Types of Roofing Materials

When it comes to commercial roofing, there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits -all approach. Much like your company, you can’t just accept what everyone else does and go with it. Your business is adapted for what you and your customers expect. With that in mind, the material used for a commercial roof installation should fit your needs and requirements.

Single Ply Roofing

Commercial roofing membranes made from a compound synthetic material are often categorized as single ply. They are very strong, flexible, and easy to install, and are extremely durable. As a result, they have become a popular item for commercial roofs. The material is thick and has a 30 plus year lifespan. This single ply membrane is divided into three classes: thermosets, thermoplastics, and modified bitumens.

Cityscape View

Thermosets: This material is made from a rubber polymer, with Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) being the most popular. EPDM is also known as rubber roofing. This material is proven to withstand sunlight and common chemicals ordinarily found on commercial roofs. Its versatility allows the commercial roof installation to be adhered, fastened, or even loosely laid down on the roof. Its usefulness is why EPDM roof installation is a popular choice.

Thermoplastics: This membrane is plastic based, with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) the most commonly used material. They are identified as needing heat or chemical welding to ensure a proper fit. PVC is customarily made to include a protectant layer, usually fiberglass, to increase the strength.

Modified Bitumens: This hybrid roofing membrane combines high tech formulation with traditional techniques used in what is known as “built-up roofing.” The term built-up roofing goes back over 100 years to the old tar and gravel roofs. They are comprised of layers of asphalt, with a rubber mix to increase flexibility.

All of these materials are effective, but there are certain aspects to consider such as price and the type of building. Therefore, we recommend getting a commercial roof inspection to determine which single ply roofing material is the best fit.

Elastomeric Coatings

This is a popular item to extend the length of any commercial roof. It was created in the 1970s as a response to changing temperatures compromising the integrity of commercial roofs. In summer months the roofing material swells, and it shrinks in the winter months. Excessive expanding and contracting of a commercial roof shortens its lifespan because of the constant wear and tear which is mostly in built-up roofing. Elastomeric coatings adapt to the weather to prevent the formation of cracks.

Slate and Tile

Slate roof installation is usually reserved for upscale homes because of its natural beauty and distinctive appearance. Not only that, but the slate is very fire resistant and does not rot, though it can break. Due to this, the lifespan of this type of roof is very long: usually around 50 plus years. The downside to slate is its cost and weight. Slate has a half-century or more life span, so it is typically more expensive. It is also the heaviest type of roofing. After a slate roof is installed, it complicates gutter cleaning, and maintenance is required more often by specialists. The roof structure must be designed to be structurally sound up to 10 lbs. of weight per square foot.

Another popular option is to go with ceramic roofing tiles, which also offer durability and fire resistance. They are high quality and typically last 50 to 70 years. The downside to ceramic tiles is they are weather-dependent according to geographic location. Ceramic roofing tiles are not suitable for areas with fluctuating weather patterns, and they are fragile. High winds can damage them, and they are so fragile even walking on them can cause some damage.

Regardless of the type of roofing material you select, there are pros and cons to all of them. Your best bet, when you receive a roof inspection, is to ask the contractor what he would recommend based on your house’s location and climate.