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The 5 Types of Roofs on Commercial Buildings

The 5 Types of Roofs on Commercial Buildings

Different types of roof coating. Background from layers of sheet
Different types of roof coating. Background from layers of sheet metal profiles, ceramic tiles, asphalt roofing shingles and gypsum slate. 3d illustration

You may wonder about your commercial roofing system as a commercial building owner. Do you need to perform maintenance? What are the different types of roofs on commercial buildings? 

What’s the difference between PVC and TPO? Because commercial roofs are so different from residential roofing, you need the experience of a commercial roofer for your commercial buildings.

An expert from the commercial roofing service by Douglas Construction in Atlanta describes the differences in types of roofs on commercial buildings below.

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen is an asphalt membrane roof that seals a roof against weather, including wind, rain, and hail. The asphalt material includes plastic or rubber polymers and reinforcement from fiberglass to improve flexibility.

Perfect for flat or low-slope roofs, modified bitumen usually includes a base sheet and a cap sheet, but many customers opt for a three-layer installation.

Pros:

  • Durable in hot and cold temperatures
  • Resistant to tearing and easy to repair
  • Reflective surface keeps buildings cool

Cons:

  • Shorter lifespan than other commercial roofing materials
  • Can emit an odor during installation and after

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

This single-ply membrane roof is actually a rubber membrane roof. Application to any roof surface is simple, and the white material reflects heat from the sun.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and versatile
  • Reflective surface keeps buildings cool
  • One of the most affordable types of roofs on commercial buildings

Cons:

  • Prone to damage that leads to leaks

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Typically the most expensive choice for single-ply membrane roofs, PVC roofs include three layers of material. Installers attach the substrate with adhesive, often mechanically attaching the edges for security against strong winds. The middle layer adds a supportive polyester material, then the top layer offers amazing leak protection with heat-welding of the seams.

Pros:

  • Reflective surface keeps buildings cool
  • Heat-bonded seams deflect water intrusion
  • Fire resistant
  • Resistant to chemicals and extreme weather damage

Cons:

  • Most expensive commercial roofing system

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) Rubber

This rolled synthetic rubber roofing often includes recycled tires, slate dust, and sawdust. It is one of the most affordable types of roofs on commercial buildings. With proper care, these roofs can last up to 60 years. Although not as durable as PVC, repairs to an EPDM roof are easy and affordable.

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable types of roofs on commercial buildings
  • Lightweight and versatile
  • Resistant to hail damage
  • Easy to repair

Cons:

  • Black coating can absorb heat into the building
  • Easily damaged by tools or improper footwear
  • Roof flashings can deteriorate quickly in the high UV climate of Atlanta

Built-Up Roofing

Built-up roofing (BUR) utilizes layers of asphalt or bitumen alternating with roofing felt, often with a top layer of gravel or another aggregate on flat roofs. The built-up roofing system has been in use for over 100 years on commercial buildings.

Pros:

  • Durable and resistant to damage
  • Resistant to water intrusion
  • Fire resistant
  • UV resistant

Cons:

  • Labor-intensive installation to build multiple roofing layers
  • Difficult to repair if damaged

Call Douglas Construction for Your Commercial Roofing System in Atlanta

Now that you know about some different types of roofs on commercial buildings, you’re more informed to decide about what new commercial roofing system to install on your commercial buildings. For commercial roofing in Atlanta, GA, turn to the experts at Douglas Construction. Call us today to schedule an inspection.

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    • Douglas Construction came replace my roof after Hurricane Ida and was very professional and their work was superior. I had an inspector stay till the job was complete and I was satisfied. I would definitely recommend this company to anyone. Stands by there word.

      -Don Bordelon
    • Great overall experience. Jonathan Gardner was our customer rep and was professional, responded promptly to all my messages, coordinated all activities - five star. The gutter installation foreman was excellent. I would definitely recommend Douglas Construction.

      -Robert Cavender

    • Douglas Construction was great to work with. They made the process of replacing my roof seamless. Casey was exceptional on walking me through the process and answering all of my questions no matter time or day. I will definitely be reaching out to them for future projects.

      -Rogelio Reyes
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