Commercial

Flat Roof System Options

Flat Roof Systems

Most warehouses, office buildings, and large freestanding commercial properties use some form of low slope roofing system because they maximize the available interior space. A low slope is anything under a 4/12 pitch or slopes 4 inches or less every foot. Low sloped roofs face many obstacles they must overcome to keep nature out. Every building also has separate factors that play into which roofing system would be most beneficial. For these reasons, there are many types of specialty roofing systems available for you to choose from.

EPDM

EPDM is very durable single-ply synthetic rubber membrane comprised mostly of ethylene and propylene. It is available in a variety of widths and comes in 45 and 60 mils thickness. It is commonly applied to a stripped deck using a strong adhesive, but can also be mechanically fastened and anchored down in more difficult areas. EPDM has been a top choice for low-sloped roofs for over 40 years and is the most frequently used. This system is fairly durable, holds up to scratches and scuffs, can easily be repaired, and is not easily damaged by UV rays leading to a potential 20-year life span. Since EPDM is rubber and is usually black, it is not very attractive and can absorb a lot of heat.

Polyvinyl Chloride

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a single-ply flexible thermoplastic membrane that has been used for decades. PVC gained popularity from its dependable heat-welded seams, high reflectivity, and superior resistance to water, chemicals, grease, fire, and punctures. The seams are hot air welded and form a bond stronger than the material itself making it extremely resistant to high winds and uplift. These reasons make it the most commonly used roofing system on high rises. 

Thermoplastic Polyolefin

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) is a single-ply reflective membrane that chemically bonds rubber, ethylene, and propylene. TPO has characteristics of both EPDM and PVC but is between the two in cost. It is as UV and heat-resistant as EPDM and is heat-welded like PVC. One of the main appeals to both commercial and residential low slope roofs is the energy efficiency it provides. The white reflective surface exceeds the EPA’s ENERGY STAR requirements and is also available in white, tan or grey. Not only will it reduce your air conditioning costs, but it is also durable and resists tears, impacts, punctures, mold growth, and dirt accumulation. 

Thermoplastic Polyolefin

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) is a single-ply reflective membrane that chemically bonds rubber, ethylene, and propylene. TPO has characteristics of both EPDM and PVC but is between the two in cost. It is as UV and heat-resistant as EPDM and is heat-welded like PVC. One of the main appeals to both commercial and residential low slope roofs is the energy efficiency it provides. The white reflective surface exceeds the EPA’s ENERGY STAR requirements and is also available in white, tan or grey. Not only will it reduce your air conditioning costs, but it is also durable and resists tears, impacts, punctures, mold growth, and dirt accumulation. 

Modified Bitumen

Modified Bitumen is an asphalt product and could be compared to a giant sheet-like shingle. Bitumen roofs have a long track record of being one of the longest lasting types of flat roofing systems if done correctly. It can be installed in hot or cold weather and is available in 1, 2, or 3-ply. The seams are typically torched together regardless of it being applied via self-adhesive sheets, hot mopped asphalt, or cold applied adhesives. A good bitumen roof will be coated in granules on the exposed side to protect it against UV rays and increase lifespan.

  • PVC – 15 to 30 years. 

  • EPDM – 10 to 15 years. 

  • TPO – 7 to 20 years. 

  • Bitumen – 10 to 20 years. 

  • Built Up Roof – 15 to 20 years. 

  • Spray-On – Up to 20 years. 

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