Common problems and challenges face owners of commercial flat roofing systems. Like if the roof doesn’t have the correct slope, you’re going to have drainage issues. Which, if not corrected quickly, will cause leaks and possible mold growth. The seals have to be watertight in order to fight this issue. One thing that can be utilized for a watertight flat roofing system is rubber or plastic underlayments. Obviously, no one wants water ponding on their roof. One other option could be to construct your roof with both flat and pitched sections in a way that diverts the moisture correctly. If you want your flat roof installed correctly and maintained properly you’ll need to use tested and proven materials and processes.
There are some assumptions about flat roofing that are just not true. One item thats cited by building owners and property managers when deciding against a flat roof is the regular maintenance thats required. When the roof is installed right, with the best materials, regular maintenance will not be an issue.
Our Texas weather is ideal for having a flat roof on your property. Pitched systems have as much as double the surface area compared to flat roofs. Flat roofs help to insulate a building by reflecting the sun’s rays on warm days and insulating from the cold on winter days. This will lower your utility expenses all year round.
There are certain things you will have to do to take care of your flat roof. Water repelling membranes and correctly installed drainage systems will need to be utilized, unlike with pitched roofs, where the slope and gravity itself can be used to shed water, snow and debris. Calling a roof “flat” is somewhat of a misnomer because if it were truly completely flat, water would pool on it every time it rained or snowed. A more truthful description of a flat roof is “low slope”. Water needs to flow into the drainage areas and then off the roof so most commercial flat roofing systems will have a minimum of 1/4 inch of slope per foot.
Commercial Flat roofing is Broken Down into 5 Categories:
Energy Efficiency is one of Commercial Flat Roofing’s Best Features
PVC and TPO are both very reflective materials. They will help you save money on your utilities by reflecting as much as 90% of the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere. Because of this they are both rated positively for their Energy Star properties.
One negative though, due to it being so white in color, is the dust and dirt that will accumulate over time. Their reflective ability and energy efficiency will be somewhat affected by this. The energy efficiency of your flat roof will be lengthened by routine maintenance schedules applied to your white membrane.
Due to recent technology advances, there are now many darker colored membranes that also reflect the sun’s rays well. Check the manufacturer’s specs for your material’s to check for its energy efficiency info.
The two materials that have the lower energy ratings are EPDM and modified bitumen. Your HVAC system will work harder because these darker materials can warm as much as 170 degrees in the summer months.
These are the signals you should look for if your roof is starting to deteriorate:
10 to 15 years is about how long an EPDM roof should last. The warranties on a flat roof won’t cover water ponding or failing seams, even though they can be as long as 40 years. On a roof with rubber or plastic membranes, these are the two main reasons for failure.
Problems with a membrane’s materials and installation can make a TPO’s roofing system’s life expectancy fluctuate. The life expectancy ranges from 7 to 20 years. TPO roofing installations can be warranted for as long as 20 years.
The material that has the longest life span is PVC. It withstands thermal movement through its heat-welded seams, which keeps it flexible. A commercial flat roof made with PVC can last 30 years or longer. Commercial installations can be warranted for as long as 25 years by the manufacturer alone.
PVC Has the longest lifespan of these materials. PVC has heat-welded seams, allowing it to keep its flexibility during its lifespan and withstanding thermal movement. A PVC commercial flat roof can have a lifespan as long as 30 years or more. Manufacturers will offer a 25 year warranty for commercial installations and some have lifetime warranties for residential installations.
Tar & Gravel roofing, in addition to modified bitumen, will last from 10 to 20 years. One of their biggest drawbacks, however, is that when they are torn off and removed, it can add a lot of expense to the process. Another issue, is there are no longer a lot of commercial roofing contractors that install this type of roof and have experience with them. How long they last depends a lot on how well they’re initially installed. You’ll need to find a commercial flat roof repair contractor that has experience with it when you need to have it repaired also. Choosing someone that specializes in singe ply roofing wouldn’t be a good choice to repair your modified bitumen or BUR roof.
With single ply, the type of warranty you’ll get will depend on the several things – your environments conditions, the size of the roof, the methods used to install it and the thickness of the materials used. Employ due diligence when comparing the warranties available for the type of flat roofing system you choose.
Taurus Elite Commercial Roof Systems, 800-674-3434, provides commercial roofing services to Austin, Texas and the surrounding communities. This includes commercial flat roof repair, commercial flat roof replacement and commercial flat roof installation. We have been providing professional commercial roofing services in Texas for over 20 years. When you need an experienced, trustworthy commercial roofing contractor to help you with questions about your flat roofing system, give us a call.