How To Care For Your Flat Roof Based On Its Advantages And Disadvantages

The sci-fi joke of Unobtainium pops up in more movies than just “The Core.” Unobtainium is a mythical perfect material, like waterproof flat roofing that costs almost nothing and needs no maintenance. No roofing material is perfect. Every flat roofing material has its advantages and disadvantages. Until Unobtainium arrives, you as a commercial building owner or manager have the task of playing to your roof’s advantages while overcoming its weaknesses. 

PVC

PVC could be the star of the show. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roofing membrane has several advantages which will allow you to lighten your roofing maintenance workload:

  • Durability 
  • Chemical resistance 
  • Inherent strength 
  • Long service life 
  • Resistance to wind, fire, and water 
  • Eco-friendly thanks to reflectivity (lowering cooling costs)

The single prominent disadvantage of PVC is its initial installation cost, not the cost of ongoing maintenance. Your up-front investment is smart money; however, if your building faces harsh weather, is in an urban environment, or must go long stretches with little or no roof maintenance. PVC can take it! 

TPO

Need a strong, silent type for your next roof? Consider Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO). When listing flat roof advantages and disadvantages for maintenance, TPO may not be flashy, but it always lands big in the “advantages” list:

  • Low installation costs
  • Flexibility
  • Fast, easy installation
  • Very low maintenance — no mold or algae growth, no dirt buildup, and no pressure washing needed!
  • Energy-efficient due to its natural reflectivity

The shortlist of TPO’s disadvantages means your facilities crew will focus their efforts on two areas:

  1. Seams — If TPO has a weak spot, its narrow roll width is it; expect seams every six to eight feet, all needing routine inspection, and maintenance
  2. Laminate — TPO is a laminated material; that invites surface cracks and differences in thermal expansion rates

EPDM

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) roofing is, honestly, fantastic stuff, performing all its stunts and winning rave reviews. Consider:

  • Fire-resistant and even slows fire spread
  • Very low ballasted installation cost
  • Enjoys about a 20-year life span with minimal maintenance
  • 100 percent recyclable

EPDM’s main disadvantage is its relative fragility compared to stronger flat roofing materials. This increases maintenance costs and means frequent inspections to guard against punctures. You don’t need to dream of the perfect commercial roofing partner. Contact us at Damschroder Roofing today. See how we can transform your roof maintenance challenges into roof success stories worthy of the big screen.