2019 Guide to Flat Roofs

Many industrial and commercial buildings have flat roofs, and there are plenty of different options to use for your flat roofing materials. The various flat roof types have their pros and cons, so if you are looking to have a flat roof installed, read on to learn more about the choices you have. 

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

This choice is typically the most inexpensive route. Most people enjoy saving money, which is why this option is the most common flat roof system. The top coat of it is usually tar or gravel, which can make this the most attractive option as well. BUR roofs are a buildup of many alternating layers of bitumen and roofing felts. This makes them very durable, because if one layer gets damaged you have plenty of other layers to protect your building. Their many layers also provide great insulation for the building. 

Unfortunately, the many layers are also the downfall to this roof. The layers end up becoming very heavy, which often requires reinforcing your existing roof. This can increase the amount spent on the roofing project and prolong construction time. 

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

This roofing is a highly reflective and durable single ply membrane. PVC is nonpermeable and does not allow water to pool up. It is also rather easy to install. These factors make it a popular option for flat roofs. The downside to this material is that it is rolled onto the roof, which means it is not seamless. Eventually, this will allow water to work its way into the roofing material. 

The material can be glued or taped as it is being rolled out, which can help it resist water for a long time. But it will not last as long as a seamless roofing system would. PVC is slightly more flexible than thermoplastic polyolefin or TPO roofs, and most contractors prefer working with PVC.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

PVC and EPDM are both single ply roofing membrane materials and they both have seams. EPDM is different from PVC in that it is made of rubber rather than plastic, which makes it a durable system. The adhesive on the seams becomes weaker over time and leaves the roof leaky. This system requires the most roofing maintenance.

Frederic Roofing is a full-service and trusted St. Louis roofing contractor with decades of top-notch experience installing all different types of flat roofing systems for commercial properties. If you are looking for someone to install your flat commercial roof with the highest quality materials, then call Frederic Roofing. 

We will make sure your flat roof is designed to your specific qualifications and needs. We know the ins and outs of St. Louis city and county building codes and international standards, and we can ensure that your roof meets them. Your roof is an important part of your building, and we will build it to code and your specifications.

Signs of a Wind-Damaged Roof

The storm may have passed, but your roof may not be out of danger. While it’s designed to protect your home, belongings, and family from the worst Mother Nature has to offer, your roof might not have weathered the storm unscathed. Even if you can’t see any visible evidence of damage or if there aren’t any leaks, the shingles and roof decking still may have wind and hail damage. Strong winds also can pull on your roof and cause stress and weak points that can cause expensive repairs down the road

How Does Wind Damage Happen?

Wind moves across a roof in gusts. Even prolonged periods of straight-line winds will affect your roof in different ways. Corners and edges of the roof experience higher wind pressures, and because of this most roof damage caused by wind starts at the edges. Also, any area that has a structure in the roof such as HVAC equipment or gutters can experience higher stresses, and these structures can pull and tear at the roofing material, which creates weak spots, damaged shingles, and, eventually, leaks. 

Any area where the roofing material is even a little loose can be pulled up by high winds, and if this happens often enough, the material can begin to peel and create leaks. 

Signs of Damage

Obvious damage can be seen right after the storm, as some shingles may have parts missing or may have been torn from the roof altogether. Some of this damage might be visible from the ground, and this depends on how extensive or complex your roof system is. 

Here are some common roofing materials and structures and what you can look for during a post-storm inspection:

  • Asphalt and composition shingles – The most common type of residential shingle is very durable and can withstand damage and high winds—to an extent. Common issues with asphalt shingles include curling from intense heat or cold. This type of roof covering has a granular surface that can be lost over time. 
  • Wood shingles or shakes – Wood shingles are heavier than standard asphalt shingles and over time they can mold and decay. This means they can loosen during high winds, and while they may still be attached to the roof, their ability to protect it from leaks will have been greatly diminished. 
  • Flat roofs – Mostly found on commercial buildings, flat roofs are usually built up with material or covered in a membrane. Wind may not be directly responsible for damage to these kinds of roofs, but flying debris and hail can cause blisters or wrinkles.
  • Soffits, gutters, and fascia – Wind can damage these and loosen their connections to the house and roof. 
  • Chimneys – The flashing around chimneys is prone to tearing, as the weight of a chimney can move independently from the house. Wind can easily damage this flashing, which in turn can create leaks.

Call Frederic Roofing

After the storm, if your inspection uncovers damage to any of these kinds of roofing materials or structures, call Frederic Roofing. We can not only assess the damage and quickly stabilize the roof, but we can also work with your homeowner’s insurance claim so you know what’s covered and how to avoid paying more than your deductible.