Commercial Roofing 101: Types of Flat Roofing Systems Explained

When it comes to commercial buildings, the roofing system plays a critical role in protecting the structure and its occupants from the elements. Among the various commercial roof options available, flat commercial roofing systems are particularly common for commercial properties due to their cost-effectiveness, ease of installation, and suitability for large expanses of roof area.

In this blog, we’ll explore the different types of flat commercial and industrial roofing systems commonly used in commercial construction, their characteristics, and their benefits.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing, also known as tar and gravel, has been a staple in the commercial roofing industry for decades. It consists of multiple layers of bitumen alternated with reinforcing fabrics, such as fiberglass or polyester. These layers are then topped with gravel or mineral granules to protect from UV rays and weathering. BUR systems offer excellent durability and fire resistance, making them popular for low-slope and flat roofs.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing is a modern evolution of traditional BUR systems. It is made from asphalt-based materials modified with polymers to enhance flexibility, strength, and durability. Modified bitumen membranes are available in rolls and can be torch-applied, cold-applied, or self-adhered to the roof substrate. This roofing system offers improved weather resistance, easy installation, and excellent waterproofing properties, making it suitable for various commercial applications.

Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

Single-ply membrane roofing systems consist of a single layer of synthetic material that is either mechanically fastened, fully adhered, or ballasted to the roof substrate. The two most common types of single-ply membranes used in commercial roofing are:

  • TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin): TPO membranes are heat-weldable and known for their energy efficiency, UV resistance, and flexibility. They offer excellent seam strength and are highly resistant to tears, punctures, and chemical exposure.
  • EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer): EPDM membranes are made from synthetic rubber and are known for their durability, weather resistance, and low maintenance requirements. They are available in large rolls, making installation fast and cost-effective.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Roofing

PVC roofing systems are made from thermoplastic materials reinforced with polyester or fiberglass. They are known for their strength, durability, and resistance to chemicals, fire, and UV radiation. PVC membranes are heat-welded at the seams to create a watertight seal, providing superior waterproofing performance. Additionally, PVC roofing systems are highly reflective, helping to reduce energy costs by minimizing heat absorption.

Pioneer Roofing: Your Premier Charleston, South Carolina Commercial Roofing Contractor

The choice of a flat roofing system for a commercial building depends on various factors, including budget, building design, climate, and maintenance requirements. Whether you opt for traditional built-up roofing, modern modified bitumen, or otherwise, each type offers unique advantages to meet the specific needs of your commercial property.

For expert guidance on selecting the right flat roofing system for your building, consult with a reputable commercial roofing service like Pioneer Roofing to ensure optimal performance and long-term durability. From commercial roof repair to roofing maintenance and complete roof replacement, trust Pioneer Roofing for all your commercial roofing needs in Charleston, SC. Contact us today.