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March 30, 2017

New Commercial Roof? Some Less Obvious Factors to Keep in Mind – Part 2

In selecting a new commercial roofing system for your facility, you’ll certainly want to choose one that will provide good weather protection for your workers and contents. In this second of two articles, we discuss some aspects of a commercial roof selection you might not have thought of, that can help ensure a long-term watertight installation and add value in other ways. Click here to read the first post.

Color: These days, new flat roofing systems are primarily white, because of their reflectivity and the associated energy savings they provide to commercial buildings. In addition to reducing a building’s energy requirements, cool white roofs enable rooftop HVAC units to operate more efficiently than if they’re located on a dark roof surface. Other colors and patterns are available for roofs that are visible from the ground and which can complement a building’s design. Also, for multi-level buildings, a darker color or patterned membrane installed on a lower level can reduce sunlight that reflects from that roof surface through the windows of upper building levels.

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Appropriate for the roof: Choose a roofing system that’s best for the specific rooftop situation:

  • A membrane that resists punctures because it’s thicker or has a denser scrim layer is better for roofs that are in heavy hail areas and/or have regular foot traffic because they contain a lot of equipment that needs maintenance.
  • A restaurant with greasy exhaust on the roof is not a good candidate for a system that degrades from contact with hydrocarbons.
  • A membrane that holds up against ponding water is better for a rooftop where drainage is inadequate and can’t easily be improved by adding sloped insulation or new drainage.
Edge Details: The roof edge termination is a critical part of any single-ply system. You should be confident that the edge attachment can handle the wind forces that the building will experience and keep the roof membrane securely terminated. Another consideration: if your building is close to the ocean, salt water exposure and high humidity make the corrosion-resistance properties of the edge metal very important. Here’s an aesthetic bonus: the variety of metal colors and profiles that are available for perimeter details can enhance the appearance of virtually any building.
blue coping
alma edge detail


Contractor: Clearly, there are a lot of things to consider with a new roof – some obvious (will it keep out the elements?); some not so much (what color edge detail should I choose?). Your most important selection is the contractor who will be installing your new system. Make sure that the company you choose has a reputation for quality and experience with all aspects of the roofing system that’s right for your building.


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