How long should a commercial roof last?

flat roof with damage

What is the best type of roof for a flat roof? 

Commercial roofing isn’t like residential roofing, mainly because the square footage is typically bigger. Commercial roof construction must be stronger, from the commercial roof decking to the framing. Most commercial building roof types are flat, and this requires a roofing contractor that is experienced in the construction of commercial structures and flat roofs and how to repair commercial roofs. 

Commercial roofs are constructed in many types and which one is best is determined by three factors: 

  1. The building’s needs
  2. The owner’s budget
  3. The building code restrictions

 The building’s overall health is integral in determining the commercial roofing style and longevity too. Considerations include the climate and environment, extraneous variables like animals and foliage, all things that can impact commercial roofing’s integrity. 

Here, we will list 6 common commercial roofing classifications with a brief description and reasons that it may be the right style for your commercial roofing needs: 

  • Built-Up Roofing Membrane: Also known as BUR roofing, is the standard commercial roofing of multiple layers of tar & gravel. The quantity of layers varies which can help with budget concerns yet is durable commercial roofing material.
  • Metal Roofing: Another popular choice for commercial roofing, metal roofing is available in different types of metal, some of which are Aluminum, corrugated galvanized steel, metal tile, and more. Because metal is predisposed to rust, a protective surface layer is added to prolong any damage from the environment, like UV rays. Metal roofing now comes with an attractive and finished look, they are fire-resistant and are known for durability and strength.
  • Modified Bitumen Roofing: Roof fabrics that have been reinforced are applied cut for installing layers, comparable to the membrane of BUR roofing, and is typically affixed to commercial rooftops in a two-ply system that is stuck to the roof decking for protection and stability. Modified bitumen roofs have simple maintenance requirements, a routine schedule of cleaning and inspection is the biggest requirement.  If you expect an abundance of foot traffic on your building’s commercial roofing, like HVAC installation or repairs, plumbing vents, etc., modified bitumen is the ideal roofing material.
  • EDPM: EPDM or Thermoset commercial roofing system are durable, long-lasting, and versatile. Installation is easy, making it a favorite among commercial roofing contractors, and when paired with easy maintenance and repairs, it is popular among building owners too. Made of ozone and UV ray resistant single-ply rubber material that is flexible even in cold weather, strong resistance to alcohol, solvents and some acids. It provides a reflective property that minimizes energy costs for cooling, a big plus in the southern areas.
  • TPO and PVC: Thermoplastic Polyolefin and Poly Vinyl Chloride commercial roofing systems are highly reflective, lightweight, durable against weathering while resistant to punctures, tears, and UV rays as well as most chemicals, animal fat, bacterial grown, and oils. Thermoplastic commercial roofing has seam strength, perfect for second applications. It has a high tolerance to fire, high temperatures, and high winds. A popular commercial roofing membrane for structures that house restaurants or any business that emits fats or oils through the ventilation systems.
  • Green Roofing: Today, commercial roofing is going toward green roofs more and more. They are versatile as well as sustainable and provide an excellent layer of protection, water management, and energy efficiency. 

Do flat roofs always leak? 

No, they do not. The first thing that any owner of a commercial building is that a flat roof is not truly flat. It has some slope to it that allows water to drain. However, if the flat roofing wasn’t installed properly, or the drains become blocked or clogged, then water will pond and if allowed to sit there, eventually it will seep through under the membrane and on to the ceiling to leak.

Flat commercial roofing can develop a leak if the membrane seams separate or any flashing around pipes, vents or other intrusions become loose or pulled off. 

Can I change a flat roof to a pitched roof? 

Most commercial buildings have a flat roof, it is almost standard roofing, but there are some that have a pitched roof for various reasons. While it is difficult, it is possible to convert flat commercial roofing to a pitched style.

The first thing you must do is to check building codes for your jurisdiction. Next, check with your insurance company on coverage changes.  Last, but not least, find an experienced, reputable contractor to do the job.

Do you need planning permission to change a flat roof into a pitched roof? 

Probably.  We say “probably” because it will depend on where your commercial building is located.  If you’re in the city, small town, or suburb, yes, you likely must get planning permission for that jurisdiction if the conversion is acceptable.  

You should make the request being prepared to show a drawing from pre-conversion to post-conversion, including all the dimensions. You will probably be asked the reason for this change and be required to get an engineering report that will confirm the structure undergo the construction phase. 

flat roof in good condition

Can you install a metal roof on a flat roof?

Metal is a popular choice for commercial building’s flat roofing. Metal is known for being durable and can have a life expectancy of 30 years or longer when maintained. Metal also has a strong reflection of the UV rays, which help minimize energy costs, especially for cooling in the summer.

There are a few downsides to metal for flat commercial roofing purposes:  Metal roofing tends to rust, and replacement is the only fix. When it comes time to replace it, the old meal must be completely removed.

A flat roof is standard and mostly, accepted as the standard for commercial roofing. This allows more space inside and outside the building and is a durable way to roof a commercial structure. With proper care, a flat roof can last for years. Call (706) 814-3207 today for your commercial roofing service needs in Augusta, GA.