While most residential roofs are steep in slope to more easily shed rain away from the property, commercial roofs are typically the opposite. This is mainly due to affordability, as a steep slope roof is as expensive as it is impractical on a large commercial business. Low slope roofs are still able to provide adequate drainage to a property, albeit not as quickly as a steep slope roof would. Additionally, low slope roofs are also able to house the likes of HVAC equipment, solar panels, and other machinery. However, just as it’s the case with residential roofs, it’s imperative that the proper roof type is selected for your business and that it’s properly installed to ensure long-term protection.
Common Commercial Roofs in Florida
Florida is unique in that it’s a state that receives a lot of sun and strong, regular thunderstorms – especially during the rainy season from May to October. Noting this, here’s a look at some of the common commercial roof types that businesses install throughout the state.
The most common type of roof systems installed on Florida roofs today are single-ply roofing membranes. Single-plies are composed of a fabric reinforced scrim that is coated with TPO, PVC, or KEE. They are rolled out in large sheets that are either fastened or adhered to the roof deck and then heat-welded together to create a single continuous waterproof sheet, similar to a pond liner, across the roof surface. The affordable material, and easy install of these roofs make them a low-cost and dependable option that can last for 15-30 years depending on the type, thickness, and installation of the membrane selected. Different types of membranes provide superior resistance to punctures, chemical, or animal fats, so it is good to consult with an experienced roofer to make sure you are selecting the best option for your building.
Another popular roofing style for Florida businesses is modified bitumen, which consists of multiple layers of plies composed of asphalt, a polymer, and a reinforcing fabric. The top ply is embedded with granules, much like shingles to reflect the sun’s rays and provide surface protection from foot traffic. While a highly-effective, durable roofing option, it is also a bit more expensive than single-ply roofs because it is more labor-intensive, often being composed of several layers of the material to provide redundant protection. Modified bitumen is often the preferred roof type for hospitals, schools, and manufacturing plants as a dependable investment in protecting their buildings.
Built-up roofs, or BURs, have been around for well over a century and were once the primary form of roofing low-slope buildings. Though they have fallen out of popularity, they still provide dependable protection from Florida’s harsh weather. BURs are another type of layered roof style that consists of multiple plies. These plies typically include “mopped” asphalt and/or coal tar pitch and some sort of reinforcement fabric. These layers are placed in an alternating fashion , and the top of the roof is covered with gravel to weigh down the roof system and provide UV protection. BURs are sometimes still preferred for roofs that can expect to receive a fair amount of foot traffic or activity thanks to the durable end result provided by the BUR. While some building owners still swear by BURs, the rise of modified bitumen roofing, which provides a similar option with a cleaner installation process has largely replaced BURs.
One of the nice things about metal roofs is that they last for a long time thanks to their strength and durability. In fact, if properly cared for and maintained, metal roofs can last for upwards of 70 years. Additionally, metal can stand up well to the hot Florida sun, as it’s designed to allow for expansion and contraction under certain environmental conditions. A well-installed and maintained metal roof is water-tight and guards against uplift from the wind as well, the latter which can be important during the stormy spring and summer months. However, metal roofs are more prone to leaks in low-slope applications, and once a low slope metal roof begins to leak, it is often expensive to replace the metal panels on large buildings. Leaking metal roofs are usually revitalized by installing a single-ply retro-fit roof system over the top or by coating the seams and fasteners for a short-term fix.
Contact Perry Roofing Today
For more information on how to determine the roof that’s best for your commercial property, contact Perry Roofing today. As Gainesville’s trusted roofing company, we’ll partner with your business from start to finish to ensure it has the right roof.