Pros and Con’s of Commercial Flat Roofing Systems

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Pro’s and Con’s of Commercial Flat Roofing Systems

 
When property managers are ready to replace the flat roof at their property, they are faced with many options in terms of their next roofing system. As a result, it can be challenging to pick the best type of flat roofing system. Do you choose the system with the longest potential lifespan, best warranty, lowest cost, or protection against leaks? Each type of flat roofing system offers different advantages and disadvantages. Discover the best flat roofing system for your property with Property Manager Insider’s guide breakdown of the pros and con’s of flat roofing systems.

Pros and Con’s of EPDM Roofing Systems

 
EPDM roofing systems typically last 15 to 25 years depending on the materials used, quality of the installation, and ongoing maintenance of the roof itself. The average cost to install an EPDM roof is between $4.00 and $8.00 per square foot, or approximately $40,000 to $80,000 for a 10,000 square foot roof.

EPDM Roofing Systems Pros:

 
What are the advantages of installing an EPDM roofing system at a commercial property?

  • Nearly seamless installation
  • Outstanding against leaks
  • Repairs are usually easy and affordable
  • $4.00 to $8.00 per square foot installed
  • 30 year warranties available on premium materials

EPDM Roofing Systems Con’s:

 
What are the disadvantages of installing an EPDM roofing system at a commercial property?

  • Susceptible to rips in the membrane at upper end of lifespan
  • Dark color attracts UV rays causing shrinkage making the roof more susceptible to hail damage
  • Difficult installation due to issues caused by air bubbles
  • Dark color attracts sunlight and absorbs heat decreasing energy efficiency

 

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TPO Roofing Systems

 
While every commercial roofing system has pros and con’s, many commercial roofers say TPO systems offer the best combination of PVC and EPDM membranes. Typical TPO roofing prices range from $7.00 to $13.00 per square foot. The average lifespan of a TPO roof is 7 to 20 years.

TPO Roofing Systems Pros:

 
What are the advantages of installing a TPO roofing system at a commercial property?

  • White and light grey colors offer great energy efficiency
  • Offer the leak stop powering of a PVC roof at an EPDM price point
  • Flexible material costs based on thickness of membrane
  • Premium TPO materials from GAF are Energy Star Certified

TPO Roofing Systems Con’s:

 
What are the disadvantages of installing a TPO roofing system at a commercial property?

  • Shortest potential lifespan of any commercial roofing system
  • Can fail after 7 years if the TPO systems is not properly inspected and maintained
  • Can be torn at the seams especially at properties with rooftop HVAC equipment
  • Cracks tend to form after 15 years of life creating risks of leaks

 

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Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems

 
The typical lifespan of a modified bitumen roofing system is 10 to 20 years and costs between $2.00 and $5.50 per square foot. Unlike TPO and EPDM roofing systems, a modified bitumen roof is a multi-layer system, so lifespan and cost are both impacted by how many layers are installed. Additionally, there can be extra installation costs if the old roof has to be entirely removed to accommodate the new modified bitumen roofing system.

Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems Pros:

 
What are the advantages of installing a modified bitumen roofing system at a commercial property?

  • Most affordable flat roofing system at $2.00 to $5.50 per square foot
  • Require little to no roof maintenance
  • Low slope profile drains water and eliminates threats of water pooling
  • Commercial warranties up to 25 years on select CertainTeed products

Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems Con’s:

 
What are the disadvantages of installing a modified bitumen roofing system at a commercial property?

  • Labor intensive installation process
  • Potential extra costs to remove and haul away old roof
  • Dark color attracts sunlight and absorbs heat decreasing energy efficiency
  • Typically requires applying a roof coating after installation to improve energy efficiency

 

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Built Up Roofing (BUR) Systems

 
Example of Commercial Built Up Roofing System
 
Another multi-layer system, BUR roofing systems are also commonly called tar and gravel roofs that are constructed of alternating layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics. They have been around for over 100 years and have a life expectancy of 15 to 30 years depending on the quality of materials. Costs range from $3.50 to $7.00 per square foot.

BUR Roofing Systems Pros:

 
What are the advantages of installing a BUR roofing system at a commercial property?

  • Offer strong protection against UV rays increasing energy efficiency
  • Aggregate top layer makes BUR roofs fire resistant
  • Generally low maintenance systems reduces long term service costs
  • Excellent choice for large commercial properties

BUR Roofing Systems Con’s:

 
What are the disadvantages of installing a BUR roofing system at a commercial property?

  • Construction often requires the use of hazardous materials and creates fumes
  • More susceptible to wind and water damage than other flat roofing systems
  • Performs best in warmer climates limiting applications in cold weather areas

 

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PVC Membrane Roofing Systems

 
Expect to pay an average of $5.50 to $9.50 per square foot to install a PVC membrane roofing system. Another single ply system like EPDM and TPO roofing systems, PVC membrane roofs have an average life expectancy of 15 to 30 years.

PVC Membrane Roofing Systems Pros:

 
What are the advantages of installing a PVC membrane roofing system at a commercial property?

  • Highly resistant to wind, moisture, fire, and many common chemicals
  • Highly reflective material increases energy efficiency
  • Can be installed over top of existing roof eliminating roof removal costs
  • Excellent choice for restaurants which release animal fats and grease via rooftop exhaust vents

PVC Membrane Roofing Systems Con’s:

 
What are the disadvantages of installing a PVC membrane roofing system at a commercial property?

  • More expensive to install than TPO roofing systems
  • Cannot interact with asphalt roofing materials complicating some commercial applications
  • Can be torn at the seams especially at properties with rooftop HVAC equipment

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Need help finding a commercial roofer for a third bid? Let our BidSource team locate a qualified commercial roofer in your area to provide a free quote for a TPO roof repair at your property!



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