The 7 Best Commercial Roof Types For Your Business

Have you ever noticed that the roofs on commercial buildings are almost always a lighter color than the roofs on our houses? Sunlight is actually the greatest enemy of a large commercial roof.

Not only does the beating sun warm up the inside of the building, but it also damages the roof over time. This leads to more needed maintenance and repairs.

Commercial roofs have many unique needs. The roofing industry has found that the right design and materials can help a commercial roof survive the stresses of sunlight as well as the other elements.

Read on to learn all about the roof types that are best for commercial buildings, and how you can find the right choice for your business!

Differences Between Residential and Commercial Roofing Material

Most of us are familiar with the sloped roofs of residential housing. This type of roof is known as “pitched,” and works well on smaller buildings. The angle of the roof means that water and snow slid off easily, so the roof doesn’t have to hold as much weight in order to maintain its integrity.

However, the larger the roof, the harder it is to maintain the slope. That’s the main reason that commercial roof types are generally flat.

While you may not be able to tell from a distance, even “flat” commercial roofs are actually angled to have a small slope. Many large commercial buildings have huge, mostly flat roofs. The flatness of the roof helps, but these large roofs are still more vulnerable to high winds, potential leaks, and partial collapse.

On top of the problems of size, commercial roofs often have extra doors and exits installed in them. These can vary from exits, access routes, ventilation entrances and more. Lastly, commercial roofs often need to be able to support more weight than a commercial roof.

For all of these reasons, commercial roof types require extra maintenance to keep them functioning and strong. The best way to keep large commercial roofs functioning smoothly is to ensure that they are built by skilled professionals with the right materials from the very beginning.

1. BUR Membrane

BUR stands for “build up roofing.” It’s a basic roof material made out of tar and gravel.

The BUR membrane roof has been something of a standard in commercial roofing for a long time. It’s been tried and tested over many years, and consistently provides great strength and resilience. On top of that, it is also highly cost-effective!

The more layers in a BUR membrane roof, the more robust it can be. Depending on your budget and on the precise strength requirements of your roof, you can alter the number of layers to better meet your needs.

2. Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing, like BUR roofing, comes in layers. Unlike BUR roofing, they are not as flexible in the number of layers used. Most modified bitumen roofing comes in two layers.

The bitumen in this roof material type does most of the “heavy lifting,” or provides most of the strength. It is carried by special roof fabrics to make sure it is distributed correctly across the whole roof. 

These bitumen fabrics can be cut out in large sheets and laid across your roof. This whole process makes modified bitumen roofs easy to install and maintain.

Modified bitumen roofing is a great choice for roofs that are subject to a lot of foot traffic. They have a higher tensile strength than almost any other roofing material.

3. Thermoset Roof Membrane

Thermoset roof membranes are a great choice for climates that tend towards cool or cold. Roofs shrink and warp in cold climates, so rigid materials can break in the cold air. Thermoset roof membranes are a highly flexible material.

While other roof types might need to be painted a lighter shade to reflect extra sunlight, thermoset roof membranes are naturally lighter and partially reflective. They are even resistant to many types of harch chemicals.

Thermoset roof membranes are sometimes called EPDM roofs. They are another type of roof that is easy to install and maintain. They come in a single layer and are made mostly of rubber.

4. Thermoplastic Roof Membrane

Thermoplastic roof membranes are often made of PVC plastic, the same material found in many household pipes. Like the PVC piping in your home, this roof is extremely light and is also light in color, helping it to reflect sunlight. It is naturally extremely waterproof.

Thermoplastic roof membranes are a common choice for businesses that make and serve food. The qualities of the plastics used help them handle the oils of food production with ease.

5. Garden Roofing System

Garden roofs are a great choice if you’re worried about the health of the environment. Not only do they benefit the environment, they are also beautiful and energy efficient.

That energy efficiency makes them an investment. The longer you have a garden roof, the more you’ll save on heating and air conditioning costs. Over time, this roof will pay for itself in beauty, performance, and in lowered energy bills.

6. Zinc Roofing

Zinc is a metal commonly used for devices that require corrosion resistance. It is also applied to steel to help steel resist corrosion.

While not as popular in the United States, zinc roofs are extremely common in Europe. It is durable and long-lasting, an ideal choice for long-lasting businesses.

7. Copper Roofing

Copper roofing has a naturally rich color and beautiful shine. It is expensive to install, but can last for over 100 years. Metal roofs in general are highly resistant to fire and pests.

Find the Best Roof Types for Your Business

We hope you learned something helpful about the roof types appropriate for commercial buildings in this article. To learn more about how you can find qualified professionals to meet all of your roofing needs, get in touch with us here.

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