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Understanding Your Choices of Material for a Commercial Roof

A commercial roof is usually much larger than a residential roof, which makes replacing it costlier. A commercial roof may also be flat, so that certain materials you might use on a residential roof wouldn't necessarily work on your commercial building, including asphalt tiles and shingles that need to slope downwards. Because a commercial roof is unique in these ways, you need to know all your options for materials for a new roof when it's time to replace it. Here are a few options to discuss with a roofing contractor.


A metal roof has an advantage in that you may be able to install metal pieces over your current roof, saving you the cost and mess of a roof tear-off. Metal can also be made from recycled pieces. For a flat roof, the metal pieces can be shaped with trenches that direct rainwater off the roof's surface, keeping it from adding weight to the roof or from being absorbed by the building materials under the roof, causing leaks and other damage. Note that a metal roof may require an installer with some special skill and training, as the metal may need to be shaped and formed around edges of the roof before connected in place.

Roof membranes

Roof membranes are long sheets of rubber or blends of plastic that are unrolled over a roof and then typically heated so that they literally melt into place. Brushes are used to help the membrane adhere to the roofing material below it; like metal, a roof membrane can often be attached over an existing roof. PVC is a common roof membrane material; it's strong and lightweight but may become brittle over the years, especially in colder weather. Thermoplastic is another common material used; it's often more flexible than PVC so it can be easily installed over your current roofing materials, but be sure your roofing contractor uses materials with fire resistance and a high UV rating so that the material doesn't break down in direct sunlight.

Built-up roof

Also referred to as a tar or asphalt roof, a built-up roof has hot asphalt literally mopped onto the surface of the roofing materials. This type of roof allows for flexibility as to how many layers of asphalt you can add; the more layers, the stronger the roof but the more expensive the installation. The material is very durable but may become brittle with time, and does have a particular odor that can be unpleasant during the installation process.  However, it's very easy for roofers to install and can provide solid, watertight coverage of your roof.

For more information, contact a company like A.C.R. Roofing Pty Ltd.