Most people are unaware of the differences between the roofs of a residential building and a commercial setting. Keep reading to find out what exactly a commercial roof is, how it is different from a residential building, and what its needs are.
When Would You Need A Commercial Roofing System?
If you own or handle an industrial or commercial building such as a restaurant, warehouse, retail outlet, factory, office, shopping malls, schools, colleges, etc., you need a commercial roofing system.
The needs of a commercial roof vary from those of a conventional residential roof for obvious reasons. They need to withstand a lot of industrial emissions and weight. Most commercial roofs have multiple air-conditioning and heating units that weigh in tonnes. Also, they often have those water tanks, which also demand sufficient support. This generates the need for structurally strong and robust commercial roofing systems that are able to handle the extremes of weather as well as the physical load with ease.
How Are Commercial Roofs Different From Residential Roofs?
Although both share some common points, there are various clear cut differences between both types of roofs. The most notable difference between the two is the roofing systems options that are available. As you know, homeowners choose asphalt shingles or concrete tiles when it comes to residential roofs. On the other hand, the large scale commercial set-ups need more rigid and durable materials. Numerous options are available to choose from, such as polyurethane foam, concrete, tar, gravel, TPO, PVC, and EPDM. Business owners usually hire professional roofers to analyze the type of industrial setting and climatic conditions to come out with the best suited roofing system.
Also, most residential roofings can be accomplished within a day or two. On the contrary, it takes months, or more gets a commercial roof installed. The large surface area of commercial roofs and residential buildings is only partly responsible for this installation time disparity. Apart from this, commercial roofing systems are more or less harder to install because of the complicated procedures involved. A good amount of time is needed for drying, curing, and settling of materials, and it demands a lot of planning and patience.
Below are the five most essential things we believe you should know about commercial roofs:
1. What Are Commercial Roofs Composed Of?
Typical commercial roofing you may encounter include the following:
- Single-ply membrane
- Built-up roofing- BUR utilizes layers of different types of materials to achieve immense durability and water resistance. It is a semi-flexible membrane comprising felt or fabric plies alternating with other layers such as tar or bitumen.
- Metallic roofing- Metals such as steel and aluminum provide many advantages when used in industrial roofing systems. Firstly, they are cost effective, although they can be coated with several other compounds to impart different properties to the roof. Secondly, they are environment friendly options to consider.
- SBS or APP
- Garden roofing elements are also being used in specific sectors for recreational purposes, although less common.
The most popularly used industrial roofing is made of TPO, PVC, and EPDM membrane systems. At most times, you can’t make out which roofing system your setting has. It is because of frequent repairing and re-roofing and add-ons.
Nevertheless, commercial property managers and builders throughout the country should be aware of the nature of roofing they have set up. Knowing about such fundamental details helps in easy decision making when it comes to repairing and replacement.
Knowing the presumptive age of your roofing system allows you to plan a roof replacement in advance. It also helps you understand when to start checking for warning signs of severe wear and tear.
Different roofing materials have got different average lifespans, mostly between 10 to 50 years. If you are using a single ply membrane system like TOP, PVC, EPDM, etc., your roof should last you for 10 to 30 years. These are the most popularly used roofing systems used these days for flat roof installment.
Also, several external and internal factors may alter its lifespan. Daily activities and the type of business you perform determines the fumes and smoke that rises. Weather conditions in your location would affect your roof’s term for obvious reasons. You would soon need a roof replacement if your roof wasn’t correctly installed to begin with.
Both residential and commercial roofs suffer wear and tear over time. Commercial roofings are set up, keeping in mind the potential damaging components in the particular climatic condition. For example, flat roofs get damaged due to ice, snow, and water. Heavy snow can easily cave in a thick flat roof over the years. Heat damage is another thing to consider. The ultraviolet rays of the sun have degenerating effects on the roof structure, and it’s components.
In regions experiencing both extremes of temperatures, roofs are susceptible to thermal shock. The roof expands and contracts in extreme heat and cold, respectively, leaving behind cracks and material breakdown.
4. Energy Costs
You will notice people prefer to have white roofs or at least light-colored roofs in most climatic conditions. Firstly, the sun’s rays damage the roofing over time and gradually lead to its weakening. Having a white surface ensures minimal sun damage thanks to its heat-reflecting property. Also, due to some reason, the inside of the building stays cooler. This saves a lot of energy and thus energy costs that would otherwise have been spent in cooling the building interior. If you live in a warm climate, we recommend choosing a white colored gravel surfacing coated with a reflective material.
5. Quality Plays A Bigger Role Here
In commercial settings, there is no room for mistakes. It involves a whole business and not to forget a large number of workers depending upon the shelter provided by the roof. Hire trusted professionals after spending a good time amount of time on research on the same. Even if the issue is something as small as a leak, it is better to hire experienced workers to take their opinion and get the repair done. Because if they aren’t appropriately fixed then and there, there are chances that a minor issue can turn more severe over time. Therefore, the root of the problem has to be addressed.
Also, the same goes while selecting materials for your roof. If you choose the wrong material or go for a cheaper solution, there are chances you may wind up paying for it someday or the other. Carefully explore the pros and cons of each roofing system and material and think long term. Choose reliability and durability over price in all situations.
Remember, the money you shall need for re-roofing due to your roofing system’s premature failure will be way more than the money saved today on a low cost poor quality roofing system.
Roofs are a much neglected section of any residential or industrial set-up. But proper inspection of roofs is a key to the safety and proper functioning of a commercial area. Preventive maintenance, including regular servicing and timely inspections, is crucial for preventing your commercial roof from becoming the cause of frustration and problems in your business operations. Don’t hesitate to call your roofing contractor if you suspect any significant wear and tear, leakage, sagging parts, cracks, etc. on your roof.