Commercial Roofing Terminology That You Should Know

Fort Wayne commercial roofing terminology

It is expected that the roofing industry will grow to $5.3 billion in the coming years. It’s therefore important for those involved in the industry to understand what it entails.

The industry of commercial roofing has several technical terms. Most customers are not familiar with some of the terminologies. During inspection reports or when talking to contractors, you may feel confused.

However, this article elaborates some terms used in commercial roofing. You will now understand your contractor when they explain some problems in the roofs of commercial buildings.

Below are some commercial roofing terminologies that you should know.

1. Aggregate

The term is used to refer to granular material that is mineral-based. These include gravel, rock, or stone that is broken down into pieces. Aggregate is used for surfacing in the commercial roofing industry.

Some roof systems use it as ballast.

2. Ballasted

Some roof systems use a loose aggregate material known as ballast to hold the membrane of the roof in place instead of fasteners and glues. Such systems are referred to as ballasted roof systems.

The force of gravity and mass of the aggregate are strong enough to protect the roof and ensure it’s leak-free for a long time. Such roofs are not often installed nowadays. However, some commercial buildings still use them.
Skilled craftsmen are needed to maintain the ballasted roof systems.

3. Built-up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing uses layers of various materials to obtain waterproofness and durability. BUR is a semi-flexible and continuous membrane consisting of fabric layers known as plies alternated with layers of aggregate, bitumen, or tar.

BUR is popular in commercial buildings. It’s considered among the top cost-effective roofing systems.

4. Single-Ply Membrane

This is a roofing membrane applied only on one layer. Some common single-ply membranes are thermoplastic systems and EPDM systems.

5. Cover Board

It’s used as an insulation board in the single-ply membrane and other roofing systems. A barrier is placed between the membrane and the roof deck. A cover board offers firm protection against forces such as external fires and hail.

Besides, it strengthens the roof such that it cannot be damaged by foot traffic.

6. Elastomer

The elastomer has the same meaning as elastic. It’s a material that has the ability to return back to its dimensions and shape after stretching.

7. Thermoset/EPDM

EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It’s the chemical name for the single-ply rubber material that is used in flat-ironed commercial roofing. EPDM roofing systems are also known as Thermoset systems.

Such roofs are easy to install, versatile, and durable. The material is resistant to thermal stress and can’t be reshaped by heating.

8. PVC & Thermoplastic/TPO Systems

Thermoplastic material is one that hardens on cooling and softens when heated. TPO is an abbreviation for thermoplastic polyolefin while PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride.

Both PVC and TPO are resistant to chemicals such as bacteria, animal fats, and oils. They are also resistant to punctures and UV light. They also weather well.
TPO and PVC systems are efficient for structures that emit oil to the outside such as restaurants.

9. Exposure

Exposure, in the roofing industry, is the part of the membrane that is not covered by a course or ply next to it. It is the top layer of the material used for roofing that is left exposed to the elements after installing.

10. Felt

It’s a flexible, fiber-based sheet material that is layered in the BUR systems. Felt fibers are made from various materials such as vegetable matter, wood, polyester, and glass. It’s absorbent and can be coated or saturated with bitumen, asphalt, or tar for waterproofing.

11. Flashing

Flashing are components used to seal the edges of roof systems in expansion joints, drains, skylights, and valleys.

12. Galvanized Steel

This is steel that is coated with zinc to prevent corrosion and rusting. Metal roofing is either made of higher-cost aluminum or galvanized steel.

13. International Building Code (IBC)

IBC is a set of construction standards set by the International Code Council. It applies to all types of construction except for the low-density residential buildings.

14. Membrane

It’s the semi-flexible or flexible material used to cover the roof and that is primarily waterproof. A membrane is made of one material or many of them laminated together.

15. HVAC

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Leaks often occur in areas where HVAC equipment is placed. HVAC connects to the system components located inside the building through the structure of the roof.

16. Ice Dam

Ice formations between cold and warm roof surfaces are known as an ice dam. They form when recently melted ice and snow refreezes during winter. They eventually cause leaks in the buildings thus they should be prevented.

17. Vents

All buildings should be able to exchange outdoor and indoor air. Roof vents refer to devices or openings that allow air to move from an enclosed structure. Vents should allow vapor and air to escape.

However, they should not permit moisture to enter the structure. Water infiltration has the same effect as leaks and should be avoided as much as possible.

18. Planishing

Planishing is a modern metalworking technique consisting of smoothing and shaping sheet metal on a stake. It is mostly used as a specialty roofing terminology. Commercial roofing is also a specialty and requires repair and care.

19. Preventative Maintenance

This means taking proper care of the roof of your commercial building to ensure to gives more useful life.

20. R-Value

It’s said that the higher the number of the R-Value, the better. R-Value refers to the measure of the resistance to heat flow or thermal resistance of a material. Practically, it denotes the specific thickness of a construction type or insulating material.

Communicate Better With Contractors by Understanding Commercial Roofing Terminology

Most of the terms used in the roofing world define various roofing materials. Some are words that have different meanings in other settings. Also, some terminologies are in the form of abbreviations.

It’s now easy to understand some of the commercial roofing terminologies that you previously found difficult.

Visit our page for more information on these terminologies.

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