Guide to Commercial Roofing Options: What are They & Which to Choose

If you’re looking to put a new roof on a commercial building, there are a number of options. Depending on the slope of the roof, the existing roof, and the budget for the project. 

In this article, we’ll look at different types of roofing and how they can be most effective for your commercial building. Here in Colorado, with lots of snow and hail, we’ll consider the effectiveness of the different types of roofing in the extreme weather of our state. 

BUR Membrane

A built-up membrane roof is built up with layers of bitumen and gravel. This is what most of us think of as the “traditional tar and gravel roof”; it’s durable and inexpensive. Because it flexes up to ten percent, it’s good for most areas of the country, including Colorado. At extreme elevations, where the cold can be particularly brutal and there might be high winds, the roof can freeze and crack or the gravel might be blown off. 

This is the standard for low slope roofs, like factories and schools. It needs to be maintained periodically when the tar begins to crack or too much gravel has been lost. For the most part, you can simply put a few new layers over the existing roof.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Roof fabrics are added to the layers of the BUR roof that reinforce the composite. This adds an additional layer of strength and protection to the existing roof. 

This type of roof is particularly important for flat roofs that will experience a lot of foot traffic. While a standard BUR roof might experience stress, the reinforced fabric provides tensile strength that makes it better for walking on.

Metal Roofing

The durability of metal roofing is extremely attractive. Many roofs can last over 30 years and some are warrantied to last for 50 years.

There are a number of different metals available: corrugated galvanized roof, copper, aluminum, stone-coated steel, zinc, aluminum, silicon-coated steel aggregates, and more. Most of these roofs are either rust-resistant naturally, or they’re coated to prevent oxidation. 

Metal roofing is very fire resistant, making it a good choice for buildings that might get caught in wildfires. On the other hand, hail damage can sometimes damage a roof significantly. Many metal roofing companies warranty their roofs against hail damage, but it’s worth looking at. 

This type of roof is great for snow and cold, though. It’s also quieter and much more insulating than most people think. If you’re looking for an attractive roof that will last a long time, a metal roof is an excellent choice.

EPDM Roofing

EPDM roofing is made from a special rubber roof membrane, ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. The rubber roofing is rolled out on the roof and then is attached at the edges with nails (fully adhered), mechanically attached, or ballasted with liquid adhesive or a special type of tape. 

This type of roof is available in black or white. The white reduces heat in the building and will save on cooling costs. This is very popular on commercial roofs because it’s easy to install, simple to maintain, and is extremely durable. The seams and the elasticity of the rubber are excellent for cold weather. This is a roof that’s generally safe from hail damage as well. 

Thermoplastic Roof

This type of roof is made from thermolytic polyolefin or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It’s highly reflective and provides excellent protection against UV light and chemicals. It weathers very well and is resistant to cracking or hail damage. Because of the simple way that it’s installed, it’s a perfect second generation roof installed over the existing roof.

A plus in parts of Colorado is that this roof can withstand temperature extremes and high winds. 

Green Roofing

This is the fastest growing category of roof. Creating a green roof allows your commercial building to help reduce greenhouse gases, manage water runoff, and protect the building for every type of weather. 

Many buildings have lawns installed on them. By simply putting down a waterproof roof, the installation team can add soil and then roll out sod. By using a ground covering, like white clover, the roof doesn't need a lot of care or mowing. When installing a roof like this, it’s important that the roof itself be strong enough to handle the additional weight. 

The insulation it provides, as well as the environmentally-friendly nature of the roof, can make some of the costs tax deductible in Colorado and some municipalities. There are also some federal programs that you might qualify for deductions. 

Choosing the Right Commercial Roof

Deciding on the right commercial roof is often a matter of what you have now and how it needs to be handled. A roof, like BUR, can be redone as BUR or can have metal installed right over it.

For a green roof, you’ll need to install a proper waterproof roof first, then add the green aspects later. It’s an attractive choice that provides your customers with a bit of wonder as they approach your building and see a lawn on top.

If your roof is visible, you might want a roof that’s attractive, as well as functional. In some places, asphalt shingle roofs might be a good choice. For looks, metal roofs are always a great choice. 

In some office buildings, installing a park on the roof is a popular choice. Adding trees, potted or planted, lawns, tables and more have become a great choice, especially in places that see a lot of good weather. This can give employees their own outdoor space to relax and keep the roof green.

Getting Assistance with Making a Roofing Choice

Choosing the right type of commercial roof might require some advice from a professional, such as the team at Fire and Hail Restoration. Having a contractor or roofing company advise you on the best choices can save you a great deal of guesswork. They can tell the costs of your top choices and make sure that the roof is structurally able to handle any changes you want to make. 

What type of roof does your building have now? Would you like to change it to a different type of roof? Give us a call in Colorado. Fire and Hail Restoration is happy to show you all your options.

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