Commercial Roofing – Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Roof

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Commercial Roofing – Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Roof

Replacing an aging, damaged, or leaking roof or even choosing a roof for a new building are tasks that provide special challenges. The ideal roofing solution is not consistent across environments or even building structures. On a very basic level, residential and commercial roofs differ quite significantly. But even within these categories, there are a wide range of roofing options available. The following is a list of questions to ask before choosing a roof.

What is the Purpose of the Building?

First, you should take some time to consider the long-term uses and functions of the building itself. Whether you are working with a new building or managing existing facilities, you want to choose a roof that performs optimally with respect to the mission and purpose of the building. You even want to consider how long you will be responsible for managing the facility and how this affects your budget for roofing installation or repair. Will the building’s use change in the future? Are there any plans for renovations or expansion? All these questions are important when choosing a new roof.

What physical characteristics will influence the roofing system?

Climate and weather trends, topography, the direction the building faces, and even building codes will likely influence the type of roofing system you choose. Moreover, the size, shape, design, height, age, and load bearing aspects of the building are also critical. Ultimately, you need to be sure that the building can support the new roofing system including the location and installation of HVAC and other equipment. A qualified roofing professional will want all this information before recommending the ideal roofing system.

What about roofing membranes and attachment systems?

There are a wide variety of flexible membrane roofing options available, namely thermosets, thermoplastics, and modified bitumen. Thermoset membranes are constructed from rubber polymers and make an ideal choice for climates with a lot of sunlight. They also hold up well to chemicals commonly found on roofs. Thermoplastic membranes are constructed from plastic polymers and usually include a reinforcement layer to improve strength and stability. Finally, modified bitumen membranes combine the benefits of flexible-membrane roofing with traditional installations such as built-up roofing. Modified bitumen sheets are pre-fabricated from asphalt and a rubber or plastic polymer for increased flexibility, strength, and stability.

Choosing a membrane and attachment system will depend on a number of factors. Cost, building height, wind exposure, roof traffic, and even aesthetics will play a role in choosing a roof.

How does the roofing system affect the dead load weight of the roof structure?

If you’re installing a residential roof, clay or slate roofing is an attractive and durable option. Unfortunately, not all building structures can support the weight of these materials and the resulting roofing system. As such, you need to know the load-bearing capacity of your roof deck to ensure that the best membrane option is chosen.

As you can see, choosing a roofing system is a complicated process that must always involve the expertise of a roofing professional. Many factors will influence which system is best for your building.