Industrial Roofing Contractors
While all roofs require quality materials, regular upkeep, and proper installation by professionals, industrial roofs differ from residential roofs in several significant ways.
Industrial roofs are usually much larger than typical residential roofs, often feature a low slope or an entirely flat surface, and require more frequent maintenance. They must also contend with harsher conditions than residential roofs. For example, along with normal wear and tear from sun exposure and constantly changing weather, industrial roofing materials must be able to withstand a variety of chemicals, exhausts, and residues that result from industrial processes.
Because industrial buildings often house sensitive, expensive equipment, roofing companies and building owners must take extra care when installing, repairing, or replacing these roofs. Whether due to extreme weather conditions or failure to schedule regular maintenance, a leaking roof can cause extensive damage that requires costly, time-consuming repair.
Depending on the unique needs of the business, there are five primary types of roofing materials utilized in industrial roofing:
- Thermoplastic Polyolefin Roofing – Also referred to as TPO, this single-ply roofing is constructed from a blend of propylene, ethylene, rubber, and fiberglass. Highly resistant to fats and oils, this is the ideal roofing material for restaurants.
TPO offers one of the highest levels of energy efficiency among single-ply membrane roofing materials and is one of the most common types of roofs found on large commercial facilities. Single-ply membrane roofing materials are sheets of rubber and other synthetic materials that can be chemically adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted to insulation to offer protection to a commercial building’s first line of defense against the elements.
TPO is gaining popularity for flat commercial roofs because their single-layer construction is easy to transport and offers a surface that naturally reflects the UV rays of the sun. The material is made in 10-, 12-, and 20-foot-wide sheets that are rolled up for transport to the site. This option has become the go-to choice for many industry professionals and is currently responsible for around 40% of the commercial roofing market.
When a facility owner chooses TPO, they have a few options for their insulation material, including polyisocyanurate, expanded polystyrene, and extruded polystyrene. The TPO membrane is then rolled out and attached to the insulation cover board, after which the contractor air welds the seams together with a hot air gun.
- Thermoset Roofing – Comprised of a single-ply rubber membrane, thermoset roofing is resistant to cold, fire, acid, alcohol, and other solvents.
These membranes are chosen due to the durability they offer by combining principal polymers that are vulcanized (also known as cured) or chemically cross-linked. Thermoset polymers can only be bonded to similar products once they are cured with adhesives. The five most common categories of thermoset roofing membranes include Polyisobutylene (PIB), Neoprene (CR), Epichlorohydrin (ECH), Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene (CSPE), and Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM).
EPDM is the most common type of thermoset roof membrane. As the name suggests, this material is composed primarily of two substances that are derived from natural gas and oil, ethylene and propylene. EPDM roof membranes are available in sheets that range in width from 7.5 feet to 50 feet. These sheets are usually between 45 mils and 60 mils in thickness. Specially formulated tape and liquid adhesives are used by contractors to seal seams in EPDM roofing, and although they are available in white, black is the most common color choice for the membranes. Options for installation include ballasting, attaching them mechanically with batten bars, and fully adhering.
- Metal Roofing – Typically built to resist rust for decades, metal roofing can be made of aluminum, steel, copper, or tin and holds up well under heavy snow.
The fact that metal roofs can last a century or more is perhaps their biggest selling point in commercial applications. These roofs consist of overlapping metal shingles or panels that are fastened to a solid substrate or open framing. Standing seam metal roofing systems are one of the most common options. These “concealed fastener” roofing systems use hidden clips and flanges to fasten panel seams to open framing or a solid roof deck. The seam of the panels prevents water from penetrating the roof by standing above the flat surface and eliminating the need for external fasteners.
Metal roofing is a popular choice for commercial buildings because it is available in a wide variety of colors and design styles. These designs may vary due to the way the panel is mounted and the connection of the seams, which each affect the finished look of the roof. Facility owners have the choice between panels that offer a wide flat surface and those with ribs, or striations, in between the seams.
- Built-Up Roofing (BUR) – Named after the process rather than the materials, built-up roofing is comprised of multiple layers, with base layers of tar or asphalt covered with a top layer of gravel.
The base of a built-up roof is made of bitumen material, which can be “hot” or “cold.” Hot bitumen is heated to a liquid form during installation, while cold is more akin to an adhesive that doesn’t require heating. The cold form may be applied with a squeegee or sprayed on. The benefits of using this type of bitumen are that it is not weather-dependent and doesn’t emit toxic fumes when being applied. In addition to that, these roofs offer better performance than hot bitumen.
Ply sheets that are placed over the bitumen to bond it to the roof are made from fabrics that are reinforced with organic materials or fiberglass and typically come in a standard width of 36 inches. The top layer of the roof is made from gravel or small stones and completes the look of the roof while protecting the first two layers from foot traffic, falling debris, and sunlight.
- Modified Bitumen – Modified bitumen roofs mix bitumen, which is solid petroleum, with another material, like fiberglass. This material is especially durable when subject to heavy foot traffic.
These types of roofs, developed in Europe in the 1960s, are a common choice for flat roofs on commercial buildings. They are a modified version of built-up roofs but offer a single-ply option. The material combines asphalt bitumen, which has been modified with polymers, and a reinforcing agent such as polyester or fiberglass.
The unique assembly method of this type of roof increases the roof’s effectiveness against the elements with its strong permutation of layers. The advantages this type of construction provides give this roofing material a competitive edge over other commercial roofing options.
Call the Pros
To learn more about your options for industrial roofing, contact Far West Roofing today by calling (801) 618-2644 or submitting a contact form. Our team of trained, certified experts has over 25 years of experience providing Salt Lake City businesses with the highest quality roofs and the best customer service.