Your Guide to Commercial Flat Roofs

December 27, 2017 7:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Flat roofs are pretty uncommon in residential neighborhoods. Most homes have roofs with relatively steep pitches, but that’s not the case for commercial buildings. Flat roofs with low slopes are actually an incredibly popular choice for industrial facilities and business spaces. They offer a more convenient place to install outdoor HVAC units instead of having to find a place for them in a high-traffic area on the ground.

While they have their positives, flat roofs also come with their fair share of cons, including the fact that they can be incredibly difficult to replace. Understanding the pros and cons of each roofing type will help you make the best decision when considering installing a roof on a new building or replacing an old one.

Keep reading to learn more about whether a flat roof is your best choice for commercial roofing in Springfield, MA.

Flat roofs aren’t actually flat

Don’t let the name fool you—flat roofs often have a slope of about a quarter inch per foot. This small slope creates a runoff so water from rain or snow can’t just pool on top of the roof, which can lead to significant damage and leaks over time. A flat roof must be accompanied by a gutter system to ensure the liquid is properly drained off the roof. Typically, most flat roofs can’t drain as quickly as traditional sloped roofs.

Benefits of a flat roof

A flat roof has a number of benefits that have made it a popular choice for industrial and commercial roofing in Springfield, MA:

  • Increases usable space: Space is important when it comes to storing products or housing equipment. A flat roof allows you to get the most out of the space by installing HVAC and other refrigeration components on your building’s rooftop.
  • Easier maintenance and inspections: Inspections are an inevitable part of commercial buildings. A flat roof will make inspections easier in addition to simplifying maintenance. Maintenance is relatively minimal, as most of the most common materials used for a flat roof are incredibly durable and strong.
  • Energy efficient: A flat roof can actually be more energy efficient than a sloped roof—as long as it is made out of the right materials. Flat roofs constructed out of PVC single-ply membrane, TPO and modified bitumen all offer an energy savings of approximately 30 to 40 percent per year.

The negatives

Unfortunately, most flat roofs aren’t built to last like their sloped counterparts. Bad weather, poor maintenance and delayed repairs can shorten their lifespan even more. Many business owners fail to properly maintain their flat roof because the problems go ignored for years, as they can’t be seen from the ground. The lifespan of a flat roof can be comparable to a sloped roof as long as the necessary maintenance steps are taken. Additionally, any water accumulation on the roof can seep underneath the shingles, leading to rotting substrate and leaks.

Work with a specialist in commercial roofing in Springfield, MA to determine what roof type is the best option for your building. They’ll examine the building before making a recommendation. Call the roofing experts at R & H Roofing today to get started!

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