How To Choose The Best Material For Your Flat Roof

With so many different flat roof materials, it can be challenging to decide which option is best for you. Each type of commercial roof system offers its own unique set of pros and cons to examine. Environment, budget, and personal taste should all come into play when evaluating roofing choices. Speak with a professional for insights and advice on which type of roof would best accommodate your needs. Before you make a decision, take a few moments to learn more about the most common types of commercial flat roof materials and how they compare to one another.

PVC

One of the most popular commercial roofing materials is PVC or polyvinyl chloride. One defining aspect of PVC roof systems is their heat-welded seams, a feature which provides superior protection against rain and the elements. A PVC roof may either be fully adhered to the roof, ballasted, or secured mechanically. It’s best to keep the material clean to ensure it continues to reflect sunlight effectively. It’s equally essential to ensure PVC roof systems have adequate drainage to mitigate issues with standing water. With proper preventative maintenance, a PVC roof can last up to 20 years or more.

Pros:

  • Durable and flexible material
  • Improves energy efficiency of the building
  • Resistant to chemicals, mold, and fire
  • Fully-adhered PVC roof systems have outstanding wind resistance
  • PVC roof systems are completely recyclable when it’s time to replace them

Cons:

  • Underperforms in extremely cold conditions
  • Removal of the old roof is necessary to install PVC

TPO

This type of commercial roof first emerged in the 1990s and has since risen in popularity. TPO is an acronym for thermoplastic polyolefin, a material made from a mixture of rubber and polypropylene. Like PVC roof systems, TPO is excellent at reflecting sunlight and UV radiation. TPO also demonstrates considerable resistance to fire, grime buildup, and microorganisms like mold or algae growth. However, the top layer of TPO is laminated, making the material prone to cracking. Damage to TPO roof systems is typical after being subjected to extremely high temperatures. TPO is a rugged material which can potentially last up to 20 years before replacement becomes necessary.

Pros:

  • Larger sheets make the installation process faster, saving money
  • Holds up well against rain and wind
  • The tough membrane is resistant to punctures, tears, or direct impacts

Cons:

  • Relatively new to the commercial roofing industry
  • Seams are sealed with adhesive and are known to come loose
  • The lamination can crack when exposed to extreme heat
  • TPO roof systems cannot be secured with ballast

EPDM

EPDM is a synthetic material closely resembling rubber. While TPO and PVC are more sensitive to changes in temperature, EPDM can expand or contract with the seasons. EPDM can withstand high winds and exposure to fire as well. Although EPDM can puncture easily, repairing the material takes less time and labor than alternative roof systems. Keeping the roof clear of any small rocks, twigs, or pieces of debris will help preserve its lifespan. Likewise, chemicals should not be left to linger on the surface of the material. An EPDM roof can last for up to 30 years with consistent roof maintenance

Pros:

  • Recyclable
  • The reflective surface can lower energy costs
  • Impressive durability
  • EPDM is lightweight and easy to install

Cons:

  • Stepping on rocks or other debris can puncture the membrane
  • Less visual appeal
  • Reduced resilience against exposure to certain chemicals

The Importance of Working with a Trusted Roofing Contractor

Find a reputable, local commercial roofing contractor with years of experience to keep your roof protected throughout the year. Seasoned roofing professionals will keep up with regular inspections to ensure compliance with any state and federal regulations. When issues are found, they will work safely and efficiently to complete repairs. Commercial flat roof systems need constant care to clear clogged gutters or remove potentially damaging debris from the roof. Working on commercial roof systems is dangerous work and should be left to professionals. For quality support, always partner with a fully trained, licensed, and insured roofing contractor.When you need expert assistance replacing or repairing your commercial roof, rely on Damschroder Roofing for comprehensive support. Our team is familiar with many of today’s most popular commercial roof systems, and we’ll answer any questions you may have. If it’s time to replace your old roof, we will help you determine which option is best for you. For over 40 years, Damschroder Roofing has remained a trusted name for commercial roofing solutions in Fremont. We are committed to serving the needs of our valued clients and work hard to provide superior craftsmanship at a competitive price. Call us to receive your free evaluation today.