commercial flat roof typesWhen considering a commercial flat roof for your structure, you must consider the right materials and construction choices for the particular job.

Is a flat roof the best choice for your needs? What commercial roof type should you choose? Are materials from one manufacturer or one installation process better than another?

While these choices are ultimately yours to make, a Chattanooga TN commercial roofing contractor like Tennessee Roofing & Construction can offer recommendations based on our experiences installing and maintaining various commercial roof types over a long period. In this blog, we look more closely at flat roofs and the materials used for them.

The Commercial Benefits of Flat Roofs

You’ll notice that many commercial buildings employ a flat roof design instead of the traditional pitched roof associated with residential properties. Here are some reasons why a flat roof might make sense for your business:

  • Flat Roofs are Economical, requiring fewer materials and labor to construct. Simplicity usually translates into easier installation.
  • Commercial Buildings are Less Concerned with Curb Appeal than Homes, thus less concerned with a pitched roof for appearance.
  • Flat roofs maximize interior space for offices by using long-span trusses. With a pitched roof, you’re left trying to fit interior space into an area at least partially defined and limited by a slope.

Once you’ve decided on the type of roof, the next step is making sure the commercial roofing contractor uses high-quality products that will reliably stand up to the elements and provide years of protection for your valuables underneath the roof.

Choosing the Right Materials for your Commercial Flat Roof

Membrane roofing moves water off roofs and has distinct advantages over the asphalt flat roofing systems of the past, which were very difficult to properly seal at all seams and connection points to prevent leaking. Today’s flat roofs are also much more resistant to the damage caused by UV rays and expansion/contraction from direct exposure to sunlight.

Among the different types of materials commonly used for flat roofing:

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). We install this heat weldable membrane by applying hot air to weld seams together and produce a leak-proof roof. TPO membranes resist high winds and hail damage. For this reason, TPO offers a good choice in terms of durability over the long term and weatherability. TPO also repels other age-accelerating factors that might cause roofing to corrode over time, including build-up of mold and dirt. Heat can also cause materials to expand or contract, but TPO offers a good resistance to UV rays and thermal expansions. Finally, TPO is typically more affordable on a square-foot basis compared to other roofing materials. TPO is used extensively in the automotive industry.

PVC Membranes are an alternative material for flat roofing that have been around for a long time and proven to also offer resistance to heat, dirt and wind damage. One disadvantage to PVC membranes is their slickness, which requires extra-special handling as workers install it on a roofing project.

Another flat roof material alternative is EPDM, which stands for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer single-ply roofing membranes. It’s commonly used on car door seals. This lightweight material is also considered highly durable and also environmentally friendly and waterproof.

Commercial Roofing Contractors Offer Recommendations for Flat Roofing Materials

Once you determine that a flat roof best meets your needs, you must select from these materials for work to proceed on your roof.

There’s no one “perfect” commercial flat roof type, but your commercial roofing contractor will typically offer a recommendation that best meets your needs. As members of the Associated General Contractors of America, Tennessee Roofing & Construction follows the ever-changing technology landscape to offer the best choices to our commercial and residential construction customers.

Contact us so we can begin moving forward on your commercial flat roof project. 

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