Deciding which low-slope or flat roof material is best for your business is only one of countless decisions you face as a commercial property manager. How long should a flat roof last? What are some flat roof advantages and disadvantages? Please allow us to simplify your decision-making process.
Modified Bitumen and Built-Up Roofing
Two of the oldest roofing solutions for low-slope commercial applications are Modified Bitumen (Mod-Bit) and Built-Up Roofing (BUR), where layers of felts and asphalt are applied hot or cold to provide a rugged, long-lasting coating.
Advantages of Mod-Bit and BUR: these methods have been around for over 100 years, apply quickly, are relatively inexpensive to install, and can last roughly 20 years with good maintenance.
Mod-Bit and BUR need regular inspection, prompt repair, and ongoing maintenance. The materials withstand a lot of weathering but will suffer from neglect and careless worker activity on your roof. Log all third-party and in-house visitors to your roof and make sure they stay on walkways.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) is an excellent single-ply alternative to Mod-Bit and BUR roofing. It lasts a long time (20 to 30 years typically, with minimal maintenance), is resistant to scuffs and abrasion, and is a good, economical long-term option.
Advantages of TPO: highly resistant to bacteria, algae, dirt, ultraviolet rays from the sun, and chemicals. TPO is also more puncture-resistant than Mod-Bit and BUR. Stray wind-borne objects are unlikely to tear gashes or holes in the membrane.
TPO is lightweight and available sheets large enough to minimize seams. Application is fast, too, with most jobs needing a day or two, depending on the scale of the job. Seams are welded, not glued, which can result in stronger, more reliable seams. TPO is either mechanically attached or fully adhered.
A typical TPO roof can last between 15 and 20 years. TPO roofs first installed in the 1990s, however, still survive 30 years on. These roofs generally need minimal, though regular, maintenance and cleaning to keep debris off, inspect seams, and ensure adequate drainage.
Just about the simplest chemical blend of salt (yep, salt) and petroleum (that’s the polyvinyl) yields a remarkably tough, remarkably durable roofing material. PVC has been a reliable roofing material since the 1960s, so its track record is proven.
Advantages of PVC roofing: Amazing longevity combined with incredible strength in a single-ply system. Life spans of more than 20 years in the hot Florida sun are typical. It is also available in very wide rolls, making seams easy to plan and minimize. PVC resists:
Liquid-Applied Membrane and Coatings
Acrylic, urethane, and silicone coatings can be applied to complex roof systems, as they conform to any shape and can be worked around roof penetrations with ease. These liquids can be reinforced to provide longer-lasting service, and can have highly reflective materials added to increase energy efficiency.
Many liquid coatings can work as stand-alone roofing, but can also revitalize an older roof. They can work as waterproof coatings to extend the life of a failing roof until more extensive roof replacement is possible.
Advantages of liquid-applied coatings: Extremely resistant to local weather conditions, great for preserving roofs or adding a few years of life to an older roof, and able to offer high energy efficiency through reflectivity.
Shingles, Metal, and Tile
In commercial application, these three roof materials are specialty solutions for business properties that may need to mimic homes (Mom ‘n’ Pop storefronts, multi-family dwellings), or have steep-slope roofs. Commercial duty products are available in all three materials, with life spans of 20 years for shingles to around 50 years for metal and over 100 years for tile.
Who can you turn to for help in selecting the best low-slope roofing material for your needs? Contact us at PSI Roofing today to let us help you preserve and protect your business.