Commercial Roofing In The Southwest: A Guide to 3 Types of Flat Roofs
30 years… that’s the average lifespan of a roof in the U.S. If you know your roof is getting close to that age, it’s about time to make plans to replace it. It’s a project that shouldn’t be put off until it causes damage. A bad roof can endanger the lives of your staff and customers and put a damper on your professional reputation.
Before you reach out to professional commercial roofing contractors, you first need to consider what roof style would be best for your building. One such option for commercial buildings is the flat roof. Why is this type of roof becoming so popular? What are three popular flat roof types seen throughout the Southwest?
Why Should Business Owners Consider A Flat Roof?
Commercial business owners can take advantage of several benefits of a flat roofing system. Unlike other systems, this roof type is extremely reasonable in price due to less labor needed and fewer risks involved.
It also allows for additional space that can be used for other things. For example, easy access to the roof and space means you can turn an area into a lounge or outdoor space for your clients or staff.
Flat roofs can quickly be installed, which means a business can continue as usual or be shut down for a minute amount of time. It can take up to two days at most for the whole project (this is dependent on how large the roof size is as well).
Flat roofs don’t need to be maintained as often, and repairs are usually far and few between. However, when repairs are necessary, the experts can quickly do so without too much of a problem.
3 Popular Commercial Roofs Of The Southwest
There are three key categories for southwest U.S. commercial roofs:
- Built-Up Roofs
- Modified Bitumen Roofs
- Single-ply membrane roofs
What do each of these systems do for buildings?
This type of roof is more than a hundred years old, making it one of the oldest flat roof options on the market. Most contractors will use felt-embedded in bitumen BURs – a material applied with a hot mop. The bitumen roof felt is blended with an asphalt or coal tar pitch blend that forms a monolithic membrane. This is layered multiple times to increase the thickness.
The contractor will apply fine stone granules on top to ensure the roof is protected from the elements, including the sun.
This is one of the best roofing materials available, and a roof with BUR can last more than 40 years. Best of all, it’s fire-resistant and affordable.
One complaint business owners have is the heaviness of the BUR, which makes it more difficult to install. On top of that, the smell can be horrendous when being installed.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
This roof type has been available since the 1960s and was considered a replacement for the flat BUR. The key was to include polymer-reinforced cap sheets in the BUR technology. Roofing experts will use an array of technology to install the modified roofs, using cold, hot, self-adhered or torch-applied methods.
Besides the polymer of the cap sheet, the modified bitumen roof is much more flexible thanks to either the atactic polypropylene or styrene butadiene styrene polymers. A critical aspect of this roof type is that you can apply it independently, especially if you’re using the peel-and-stick method. You can find some light-colored variations that will help reduce your electric bills.
Single Ply Membrane
The roofing industry’s newest technology is the membrane roof (or elastomeric roof membrane), which many business owners tend to use. The great thing about single-ply membranes is that it comes in multiple varieties, such as:
- EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
- TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin)
- Polymer-modified bitumens
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
Most commercial buildings are installed with the EPDM single-layer membrane material. This membrane has a sheet installation of 0.030 to 0.060 inches thick. Usually, the contractor will apply a single layer to the roof, which is where it gets its name.
Since rubber or synthetic polymer makes up the single-ply membrane flat roofs, they are very flexible. Impacts on the roof and temperature fluctuations affect the roof very little. You can also fix a leak if one happens.
However, one significant drawback to the single-layer membrane roof is that it only comes in the color black, which is notorious for increasing the heat of a space. Lastly, it’s also susceptible to punctures, unlike other roofing systems.
Get The Best Roof For Your Business Today
More and more business owners in the Southwest are choosing flat roofs for one reason or the other. If you need a flat roof for your building, you want experts who can do the job correctly. Check out our services and see how we can assist you.