While this isn’t strictly the case for all commercial buildings, commercial construction usually features flat roof systems. To add another layer of complication, there are many different types of materials used for flat roof and the best roofing material for your commercial roof will depend on factors such as durability, budget, and maintenance. Among the most common types of commercial roofing materials, you’ll find PVC roofing, metal roofing, TPO, and modified bitumen. We’ll briefly introduce each of these types of roofing materials and some of the pros and cons of each so you can choose the best roofing material for your commercial roof.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Roofing
PVC roofing is a single-ply commercial roofing application that offers myriad benefits. Not only are PVC roofs long lasting and low maintenance, they are affective in most climates. Indeed, PVC roofs are often rated as the best flat roofing material by roofing professionals as they are resistant to damage from weather (including sun exposure). Additionally, the reflective white colour of PVC roofing helps to control energy costs for added savings over the lifespan of the roof. Though PVC roofing can be more expensive to install, durability, ease of maintenance, and energy savings make these roofs a worthwhile investment.
For commercial roofs with a slope of more than 2 inches, metal roofing is the ideal choice, albeit an expensive one. The installation process requires specific expertise, but metal is so durable that these roofs can last up to 30 years or more. That being said, the durability of the material does not completely prevent leaks as seems and roof edges of metal roofs can develop leaks. A regular maintenance and inspection program helps to keep your roof in good condition for the long term.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Roofing
Another example of a single-ply commercial roofing material, TPO roofs offer exceptional energy efficiency combined with resistance to exposure from ultraviolet light, ozone, and chemicals. TPO roofs are increasingly common for commercial applications as they are inexpensive and easy to install. With a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, they are not as durable as PVC or metal alternatives; but they offer easier maintenance and installation making them an affordable option for commercial roofs.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
Modified bitumen roofs rely on an asphalt membrane for the roof base which can be susceptible to damage from cracking or bubbling. Still, the lifespan of a modified bitumen roof may exceed 10 or 15 years and given the installation costs of these roofs, they are an attractive option for commercial buildings.
Ultimately, the best roofing material for commercial roofs is determined by the type of building and your budget. With an unlimited budget, a PVC roof or metal roof are great choices; but less expensive alternatives such as TPO or modified bitumen are still effective materials for commercial properties. Consult with a roofing professional to get all your questions answered so you can choose the best material for your needs.