Raise The Roof: Choosing the Right Roof Material

construction roofing roof building material management

Do you know any pluviophiles? Perhaps you are one, or maybe you are one without even knowing it. Or, even still, maybe you have no idea what we’re even talking about! 

A pluviophile is a person who loves the rain, receiving joy and inner satisfaction from the smells and sounds that are associated with rain. Rainy days provide peace of mind and calm to the pluviophile. 

In the construction world, you won’t find many pluviophiles, at least not during on-site work hours. Wet weather introduces various challenges that can slow the work and create unsafe work conditions.

At CDO Group, we commit ourselves to working efficiently and safely through the wetter fall and winter months. But there is one thing that we know our partners do not want to concern themselves with at this time of year: a roof that doesn’t hold up to the harshest weather. Pluviophile or not, businesses and homeowners alike need a dependable, high-performing roof material. 

Choosing a suitable roof material is critical, and several elements come into play when selecting. Let’s explore some popular roofing systems and essential factors to consider when making your next selection.

Commercial vs. Residential Roofing

A commercial building roof has notable differences from a residential one. While a residential roof typically has steep slopes and a smaller surface area, a commercial roof often has a flat surface, low pitches, and a much larger surface area. 

You can’t use any material for any roof. The asphalt shingles installed on most residential homes are inadequate for the large, low slope areas on commercial buildings, and commercial membrane systems are not intended for steep roofs on smaller buildings. Some options are versatile enough to be installed on a range of slopes and areas, but, in general, the materials used in residential roofing differ significantly from those used in commercial. 

An Acronym for Everyone

The commercial roofing world loves its acronyms: TPO, PVC, EPDM, BUR. What do they all mean?

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) all belong to the single-ply roofing family and are used on low-slope commercial buildings around the world. Many architects and owners prefer these flexible and robust materials for their resistance to peeling, cracking, and resistance to UV. They are designed to be installed in a single layer, are available in various colors, and even have the option to come with “ribs,” taking on the appearance of a standing seam roof. 

BUR (built-up roofing) systems have been around for over a century. They consist of several layers and are especially protective in extreme climatic conditions with wide ranges of low and high temperatures. 

Other popular commercial roofing systems include metal, modified bitumen, and liquid applied roofing. Metal roofs are known for their aesthetics, customizability, and durability but come with a higher price tag. Modified bitumen roofing utilizes asphalt and a unique chemical polymer. It can be installed during hot or cold weather, making it a viable option at any time of the year. Liquid applied roofing has superior waterproofing abilities as the liquid material fills the small voids and challenging-to-access areas. It is not an invasive install, so liquid applied roofing is a workable option for businesses needing to stay open during construction. It often carries a lengthier warranty than other membranes.

You have numerous roofing material options to meet your needs, whether you’re building new or re-roofing your existing property. Now there are two primary factors to consider in making a selection. 

How Much Will the Roof Cost?

A commercial roof is a significant purchase. It can be easy for an owner to let costs rule their decision. However, a roof is a long-term investment, and the upfront costs are not the only item to consider.

In evaluating your budget for a replacement roof or material on your new building, you will want to review the roof’s lifetime cost. Future maintenance, repairs, and warranties included in your purchase are essential aspects of your budget that you can’t overlook. Less expensive roofing materials often come with a shorter lifespan and lead to increased maintenance and repair costs or even total replacement much sooner than other costlier but durable options. 

Systems that come with added benefits such as energy efficiency, such as green roofs or solar panels, or premium warranties could end up paying for themselves over time.

How Long Will the Roof Last?

The longevity of different roofing materials is an essential factor to consider. With proper care and maintenance, all of the commercial roofing systems above offer life spans ranging from ten to fifty years. 

Knowing your plan for your building is vital as you consider longevity. A roofing system with a long life expectancy is the best option for an owner who intends to stay in the building for several decades. On the other hand, an owner who wants to sell their property soon may not want to invest in a longer-lasting but more expensive system. 

Most manufacturers also provide lengthy warranties on their systems, typically 20 years. The duration and type of warranty you are buying are valuable pieces of the puzzle.

Choosing the right roofing material for your building is a detailed process. With options to fit every budget, condition, and style, the best material and application for you is out there. 

CDO Group has been in the general construction business for almost a quarter of a century. We work with construction partners, architects, and roofing contractors on a vast array of roof types and can help you every step of the way as you make your next roofing selection. Reach out today to find out how we can help!

November 3rd, 2021 |