Although modern buildings are more durable against the elements than ever before, Mother Nature almost always has the final say. If you don’t design with the elements in mind, the efficiency and durability of your building will decrease.
This is why it’s important to use the right commercial roofing materials for your climate, whether hot or cold. Fortunately, when it comes to commercial roofing materials, you have lots of options. It’s just a matter of choosing the right one for your property.
Best Roofing Materials for Hot Climates
The sun and the heat can be incredibly damaging and can also make a significant impact on the energy costs of your building.
If your property is in a hot climate, here are the best roofing materials you can put on your commercial property.
Also known as Thermoset Roof Membrane, or by its full name, ethylene propylene diene monomer, EDPM is a rubber that adheres to your roof and can provide decades of protection against the heat, as well as the destructive qualities of the sun’s UV rays.
If you get the EDPM in white, it will reflect even more sunlight, helping to keep the building below cooler and reducing your energy consumption from air conditioning.
The only downsides to EDPM is that it is more expensive than other membrane materials, and it also can be damaged with rocks stuck in shoes, meaning it should not be used on roofs that experience heavy foot traffic.
Another option for roofing materials in hot climates is metal. Galvanized steel, copper, and aluminum are some of the most common metals, though there are others that will work..
Not only are they extremely durable against all the elements, as well as foot traffic, they also reflect sunlight, helping to keep the building cool. The only problem is cost; installing a metal roof is going to be considerably more expensive than a membrane roof.
If you want a roof that will keep your property cool and also help out the environment, consider installing a green roof. This could also be a cheaper option, depending on the size of your roof and the availability of rainwater..
To do this, you would need to install a membrane roof as the base. Then, you could construct raised garden beds or other structures that would house plants.
The shade provided by the plants keeps your roof and your building cool, and also protects the material underneath, allowing you to opt for something more affordable, such as a standard modified bitumen roof, rather than a more expensive EPDM roof.
Best Roofing Materials for Cold Climates
While the heat can certainly be punishing, the cold is just as destructive. If your property lies in an area with lots of snow, ice, and rain, here are the best commercial roofing materials you can use:
The best roof you can use in a cold climate is a metal roof with an insulation layer. It will resist the water and cold temperatures better than any membrane roof, meaning you’ll likely never need to replace it.
Of course, the same issue applies as when you install a metal roof in a hot climate: it’s more expensive.
Thermoplastic Roof Membrane (PVC)
Made from poly-vinyl chloride (PVC), Thermoplastic Roof Membrane is your next best bet for a roofing material in the cold. It is fully waterproof, and it can also be heat welded, which means it can be applied around odd shapes and structures on your roof. Thi provides a more perfect seal and helps keep moisture out.
However, over time (usually around 30 years) the membrane will start to lift from the roof and you will need to replace it. Depending on your plans for the property, it might be worth the savings, though keep this in mind when making your decision.
For smaller commercial properties, mainly because of the added material cost, consider slate tiles. The thickness of these tiles, plus their conductive properties, allow them to provide some tremendous insulation against the cold.
Overall, this will provide considerable energy savings and should be considered despite the initial upfront installation costs.
Best Roofing Materials for Flat Roofs
Another thing that determines which material is going to be the best for your commercial property’s roof is the shape of the roof itself. Many commercial properties, especially the larger ones, have flat roofs as they are much less expensive to build and also to cover.
However, flat roofs can cause problems if water does not properly drain. Protect your flat roof by using one of the following materials:
Also the best roofing material for hot climates, EDPM is also the ideal choice for flat roofs. It rolls on and adheres to the roof, providing a thick layer of insulation against the sun and water.
This is the strongest of all the rubber membranes you can install on your commercial property, which means you can expect it to last fifty years or more. But this quality comes with a cost.
Another option for flat roofs, one that provides ample protection at a slightly lower cost is Thermoplastic Polyolefin, also known as TPO.
A relatively new material, TPO applies in a similar way as EDPM, but like PVC, it can also be heat welded, allowing it to be shaped around any roof. And it also provides solid protection against both hot and cold. It can even withstand moderate hail.
Best Roofing Materials for Steep Slope Roofs
The alternative to a flat roof is a steep slope roof. The advantage these roofs provide is that they don’t allow for water, snow, or ice buildup. But the steeper the slope, the harder it is to install certain roofing materials.
If you have a steep slope roof, then you should use one of the following commercial roofing materials:
One of the best materials for steep slope roofs are asphalt shingles, the same ones you find on most residential properties. These are quite durable against the elements and are much easier to apply than a membrane when the roof is sloped.
The only downside is that asphalt shingles don’t last quite as long as some of the other materials out there. Expect to have to change the roof in 20-30 years depending on the conditions of the area in which the property is located.
An alternative to asphalt shingles are tiles, either clay or adobe. They will provide excellent protection against the rain and can also do wonders for insulating your home. And because steep slope roofs tend to have smaller surface areas, you will need fewer materials, helping you cut down costs.
Update Your Commercial Property with a New Roof
There is a big difference between the many different types of commercial roofing materials. Choosing the right one is important to preserving the long-term condition of your property. Whether you live in a hot or cold climate, or have a flat or steep slope roof, there are a lot of decisions to be made.
Let the experts at Kingdom Roofing help you decide which is right for your needs and budget. Get in touch for a free estimate today.