Understanding the Options
The variety and complexity of commercial and flat roofing options can be a nightmare unless you have expert guidance. Let’s talk about the current possibilities for your project. This page gives you an introduction and an easy phone call to the Roofing Expert will get you all the details.
Modern roofing solutions are developed by sophisticated science. But when it comes to installing these roofing systems, it requires an equal part of artistic skill. We have to ensure that water will not pool up on the roof, nor seep or condensate into your building. With the extremes of Texas weather, this protection requires a talented and experienced crew.
Contact the Roofing Expert to get answers about our qualified crew and the benefits we can offer you.
An Overview of Commercial Roofing Types
For modern commercial roofing, there are 4 standard options:
- TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)
- Modified Bitumen
- EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer Membrane)
These names might sound like they’re from a sci-fi movie. But we’ll clarify the information you need to know.
TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)
This roofing system is the fastest-growing commercial product on the market.
A TPO single-ply roof membrane is made of ethylene propylene rubber. It combines the durability of older EPDM rubber technology with the convenience of new weldable seams. TPO seams can be up to 4 times stronger than EPDM seams. With skillful installation, a TPO roof can last up to 20 years.
TPO membranes are available in either 45 mils (.045″) thickness or 60 mils (.060″) thickness. They provide good flexibility to adjust with building movement and are extremely resistant to tears and punctures.
TPO membranes can be installed in two ways: fully-adhered or mechanically-attached. A fully-adhered roof is glued to the substrate, using a special adhesive which create a chemical bond with the membrane. A mechanically-attached system uses fasteners to secure the membrane to the substrate.
Energy-efficient roofing systems are in high demand. TPO provides good heat-reflective properties, plus exceptional resistance to ultraviolet, ozone, and chemical exposure. While TPO is available in grey and black, most Texas clients prefer white for its increased thermal reflectivity.
This is a common approach to commercial roofing. This material was developed in Europe in the early 1960s and has been an option for U.S. businesses since the mid-70s. It has a proven track record in both commercial and residential roofing.
There are two types of modified bitumen membranes you can choose from. SBS polymer-modified bitumen uses certain modifiers that traditionally have been installed in hot mopping the asphalt or with cold adhesives. Newer products are available though, provided as a self-adhering roll. The SBS modifiers give the asphalt a rubberized quality. The second type, APP polymer modified bitumen, is typically installed heat-welded or applied using a torch. The modifiers applied to the asphalt give it more of a plastic quality.
A modified bitumen roof is essentially coated with asphalt, with the modifiers added in giving it specialized properties. This roofing system is almost always installed as a two-ply system, fully adhered to the substrate.
A typical installation begins with clearing the old roofing down to the decking. Fiber-board insulation is affixed on the decking to increase strength and moisture resistance. Then a base sheet is installed, either mechanically fastened or self-adhered. Finally the modified bitumen membrane is hot-mopped, heat-welded, or applied using a cold process. Most modified bitumen products give you the choice of having a mineral-coated or a smooth surface.
EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer Membrane)
This is basically a synthetic rubber that makes a great choice for commercial flat roofs.
The EPDM roofing system has also been in use since the 1960s, successfully covering structures in demanding environments around the world. And while it was initially provided as a strong roofing option, ongoing research in recent years has improved EPDM significantly.
In previous decades, moisture gain under the membrane and weak adhesion at the seams were challenges reported often. However, our installations today use a vapor barrier that eliminates moisture gain problems. Likewise, seaming has improved through factory-applied tape—a method that not only creates stronger, neater seams, but also reduces installation times and labor costs.
EPDM roofing is a flexible membrane and the latest products use a hot melt adhesive technology to combine this surface with a polyester fleece backing. This approach ensures consistent bond strength between the backing and the membrane. It also reduces shrinkage over time, while enabling the product to stretch up to three times its normal size and move with the building, adapting to changing weather conditions.
For an EPDM installation, you have two options. For areas with low wind velocity, the mechanically attached method works well and is more economical. In more demanding environments, fully adhered roofing is a more expensive option, but it guarantees a stronger, more durable flat roof. When properly installed, EPDM flat roofing can endure up to 50 years.
This is a monolithic, fully adhered, fluid-applied roofing membrane. In simple terms, it’s basically an additional protective sheet placed over a finished roof.
Elastomeric coverings help protect your roof from hail, wind, rain, sun exposure, and other environmental damage. The waterproofing qualities allow them to be used in repairing leaks on almost every type of roof. In addition, they reduce damage to the roof by absorbing most of the sun’s UV radiation. And certain “cool roof” coatings can even make your commercial roof more energy efficient.
Because of their elastic properties, these seamless membranes can stretch and return to their original shape without damage. This keeps the coating intact and completely adhered to the roof.
Installed correctly, an elastomeric covering can extend the useful life of almost any roof. However there are many roof coating products available today. This can make it a challenge to recognize the higher quality products.