Guide to Different Types of Commercial Roof Materials

When embarking on a commercial building project, the type of roofing material you choose is a crucial decision that will impact durability, energy efficiency, and overall aesthetic. With different choices available, understanding commercial roofing materials can help you make an informed choice.

Understanding Commercial Roofing

When selecting your new roof material, it is important to consider a few things first. Certain building parameters and environmental constraints may limit the options that will perform best for your property.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Commercial Roof Materials

There are several important factors to evaluate when selecting a commercial roofing system:

  • Climate and weather: The temperature variation, wind, snowfall, and rainfall levels must be accounted for.
  • Roof slope and pitch: Gentler or steeper roofs may dictate material options.
  • Building size and height: Larger surface areas have different demands.
  • Foot traffic: Some roofs need to withstand more foot traffic for maintenance access.
  • Energy efficiency needs: Some materials offer better insulation properties.
  • Fire rating: Some materials comply better with fire codes.
  • Acoustic properties: Absorbing sound may be a consideration.
  • Aesthetics: The roof can impact the building's appearance.
  • Cost: The budget will factor into material selection.
  • Sustainability: Green roofs with plants or solar panel integration may be desirable.

Different Types of Commercial Roof Materials

There are a variety of commercial roofing materials to select from, each with its advantages, cost factors, and ideal applications:

TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) Roofing

TPO is a single-ply synthetic rubber material that offers flexibility, durability, and energy efficiency. Key attributes include:

  • Seam-welded sheets provide water tightness.
  • High reflectivity improves energy saving.
  • Minimal seams compared to multi-ply options.
  • Withstands ponding water well.
  • Resists bacteria and fungus growth.
  • Lower lifetime cost than some alternatives.

TPO is a common choice for low-slope commercial buildings. It comes in white, gray, or black colors.

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) Roofing System

EPDM is a popular seamless rubber roofing material with the following merits:

  • Durable flexibility tolerates expansion and contraction.
  • Seamless sheets mean fewer leak points.
  • It is relatively lightweight compared to other commercial options.
  • Easy installation for contractors.
  • More economical upfront cost than many alternatives.

EPDM works well for flat or low-sloped rooftops. It comes in black color options primarily. It is an affordable, common maintenance choice suitable for many commercial buildings.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Roofing

PVC roofing systems are well-known for their strength, durability, and fire resistance. Often used on flat or low-slope commercial roofs, they also resist chemical exposure, making them a perfect choice for restaurants and other businesses that emit oils and fats.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing, widely used for its longevity and durability, offers beautiful aesthetics beyond its functional benefits. Plus, it's from environmentally-friendly materials, perfect for businesses conscious about their carbon footprint.

Consider weather phenomena that may require thicker roof materials, or how it may affect a metal roof. Hail and wind are definite considerations for metal roof materials vs other types.

Modified Bitumen

Another excellent choice for commercial properties is a modified bitumen roof. It provides superior waterproofing features and flexibility in extreme temperatures. Its simple installation process reduces labor costs, too.

This type of low-slope roofing is made of polymerized rubber or plastic mixed with asphalt and then fiberglass for reinforcement. This is an excellent flexible option that can be kept up with easily.

Built-Up Roof (BUR) Systems

Looking for a tried and tested roofing type? Built-up roof (BUR) systems are your go-to. Constructed with multiple layers, BURs offer outstanding protection against water, UV rays, and wear and tear.

Layers of asphalt are applied between ply sheets for a sandwich-like effect that protects your roof from debris and water.

Choosing the right contractor for your commercial roof repairs and replacements can be hard. Take a look at this guide to help you choose the perfect partnership for your roof contract work in the future.

Learn More

Choosing the Right Commercial Roof Material for Your Business

Selecting the optimal roofing system for a commercial building is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration of multiple factors. The right commercial roofing material can provide decades of reliable weather protection, while the wrong choice can lead to leaks, damage, and costly repairs down the line.

Considerations in Selecting the Right Roof Material

When evaluating commercial roofing materials, building owners and property managers should take into account considerations such as:

  • Climate and weather conditions: Extreme heat, cold, heavy snow, high winds, and other local weather patterns will impact material suitability and performance.
  • Slope and shape of the roof: Low-slope roofs and those with complex geometry may benefit from single-ply membranes like TPO or PVC instead of shingles.
  • Building height and accessibility: Tall or hard-to-reach roofs favor materials that require little maintenance, like metal, over those needing frequent upkeep, like built-up roofs.
  • Roof traffic: Roofs subjected to regular foot traffic require durable materials rated for this, like PVC membranes.
  • Energy efficiency goals: White thermoplastic membranes and metal roofing can minimize heat absorption compared to dark asphalt shingles.
  • Fire and wind resistance codes: Materials like metal rate highly for these properties compared to those like wood shingles in areas with strict building codes.
  • Weight restrictions: Heavy materials like clay tile may exceed load limits, making lightweight polymer membranes a better fit.
  • Desired lifespan: More durable options like thermoplastic membranes can last over 30 years with proper installation.
  • Sustainability certifications: Reflective membranes and vegetated options help achieve LEED and other green building standards.
  • Installation and maintenance costs: Labor-intensive built-up roofs have higher upfront expenses than prefab metal panels or shingles.
  • Aesthetics: Visible roofs may warrant attractive options like ceramic tile instead of bare asphalt.

A roofing professional can help analyze all relevant factors to determine suitable materials for a commercial project. They can also explain different roofing system options' pros, cons, and tradeoffs.

Consult the Experts at Trinity Construction Services for Commercial Roof Material Advice

If you have a roof replacement or repair on your horizon, explore all of your options for roof materials. With Trinity Construction Services, you can rest assured your roof will be quality and cost-effective. Don’t settle for subpar material choices. Contact us today for a free consultation.