Most Common Commercial Roofing Types

There is a reason people use the phrase “keeping a roof over your head” to refer to providing life’s most basic necessities. Yet it is worth remembering that this saying’s literal meaning is just as crucial for a place of business as it is for a home. If you are a North Carolina business owner who is building a new commercial property or conducting repairs on an existing one, your roof will play a considerable role in your company’s energy efficiency and your building’s structural integrity. It will also affect the well-being and comfort of your employees.

One of the significant challenges business owners face in this regard is deciding which type of roof to use. The various commercial roof types will provide different advantages in terms of cost, durability, efficiency, and aesthetics. The team at Integrity Roofing, LLC, has put together the following guide to help you determine which option will be best for your commercial property.

Key Factors to Consider

When deciding which type of roof you should have, it is a good idea to frame your decision-making process by evaluating three main variables: cost, efficiency, and durability.

  • Cost – The different types of commercial roofing materials vary widely in installation and material costs. While this factor will understandably be at the forefront of your mind, as it will affect your bank balance most immediately, you should weigh any upfront costs against longer-term financial considerations.
  • Efficiency – Different roofing materials have inherently different levels of insulation. Some options allow for more flexibility than others. Depending on the nature of your building and the climate in your region, choosing a more energy-efficient type of roof may save you large sums of money in the long run.
  • Durability – Not all roofing types are equal when it comes to standing up to the effects of precipitation, wind, heat, and time. If you want your roof to last as long as your business, choose an option that will withstand the climate and sub-roof conditions.

Seven Different Types of Commercial Roofing

While many types of commercial roofing are available, the following options are among the most common:

  • Built-up roofing
  • Metal roofing
  • Thermoset EPDM membrane roofing
  • Spray polyurethane foam roofing
  • Green roofs
  • Shingle roofs

Built-up Roofing (BUR)

This type uses overlapping layers of asphalt and fabric or fiberglass mats for waterproofing. It is one of the oldest commercial roofing systems, and it is still popular because of its low cost and flexibility. When properly cared for, a BUR system can last 20 years or more and can protect the inside of your building from UV radiation. You also have the option to add a heat-reflective coating to the top layer.

The upfront cost and overall stability of built-up roofing depend on the number of layers and the strength of the understructure. However, compared to other types of roofing, BUR has one of the shortest expected lifespans. Furthermore, aging roofs can be subject to leaks that are difficult to detect.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is another popular option due to its durability. A metal roof may last between 40 and 60 years, depending on conditions and maintenance. These roofs comprise panels that may be made of different metals, including:

  • Galvanized, coated, or stainless steel
  • Aluminum (either on its own or combined with tin and zinc)
  • Copper
  • Tile sheets

Metal roofs can be both more lightweight and stronger than other options, and they offer enhanced fire resistance. Furthermore, they are often one of the most aesthetically attractive choices for businesses. While metal may be subject to corrosion, many protective surface layer options are available to protect against environmental factors.

Standing seam metal roofs are popular for commercial properties.

Thermoset EPDM Membrane Roofing

Single ply membrane roofs use sheets of Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM), which is a roll-based synthetic rubber. These types of roofs are seamless, durable, and easy to install. They also offer significant protection against sunlight and pollution.

While highly practical, many people feel that thermoset roofing is less attractive than other options.

Spray Polyurethane Foam Roofing (SPF)

SPF is sprayed onto the roof as a liquid and expands to form a seamless, protective layer. It has excellent insulation properties. SPF roofing is considered eco-friendly, and it can be applied atop an existing roof for waterproofing and insulation purposes. It can last for half a century with proper care.

If you wish to install this type of roof, you must do so when the weather is dry and there is no snow or ice present. You must also inspect it regularly.

Green Roofs

These roofs have a waterproofing layer covered by a growth medium and vegetation. Green roofs provide insulation, absorb stormwater, and reduce urban heat. However, they require a significant amount of attention and maintenance.

Shingle Roofs

shingle roofing material on a commercial building in hickory north carolina

Shingle roofs are a popular option for residential properties. In fact, you might even have shingles on the top of your own house. However, if your commercial property has a steep roof line, you can also consider employing them for your business.

Shingles may be made of ceramic, slate, plastic, asphalt, or various other materials. They are a common option due to ease of installation, affordability, and versatility. However, it is crucial to remember that the type and quality of the materials you use will significantly affect your roof’s durability. You will also want to inspect your roof regularly for moss and mildew, especially if your roof is in the shade for much of the day.

Which Type of Roof Is Right for Your Business?

Choosing the right roof can feel like a lot of pressure. While there is generally no one “correct” answer to this question, a North Carolina roofing professional can allow you to assess the various factors at play to make the most informed decision possible. The team at Integrity Roofing, LLC, is here to answer your questions, review your options with you, and provide you with full-service roof installation. Call us today at (828) 448-0855 or contact us online to book your free roof inspection.

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