Key Information to Develop the Best Commercial Roofing System for Your Structure

commercial roofing

Do you own a commercial building in California that needs a new roof?

There might be options to repair or retrofit what you already have, but are you leaning towards a new commercial roofing installation?

Your first going to need to decide between a pitched, sloped, or flat roof, and there could be more factors at play than you might think. CBS News ranked roofing as the 4th deadliest job in America, so a flat or gently sloped roof will make future repairs safer.

If you decide on a flat roof, you’re going to want to consider all the available materials and how they might weather over time in your local climate.

We’re going to explain the pros and cons of each so you can save money in the long run. Keep reading!

Pitched Roof

Some smaller and medium-sized commercial buildings might opt for the traditional pitched roof, with the same trusty shingles found on residential homes. There’s a lot to be said for this safe option, as a pitched roof allows for excellent drainage, preventing harmful pooling that can damage your roof.

In addition to diverting rainwater, pitched roofs also offload snow. In areas that are subjected to heavy snowfall in winter, the weight of snow buildup could lead to damage with a flat roof design.

Some commercial buildings may be so big that a pitched roof isn’t practical. A pitched roof is also likely to cost more because the pitch causes an overall increase in surface area. More surface area means more materials and labor needed to fit them.

Because pitched roofs have the most dangerous angles for a roofer to work on, they can’t work as fast as they can on flat roofs. This will therefore increase the labor cost for installation and repairs. 

Sloped Roof

When a pitched roof won’t work (on a very large warehouse, for instance), a sloped roof might be a great compromise.

By adding a gentle incline to the roof, some of the excellent drainage qualities of a pitched roof can be gained. Water is directed towards gutters, which prevent leaks and damage from standing water.

Due to the shallower angle, these roofs are also safer for roofers and other repair or installation technicians to walk on.

Retrofit Roof

Metal roofs can provide a low cost and durable barrier. Some roofing projects might not require a new roof installation, since the existing one could be in pretty good shape. In these instances, a metal retrofit roof can be considered.

Not only is the life of the original roof stretched out, but the new roof adds an extra layer of protection at a lower cost than a new roof. Because the old roof remains in place, it’s a more environmentally-friendly option too.

The increased insulation will also increase energy efficiency by keeping the building’s temperature more easily regulated. 

Flat Roof

The flat roof design is the safest for roofers to work on since they can walk without difficulty or fear of falling and sliding off the edge. This means that they can usually work faster, saving labor costs in the process. 

The flat roof also benefits from the least surface area, saving on the number of materials used and thus labor required to install them. 

A quality installation is essential with a flat roof since the materials will have to endure standing water after a rainfall event. Any failure by the roofers to seal seams or otherwise install the materials without care could have negative future consequences.

Thermoplastic Membrane

Flat roofs can be made of many materials, some of which are thermoplastic membranes. 

One of these, Polyvinyl chloride (or PVC), benefits from having great fire-resistance, compared to other membranes, and is also hard-wearing. PVC has stood the test of time in the roofing industry, and so it’s a popular choice.

In addition to being able to self-extinguish fire, it’s resistant to other elements, chemicals, and damage.

This single-ply roofing system may involve more financial outlay than other membranes, but it makes up for this cost over time. The reason for this is that it’s thicker, so offers superior insulation and strength against the elements.

Thermoplastic polyolefin (or TPO) is a more modern low-cost alternative to PVC, so its use is increasingly common in the roofing industry. Because it’s newer than other roofing materials, there’s no definitive way to know how durable it is over the long-haul.

It carries many of the benefits of PVC, in addition to being recyclable, plus its lighter-weight adds less load to the roof than other materials. It can be shaped to unique roof designs, and its light color options are energy efficient because they easily reflect the sun.

Rubber EPDM

A rubber roof is made of ethylene propylene diene methylene (or EPDM).

Most of these roofs are darker by default, but it can come with a white coating to help keep it cool. It’s been available for many decades, so its integrity against the elements is proven.

The seams don’t require heat to seal them, just adhesives or tape, but it can shrink in hot weather, leading to loss of waterproofing.

Built-up Roof

The best roofing system won’t require a lot of roof repairs, and a roof of many layers has several protective layers against the elements. The only downside to this is that if a leak does occur, it can be hard work (and costly) trying to locate the problem.

Because they usually have a gravel or rock top layer, they are the easiest flat roof for roofers to walk on. The gravel top makes the roof very fire-resistant and durable against other forms of damage.

The additional fabric layers all have to be individually fitted, so there’s a large labor cost involved.

Commercial Roofing

We’ve shown that if you aren’t opting for a traditional pitched roof with shingles, there are many commercial roofing materials available. Don’t blindly pick the cheapest option, especially when it comes to the contractors who must install it perfectly. 

If you’re looking for a new roof in Fresno, Modesto, or Sacramento, we can help you. We are a roofing contractor who offers energy-efficient quality installation using cutting edge technology.

Contact us today for a free estimate.