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What Are The Three Primary Types Of Flat Roofing You Can Choose For Your Business?

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If you are new to owning a commercial building, then you're probably not familiar with the types of roofs typically used on these buildings. The flat roofs they feature can't just be covered with shingles or metal sheets like your sloped residential roof. Instead, there is an array of roofing materials designed specifically for flat commercial roofs. Three of them are commonly used, and each of these three has its own pros and cons. Here's a closer look.

Built-Up Roofing

What is it? 

Also known as BUR, this type of roof is made from tar and gravel. It gets its name from the way it is applied and re-applied. The roofing company starts with a single layer of tar and gravel. As the roof begins to wear down, they keep applying additional layers of tar and gravel every few years.

What are the advantages?

BUR is an excellent choice if your building is in an area where forest fires are common, or if nearby businesses use a lot of flammable solvents. This is because tar and gravel are quite fire-resistant. BUR also has an attractive look; it appears much like asphalt when it is new. At an average cost of $3 - $7 per square foot (including materials and installation), BUR is one of the more affordable flat roofing choices.

What are the disadvantages?

BUR is quite heavy, so your building's frame may need to be modified to support its weight if the building has not had a BUR roof up until this point. There's also an unappealing odor of asphalt during the installation process, which may not be ideal if your building houses a restaurant or other food service establishment.

Modified Bitumen

What is it?

Also known as MB, this roofing material is like a tough membrane. It's unrolled onto your roof as a big sheet, and then adhered to the roof surface with a torch and a special adhesive. 

What are the advantages?

MB is light in color, so if you'd rather have a cream or white-colored roof than a black one, this is a great choice. Because of its light color, it reflects more sunlight and helps keep your air conditioning bills down in the summer. MB is comparable in price to BUR, and it's rather easy for your roofing company to apply.

What are the disadvantages?

When your MB roof wears out, it needs to be replaced completely. It can't just be built up like BUR. Also, it can become torn if it is scraped, such as by a tree branch or machinery. Since the roof needs to be applied with a torch, there is a risk of fire -- and it's very important that you hire a skilled contractor to reduce this risk.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer

What is it? 

Commonly known as EPDM or rubber roofing, this is a flat roof made from a material similar to that used to make rubber tires and inner tubes. It is manufactured in large sheets and then fixed to the roof using a combination of fasteners and adhesives.

What are the advantages?

EDPM is very resistant to scuffs and tears, making it a good choice if you suspect there will be a lot of ice or tree branches on the roof. It has an attractive appearance that does not degrade with time like that of BUR roofing.

What are the disadvantages?

EPDM is black in color, so it absorbs sunlight, keeps your building warmer, and may not be the best choice in a very warm environment. It also costs more than MB or BUR. The average price point is between $5 and $10 per square foot for installation and materials.

To learn more about these and other roofing options, check out sites like http://www.rainydayexteriors.com.


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