Five Factors That Affect the Expected Lifespan of a Commercial Roof
Certain factors can shorten or prolong a commercial roof’s lifespan.
- Installation – Any flaws in the installation process can shorten the life of any roof. When you need a new roof installed or repair work done, choose an experienced, well-qualified roofer to do the job.
- Slope – The flatter the roof, the more likely water is going to pool on its surface. When water doesn’t flow off the roof, it will find the lowest point and stay there until it evaporates. Low spots are often where leaking starts and damage starts to happen.
- Ventilation – Roofs need adequate ventilation of the attic space below. Ventilation helps prevent the build-up of heat and moisture. Hot summer temperatures in the attic as well as up top will bake the roofing materials. Built-up moisture can lead to rot and mold.
- Maintenance – Routine inspections and maintenance prevent small problems from becoming major ones. It’s easy to neglect a roof when it doesn’t have any problems. But, that neglect can end up causing major roof issues in the future.
- Weather – Harsh weather can cause direct damage to roofing material, especially high winds and hail. However, everyday exposure to the elements does a lot of damage as well.
AVERAGE FLAT ROOF MEMBRANE LIFE SPAN
Flat roofs on commercial buildings have many benefits, and if properly maintained can last even up to 50 years. There are many different types of flat roofs that have been used in the last few decades; typically, the three membrane types we’ll discuss are used. With all the choices and newer products coming out, commercial building owners want to know the average flat roof membrane lifespan.
TYPICAL TYPES OF FLAT ROOF MEMBRANES
The three most commonly used flat roof membranes are:
EPDM is a synthetic rubber material that’s been around the longest. It’s commonly used for commercial roofs because it’s low-cost, easy to apply, and last 25-30 years or more.
PVC (vinyl) membrane roofing costs the most of the three, but provide the best energy efficiency because of its UV resistance and white color. PVC flat roof membranes last 20 years plus and are a solid choice.
TPO flat roof membrane is Thermoplastic Polyolefin, which is a single-ply roofing either mechanically fastened, fully adhered, or ballasted. The seam strength is stronger than EPDM and there are no plasticizers added like with PVC membranes, so are a “greener” choice. TPO is not as flexible as PVC and generally last 15-20 years, yet are less expensive than PVC.
Commercial Flat Roofs: Pros & Cons
Flat roofs are one of the most common types of roof for commercial buildings.
Commercial flat roofs can be significantly more cost effective to build than pitched roofs or steep slope roofs because they require less material due to the fewer square feet to be covered. They are easier and quicker to install, which can translate to a significant savings for the building owner. This also effects the ease and potential price of your next commercial roof repair. Owners have many types of flat roofing materials and membranes to choose from – rubber rolled roofing, EPDM, PVC, TPO, bitumen, modified bitumen and built-up roofing.
While there are many different color choices to choose from with roofing membranes, however many building owners choose to stick with white. This can help reduce energy waste from cooling costs due to it’s reflective properties. Air conditioners can be moved from the ground to the roof. Solar panels and satellite dishes are easier to install on flat roofs than on pitched ones. These items are then less obvious from the curb or parking lot. Maintenance and drain cleaning is easier on flat roofs since workmen can walk easily and safely, regardless of weather conditions.
The most important issue is poor drainage.
Standing water can degrade the roofing materials long before they normally would. One of the advantages of pitched roof styled buildings is not having to worry as much about drainage issues. Materials breakdown leads to leaking and water damage inside the building.
It is imperative that an experienced commercial roofing contractor with a good reputation for professional work do the installation or repairs in order to avoid problems with the roof. The experienced team at Sentry Roofing understands where the drains must be located and the proper height to avoid puddling.
When it comes to installing the membrane of your choice to your roof (whether it’s to the insulation or to a cover board), there are three ways to choose from: Ballasted, Fastened or Adhered. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to price, longevity, and ease of installation.
A Ballasted attachment is a low-cost option. It consists of laying down the membrane (TPO or EPDM) and covering it with gravel, pavers, river rock, and other similar materials. While this option can save you money (and look pretty cool), it adds up to 10 pounds per square foot onto your building structure. And as the rocks degrade over time, they can easily damage the membrane underneath. Maintaining this type system is very difficult since the ballast would need to be moved to see any deficiencies in the membrane.
Fastened attachment is when the membrane (TPO or EPDM) is mechanically attached to the cover board with metals screws and plates. These are inserted along the seams of the membrane sheet.
A chemically adhered membrane is rolled out onto the cover board after a bonding adhesive is applied. This method does not penetrate the membrane which alleviates the chance of leaks even more.
Causes Of Roofing Emergencies
A professional commercial roofing company offers fast and effective emergency roof repairs. Mother Nature can sometimes be unpredictable and no one knows when she might decide to strike. If you are facing a roofing emergency, you can count on the proficiency of a reliable commercial roofing company to provide 24/7 emergency roof repairs. There are many different cases that may require emergency roof repair services. However, some of the most common causes of roofing emergencies include:
- Falling debris
- Heavy blowing wind that may cause roof damage
- Unprofessionally installed roofing systems
- Lack of maintenance services
Some of these roofing emergencies can be avoided with regular maintenance services, while others are beyond our control. Even if a business owner carries out regular roofing maintenance and repair services, emergency situations can still occur. So, it is advisable to be prepared for any emergency situation by consulting with a professional commercial roofing company.
What To Do In The Case Of A Roofing Emergency
Step 1: When a roofing emergency occurs, it is wise not to go up the roof as it might result in a slip and fall. The roof is one of the most dangerous parts of the building, especially when it is damaged. So, you should consult a professional commercial roofing company to evaluate the extent of damage. These professionals have the skills and competence to deal efficiently with roofing emergencies.
Step 2: The next thing to do is to have the exposed interior covered by using tarps or plastic sheeting. This will help cover the exposed parts of the interior and prevent further damage.
Step 3: Inspect the roof to know the extent of the damage.