flat roofing

The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Flat Roofing in Circle Pines, Minnesota: Everything You Need to Know

Having a flat roof in a commercial setting is quite common. These flat-roofed buildings come with multiple benefits, additional features, and some challenges you should note. We are here to demystify what you might have heard about flat roofs and how best to take advantage of their benefits. 

The definition of a flat roof is right in the name. The roof will not be perfectly flat as it needs a slight slope for water drainage. The last thing you need is a flat roof that holds too much water, leading to water damage. The slope is mostly ¼ to ½ inch per foot. In most cases, it is so subtle that most people would not notice it is there. 

Flat roofs are mostly used to provide space to add HVAC systems, solar panels, and even recreational areas. They are also easily accessible, making maintenance and repairing leaks easier than traditional pitched roofs. 

Some of the common commercial flat roofs include;

  • Office buildings – Look at the common office buildings in your town, they would have flat roofs. 
  • Retail centers – Expect most large shopping centers such as malls would have the flat roof rather than pitched metal roofs. The flat roofs in this case are mostly used as parking. 
  • Warehouses and industrial facilities – a commercial roofing company will likely have experience working on such facilities. This ensures that the company can utilize every space as much as possible. 
  • Apartment buildings — such commercial properties would also have flat roofs. This is important so the tenants can have additional recreational space. 

Benefits of Flat Roofs 

By now, you are probably searching for commercial flat roofing contractors near me to get an idea of what you can get with such a roof. Before making that decision, we look at the advantages you should expect from a commercial flat roof. 

  • Commercial flat roofing remains more affordable than pitched roofs since it uses fewer materials. Its simplicity in terms of the building also makes commercial flat roof repair easier and cheaper in the future. 
  • A roofing contractor might advise you to consider a flat roof for a commercial property because it has more space for commercial purposes. A good example is using the commercial flat roof to park vehicles coming to a mall and charging them for it. 
  • Commercial roof maintenance is generally easier due to its accessibility. You can easily access the roof, address any issues such as water damage, and keep it in great working condition. 
  • Flat roofing contractors would also recommend it because it can support modern architectural designs. The simple and clean lines make it possible to adapt the roof to your design. That is why most new commercial buildings would have this type of roof. 

Downsides of Flat Roofing 

Even though commercial roofing contractors may recommend flat roofs, there are a few downsides you should know. Here is what to expect. 

  • Some people have drainage issues because the contractor did not do a good job. Poor drainage can also lead to the accumulation of water, which can cause structural damage and leaks over time. This can be avoided if the roofing contractors add the right slope to aid drainage. 
  • The maintenance requirements can be higher, too. You are supposed to inspect the roof for leaks more often to ensure that they do not cause more damage. Flat roof repair is likely, not hard since it is easy to access the roof. 
  • Some materials used in flat roofing might have a shorter lifespan than those used for pitched roofing. As such, bits of roof replacement might be necessary more often. 

Types of Commercial Flat Roofs

Understanding commercial flat roofs will help you choose what best suits your project. This section looks at what a roofing company would offer as a flat roof and the potential benefits of such a roofing system. 

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

The BUR type of flat roof is one of the oldest methods in the market right now. It comes with multiple layers of bitumen combined with reinforcing fibers also called roofing felts. Then, the top layer is a layer of gravel embedded in bitumen. This combination of materials provides the best durability and UV protection. 

Regarding durability, such a roof type will likely last over 20 years with minimal flat roof repairs. Its durability means it can handle even a lot of foot traffic without requiring flat roof replacement anytime soon. 

The waterproofing is also quite good so there is no need for roof leak repair.  

Modified Bitumen Roofing 

You are also likely to encounter this option. It modifies BUR to improve it in every way possible by adding polymer-modified bitumen in the layers. Such an addition makes the flat commercial roofs flexible and elastic at low temperatures. Various ways of adding these layers include torched-down, cold-applied, self-adhered, and hot-applied. 

Modifying the polymer for commercial roofs leads to more flexibility, improving the roof’s performance in fluctuating temperatures. 

This method also makes flat roof repairs easy. The repairs are mostly made by applying a bitumen membrane patch to the area with leaks. 

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

This is another choice for commercial flat roofs. In this case, EPDM is a synthetic rubber membrane that offers more durability and versatility. It is usually installed as large sheets to minimize having multiple seams and leak points. 

EPDM is likely to last over 30 years with proper maintenance. This roofing material is highly durable even when exposed to UV radiation, extreme temperatures, and physical damage. 

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Roofing 

These are also common materials used by commercial flat roofers. This is because of their simplicity and lightweight nature. Roofing companies also like them for having heat-reflective properties and better energy efficiency. As such, you would find a commercial roofing contractor opting for this material in hot places. 

PVC is still a highly resistant material against chemical exposure. That is why some commercial buildings that emit oils or fats use this material to keep the flat roof in the best condition. 

Green Roofing 

Commercial roofs can combine membrane roofing with vegetation covering. The idea is to utilize the flat roof to grow plants while keeping it waterproof so as not to affect those using the building inside. 

Green roofing generally has a good environmental impact. The area will have better air quality, and stormwater can be better managed. The additional vegetation layer means you get natural insulation for the building, reducing heat and cooling costs. 

Of course, the aesthetic appeal of such a roof is enough to convince more commercial roofing contractors to consider it for their clients. 

Flat Roof Maintenance 

If you expect your flat roof to last longer, it is important to check it out more often. This is where the flat roof maintenance and repair tips come into play. Here is what you should know. 

  • Have bi-annual inspections especially during the spring and fall seasons to assess the roof’s condition and address any issues that might be coming up. 
  • Remove debris from the roof so that they do not block the drainage paths
  • Doing surface checks is also recommended. Look for signs of cracks, punctures, or blisters in the roofing material
  • The drainage system also needs to be maintained properly so that the water can flow and avoid having stagnant water on the roof. 

Conclusion 

Commercial flat roofing can have many benefits compared to the traditional pitched roof. We have already seen how that is possible. We simply recommend that you get someone who can do the roof quite well to avoid potential leaks in the future. Since maintenance is also easy, you are not likely to be worried about roof leak repairs on a flat roof. If you must do any maintenance, consult professional commercial flat roofing companies to do it right and prevent a recurring issue. 

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