnation; it allows water to run off efficiently. It is also light in weight; hence it causes less pressure to the building than metal roofing.

Roofing engineers can shape the materials to unique designs due to their flexibility. This membrane also has a bright color, which helps to reduce heat in the building.

Cons of TPO Membranes

Since many contractors do not use TPO membrane materials, most new contractors and house owners question TPO's value and durability compared to EPDM materials.

Advantages of Commercial PVC Membrane Materials

Its longevity and durability are some of the advantages of PVC membranes. PVC membranes are also flame retardant. When tested for flammability with other membranes, it appeared less-flammable compared to the rest. If you have used PVC membranes on your building, the Duro-Last PVC will act as the fire extinguisher in case of a fire.

PVC is also resistant to chemical, wind, moisture, tear, and great puncture-resistant. It also saves energy due to its bright colors and its thickness.  Which then translates to reduced cost on cooling and heating charges.

Disadvantages of PVC Membrane

Compared to EPDM and TPO, PVC is a bit costly but not as much. To some, this is a disadvantage, but the amount is for the energy efficiency, durability, fire resistance, and warranty of the PVC.

Advantages of EPDM Membranes

EPDM, which also means ethylene propylene diene Methylene is hard to find its rubber roofs that are white-coated since most are always black; the white-colored top reflects the sun rays off the rooftop.

EPDM also stretches, which means it can be shaped differently and can fit a large space.

It has dark colors, which makes it great for cooler climates. And the rubber offers total protection from harsh weather and any other damages.

Additionally, house owners have insulation options to choose from.

Disadvantages of EPDM Membranes

The EPDM membrane cannot withstand hot climates. The high temperatures make the membrane shrink causing tear and leakage.

Installation, repair, and maintenance are essential if you want your membranes that last long; that is why you should hire professional roof contractors.

It is essential in the case of a Firstpost to always consult a roofing expert before choosing a commercial roofing system. They will assess your commercial building and advise you on the best method and material to use, depending on the building's location and design.

Find a Commercial Roofing Expert Near Me

The installation, maintenance, and routine inspection of commercial roofing are not as complicated as finding the right expert for the work. Our professional roofing personnel at Los Angeles Roof Experts are highly trained and skilled to determine your commercial building's most specific needs. Do not let roofing stress take up your time and energy while we can offer you help. Speak to us today at 818-928-8374 to learn more about commercial roofing.