Roofing Options

Commercial and Industrial Flat Roof Options

Commercial Roofing has needs and challenges far different from residential roofing needs. Therefore it is important to talk to a roofing contractor well versed in the broad range of commercial roofing options. Someone who can guide you so that, together, you can decide what is best for your business' individual needs and limitations. As a commercial business owner you have a lot to safeguard under your roof – hard assets, machinery, and product/merchandise – water damage to any one of these could be detrimental. Thus, pick someone capable of catering to your time and budget, while still ensuring your business is protected and will stay dry under your roof.

Most commercial roofs are flat. Flat roofing presents its own advantages as well as challenges. With little to no slope, water and drainage are a major challenge. Stagnation on your roof is a sign of trouble. Not only water but any debris or material left on a flat roof will cause damage to your flat roof. Therefore periodic maintenance is key to getting the most out of your roof by clearing any debris and checking for damages left behind. Ensuring proper drainage is also around this to make sure water does not stagnate in any spot. A company well versed in flat roof repair and maintenance will know how to ensure water is carried away from flashings and directed towards drains. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Flat roofs are cost-efficient requiring less in heating and cooling costs, and providing a wonderful stage for green-roof solutions. With a little extra capital your flat roof can be upgraded with many fabulous features – solar cells, high energy efficient reflective surfaces, a garden or even a recreational area for you and your employees.

Picking a proper commercial flat roofing contractor can be arduous (for an article on how to go about this click here) but once decided upon a commercial roofing contractor to carry out the flat roofing repair, a wide boulevard of choices opens up before you. Firstly whether a re-roof or flat roof repair is more economical. Choices of material, colour deadline, budget all have to be tackled. The choice as to the roofing material is a best done with the knowledge and guidance of your contractor but a rough guide as to the different options and pros and cons of each will follow.

Built-Up Roofing

The most classic “tar and gravel” system of roofing. Layers of coal tar with coal tar saturated felts. Coal tar is a by-product of the coal manufacturing process and makes an excellent water and oil resistant material. It has the ability to soften in warm temperatures and "heal" itself. Expensive on new constructions however tar and gravel flat roofing systems have a long service periods if well maintained and repaired.

Modified Bitumen

Modified Bitumen (MB) is asphalt that has had modifiers added to it to give it plastic or rubber-like properties. Installed in layers which are either torch welded or adhered using factory applied adhesive Modified Bitumen is a cost-effective alternative. The longevity and warranty received on the product is dependent on the number of layers installed.

EPDM roofing

One of the most popular commercial roofing options is EPDM roofing. Epdm roofing systems are lightweight and simple to install. A single-ply membrane of synthetic rubber which has been improved over the years so that current EPDM roofing systems are incredibly durable, tear and highly puncture resistant while maintaining flexibility.

TPO roofing

Relatively new on the market but with high return for its price is TPO roofing. Whereas EPDM is a synthetic rubber TPO is a rubber-like plastic. Lightweight, completely waterproof, resistant to punctures and tears and highly flexible (important during when considering the temperature fluctuations of winter and summer). TPO also is available in white colour resulting in a highly reflective surface that can save you heating and cooling costs. Some manufacturers of TPO roofing materials also market it as “seamless” due to the hot-air welded seams – a much stronger alternative to adhesives.


PVC roofing is another popular choice for commercial applications. Flexible, durable, with little seams or joints and with quick and simple installation. PVC roofing is also chemical resistant making it excellent for applications for restaurants or other sites where grease or chemicals would otherwise eat away the membrane over time. Available in reflective colours as well, PVC Roofing is often times toted as the best roofing material available.

There is no single greatest roofing membrane. Depending on your budget, maintenance program, and location all five of these substrates can perform equally well. Ideally, you want to find a roofing contractor that understands your needs and can assist you with everything from the design phase, to installation and to ongoing maintenance and repair. There are many benefits to the mentioned varieties of commercial flat roofing above, and it is always best co consult a professional to determine which is right for your building and your budget.


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