Selecting the Right Commercial Flat Roofing System

When it comes to commercial roofing, flat roof systems tend to be highly favored. It’s easy to see why: Commercial flat roofing systems are efficient, often quick to install, and retain the maximum amount of interior space compared to roofs with more of a slope. There is also a wide variety of flat roofs to choose from, giving business owners the benefit of choice. But which kind of flat roof is right for your needs? Let’s break down the major benefits of the most common types of commercial flat roofing.

Single-ply membrane systems

Perhaps the most commonly installed form of commercial flat roofing is single-ply membrane. As the name implies, this form of roofing involves covering a roof with a single layer of durable membrane material. There are several kinds of materials used as a membrane in single-ply flat roofing systems. Here at Elite Roofing, we use EPDM (a synthetic rubber) and TPO (a membrane made from a blend of materials). 

Why choose a membrane roof?

Both EPDM and TPO offer excellent benefits in terms of lower costs compared to other materials. Further, membrane roofing is fairly simple to install while being very lightweight, meaning it can be installed on most existing roof decks without an issue. The main drawback of membrane roofing is in terms of durability and water resistance. Seams can be a vulnerable point on your roof, membrane materials can shrink over time, and poor installation can lead to issues like tenting in high winds. Still, when installed by an experienced, professional roofer, these roofs stand up very well and are relatively easy to repair down the line. 

Metal roofing

While not only used in commercial flat roofing applications, metal is a highly durable and reliable option for commercial building owners. In flat roofing, metal is generally installed in panels held in place by some form of fastener. Standing seam metal roofs are particularly favorable, as key roof fasteners are covered in these systems. 

Why choose a metal roof?

Metal roofs offer supreme durability compared to other commercial flat roofing options. All but impervious to impact and wind damage, the only real enemy is rust, which can be prevented by using the right type of metal or with anti-corrosive coatings. So why aren’t all commercial roofs made of metal? Typically, cost is the biggest obstacle. While a metal roof is a solid long-term investment, even cheaper options such as aluminum tend to cost more upfront than membrane roofs. 

Asphalt/built-up roofing (BUR)

Finally, while membrane roofing is commonly installed today, you might see more built-up roofing on flat roofs in your area. That’s because BUR was long the go-to commercial flat roofing system. So what is BUR, exactly? Well, it’s a form of roofing that’s made of asphalt paper and tar. During the installation process, alternating layers of each material are built up (hence the name) to form a protective, watertight surface.

Why choose a BUR roof?

The main benefit of BUR roofing is its durability. As with metal, BUR roofs stand up very well to impact damage and wind, while being generally more watertight than a membrane roof. However, BUR roofing has fallen out of favor over the years for many reasons. For one, it’s quite heavy, meaning a roof may need to be reinforced before a BUR roof can be installed. Further, it’s not a very environmentally friendly material, it takes time to install, and in the event that leaks do occur, they can be very difficult to repair. 

Elite Roofing: Experts in Commercial Flat Roofing Installation

Ultimately, the right commercial roofing system for your needs depends on your situation. In addition to durability, longevity, and cost, commercial flat roofing systems also differ in terms of energy efficiency, which may be of particular importance for your business. If you’re in need of a new commercial roof but you’re not sure which option is right for you, the commercial roofing experts at Elite Roofing can help! We’ve installed numerous high-quality flat roofing systems throughout Denver. We work with a variety of materials, including TPO, EPDM, and metal roofing, so we have the expertise necessary to help you make the right roofing decision. Contact us today for a consultation!

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