What Is the Best Construction for Flat Roofing

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Flat roof construction has become synonymous with commercial roofs, becoming the standard for most commercial and business properties. However, numerous factors influence business owners and contractors to opt for flat roofs.

For example, flat roofs provide ample space for installing various mechanical systems, such as outdoor air conditioning units or compressors. And this is only one reason why flat roofs emerged as the most rational choice for commercial building roofing.

When it comes to replacing your flat roof, selecting the appropriate material is a crucial decision. To make this process easier, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the optimal materials for flat roofs. While numerous options are available, certain flat roofing materials truly excel.

In this blog post, we will explore the top construction materials for flat roofing for commercial buildings; therefore, let’s dive into the flat roofs’ details and their construction materials.

What Is the Best Construction for Flat Roofing?

Four types of construction materials for flat roofing stand out:

  1. Single-Ply Membranes (including EPDM membrane roofing, PVC membrane roofing, and TPO membrane roofing)
  2. Built-Up Roofing,
  3. Modified Bitumen, and
  4. Metal roof.

However, we won’t simply limit ourselves to a mere list. Instead, read on to discover specific details about each of these materials commonly used for flat roofing.

Single-Ply Membranes

When it comes to single-ply membrane systems, there are three most common types: EPDM, PVC, and TPO.

EPDM Membrane Roof

Having been in the market for approximately six decades, EPDM stands as a tested roofing material that has withstood the trials of time. EPDM, known as Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, represents a thermoset substance and can be described as a synthetic compound resembling rubber. It is a single-ply material, typically available in black or white variations.

Its popularity among business owners stems from its straightforward installation process and remarkable resistance to ozone and ultraviolet light. Moreover, EPDM roofs bring forth numerous benefits, including resistance to certain solvents and acids. Also, EPDM membranes generally exhibit a lifespan ranging from 20 to 25 years, contingent upon factors such as maintenance, location, and environmental conditions.

PVC Membrane Roof

PVC, short for polyvinyl chloride, is a thermoplastic material primarily designed for flat or low-slope roofs. It is manufactured in rolls and applied onto the roofing structure. Similar to EPDM, PVC has been available in the market for quite some time, dating back to the 1960s.

This material is renowned for its energy efficiency, boasting high reflectivity that deflects heat from the roof surface. This leads to more efficient usage of electricity and significant savings in cooling costs. PVC membrane roofs typically have an average lifespan of 20 years, depending on weather conditions and location.

TPO Membrane Roof

TPO, short for Thermoplastic Polyolefin, is a thermoplastic material that combines the advantages of EPDM and PVC. It consists of a synthetic layer blended with a reinforcing material known as a scrim. TPO single-ply membranes, widely used in commercial roofing, offer cost savings and other benefits. For example, its flexibility and durability make it a popular choice for industrial and commercial roofs.

TPO stands out with its white color and comes in various sheet sizes. It can chemically adhere or be mechanically attached like EPDM, forming a strong bond. Heat-fused seams create virtually seamless roofing.

Unlike EPDM, TPO typically lasts 15 to 20 years, and this difference is not the only one between those two materials, but there are differences in performance, durability, and cost.

Built-Up Roofing

Built-Up Roofing (BUR), widely recognized as the predominant type of flat roof system, manifests as a composition of alternating layers comprising bitumen and reinforcing fabrics. Together, these components form the final membrane. The bitumen component typically encompasses coal tar, asphalt, or cold-applied adhesive. As for surface finishes, aggregate materials such as mineral granules, slag, gravel, or sheets surfaced with glass fiber or minerals are commonly employed. Among BUR flat roof systems, asphalt BUR ranks as the most prevalent variety, characterized by the arrangement of alternating layers of asphalt and reinforcing plies.

However, a primary concern with BURs lies in the deterioration of asphalt, primarily caused by the deleterious effects of UV rays. Over time, these rays induce oxidation, rendering the asphalt surface brittle and leading to leaks.

Modified Bitumen

Much like BUR membranes, modified bitumen roof systems also entail multiple layers. Typically installed as two-ply systems, these layers are commonly fully adhered. The surface options for these systems encompass aggregate, mineral, metal foil-laminate, or liquid-applied surfacing.

Similar to EPDM or built-up roofing, bitumen roofs come in black color, which tends to absorb heat rather than reflect it. Additionally, the presence of puddles and water retention can contribute to roof damage and premature aging.

Metal Roof

Metal roofs are another popular choice for commercial flat roofs, offering a multitude of benefits. Longevity stands out as one of their greatest advantages. With proper installation and adequate attic ventilation, a metal flat roof can easily last for 50 years or even up to 70 years under ideal conditions.

Furthermore, metal roofs exhibit high resistance to flames and are unlikely to ignite even in the event of a lightning strike. Their durability extends to strong winds, and their reflective nature allows them to deflect a portion of the sun’s heat, resulting in potential cooling cost reductions of up to 25%. Lastly, metal roofs require minimal maintenance, adding to their list of benefits.

Who to Call for Your Commercial Roofing Needs?

Look no further than White Roofing Systems, a trusted provider of top-notch commercial roofing solutions.

Whether you’re considering EPDM, PVC, TPO, BUR, modified bitumen, or metal roofs, our skilled team has the knowledge and expertise to handle your project with the utmost professionalism.

Don’t compromise on quality and longevity when it comes to your flat roof construction. Contact White Roofing Systems today for reliable and efficient commercial roofing services, and experience the difference we can make for your business.