Business owners or anyone who owns a commercial building – a shop, restaurant, warehouse, an office building, a factory, or any other property used for commercial purposes – probably already know the value and importance of having a well-constructed roof.
A roof in good condition helps to maintain the integrity of the entire structure and protects the business or businesses housed inside.
If you own a commercial or industrial building and need to have the roof fixed or replaced, then you owe to yourself and your business (or your tenants) to work with a commercial roofing company or roofing contractors who understand the specific details and challenges of commercial roofing systems.
Read on to learn why and how to find the right roofing team for your commercial property.
What is Commercial Roofing?
The commercial roofing industry is vast and varied, and for good reason – there are almost as many options for commercial roofing as there are types of businesses.
Moreover, the potential problems, issues, and needs that business owners may have to deal with are different from those of homeowners, so naturally the types of roofing systems used need to be different as well.
As a concept, commercial roofing is the term for all kinds of roofing systems that are used for various places of business; commercial roofing contractors or commercial roofing companies are the ones that install, maintain, and repair those roofing systems.
Commercial roofing is usually crafted from different elements than residential roofing; SPF or sprayed polyurethane foam, concrete, tar and gravel, metal, asphalt, bitumen roofing, built-up roofing, and single-ply materials like PVC, TVP, or EPDM are all commonly utilized for commercial roofing.
What is the Difference Between Commercial and Residential Roofing?
In general, the goal of building commercial roofing is more about durability and strength as opposed to aesthetics; that said, the location and intended use of the property also plays a major role in commercial roofing decisions.
In addition, commercial roofing systems tend to be more complex than residential roofing systems.
For example, a residential roof may have a chimney, a skylight or two, and perhaps some additional features like cupolas or gables – and that’s about as complicated as it gets.
On the contrary, commercial roofing often has industrial features like smoke stacks, air flow systems, external piping, more involved HVAC systems, and more.
Types of Commercial Roofing Systems
There are multiple options for commercial roofing, and the kind that you choose for your business or building should be based on your location, climate, and the intended use of the property.
Commercial roofs tend to be less flashy or have fewer design details than residential roofing; they are also more likely to be flat or low-sloped, or otherwise more utilitarian.
They also almost always have a larger square footage than a residential roof which requires more support for the weight and size of the structure.
Flat Commercial Roofing
Many commercial buildings have flat roofs; these can be made of metal, tar and gravel, sprayed polyurethane foam, PVC, TVP, or EPDM, or they can be built-up roofing systems that combine bitumen or asphalt with layers of roofing felt.
Flat roofing is common for warehouses, factories, and similar industrial properties.
Often these types of roofing systems involve layering materials over a membrane, as is the case with sprayed polyurethane foam or any single ply material like PVC, TVP, or EPDM.
Green or garden roofing systems are also an increasingly popular choice for commercial roofs.
It’s essential to know that while flat roofs are often the most practical or best choice for a commercial building, they do also often require more maintenance and flat roof repairs than other types of roofs.
This is because flat roofing is installed in large sections as well as the fact that flat commercial roofs often have equipment housed on top, or various types of vents and HVAC systems involved.
Low Sloped Commercial Roofing
Sloped or low-sloped roofing is also common for commercial properties, and some of the more common materials used included sealed metals like copper or tin as well as asphalt composites, fiberglass three-tab shingles or fiberglass laminate, and even wooden shingles or shakes, concrete shingles, or ceramic tile.
If metal is used to replace a low sloped or steep or pitched commercial roof, it tends to be referred as metal retrofit roofing.
This can also be used to hide vents or HVAC structures on the roof and create a more attractive appearance.
Pitched Commercial Roofing
A pitched or peaked roof tends to be a rare choice for commercial buildings, which mostly have flat or low-pitched roofs.
Nevertheless, sometimes a pitched roof makes sense for the location and the style of architecture for a commercial building.
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Elite Restoration Co. is a full-service roofing company that helps Illinois homeowners and commercial property management companies with roof replacements and roof repairs.
The Factors to Consider When You are Choosing a Commercial Roofing System
When you are considering what type of roof – or repairing a roof – on a commercial building, you’ll want to start by disregarding anything you know about roofing as it relates to residential properties or private homes, since commercial roofing is a different entity altogether.
In fact, you’ll want to engage the services of a company or contractor that is experienced with commercial roofing specifically and therefore understands the different requirements, characteristics, and issues that may arise.
Furthermore, the insurance and warranty process is generally different with commercial roofing systems, so you will want to ensure that you understand everything and that you are working with a crew that understands it as well – and may even be able to help guide you towards the best choices for your needs.
You should also consider the cost of potential roof repairs or restoration.
After all, natural disasters or other weather events happen and can damage your roof, so choosing a type of commercial roofing system that can be easily be fixed by local roofing contractors or companies is always a good idea.
Why Should You Work with Dedicated Commercial Roofing Contractors?
The safety of your employees or team (or the employees or crew of any company that rents your space as the case may be) should be of utmost importance, and maintaining the integrity of the literal roof over their heads plays a key role.
What’s more, the roof on your commercial property is likely one of the larger investments you’ll make, so you want to ensure that it is done right and maintained well, including a proper inspection and cleaning schedule.
In addition, if you are tearing off and replacing the roof, making significant repairs, or adding an overlay on top of the existing roof, you may need to halt business operations while the work is being done.
A roofing company that does commercial work will understand this and work with you to determine the best times to perform the work and help you with a timeline that makes sense for both the work that needs to be done and the operations of the business or businesses housed in the property.
Commercial Roofing Maintenance and Repair
Maintaining the roof on your commercial property is essential, of course, and while at times patching up or fixing leaks on a residential roof may be a simple DIY task or something inexpensive, commercial roofing is usually more complex.
Accordingly, you will likely need to hire a roofing contractor or company that specializes in your type of roof to fix any damage and potentially re-seal or apply new coatings to your business’s roof or replace the roof completely.
Furthermore, since commercial roofs are generally larger than residential roofs, any damage can be more extensive and they tend to require more regular inspections and repairs.
Cleaning out the gutters and removing any debris from the roof should be a consistent task, particularly if your commercial building is located in an area that experiences extreme weather like snowstorms in the winter or major rainstorms, wind storms, or hailstorms during any season.
How to Find a Commercial Roofing Company
Choosing a company or contractor(s) to build the roof over your business is no simple task.
You want to find a crew that understands the unique conditions and other aspects of commercial roofing who can do the job in a way that causes minimal interruption to your or your tenants’ business, and perhaps can help you ensure that the work and materials involved are covered by your insurance provider.
We’re experienced commercial roofing contractors, so if you are in the surrounding Naperville area contact us for a free inspection.
Will My Insurance Cover Commercial Roofing Work?
Depending on the cause of the damage to your commercial roofing system, your business’s general liability insurance may cover repairs or even a complete replacement if your roof is older or it has been damaged to the extent that a new roof is the better choice.
If your commercial building’s roof was damaged due to a catastrophic weather event like a hail storm, wind storm, heavy rains, or even a tornado, earthquake, or hurricane, then it is likely that your insurance claim might cover all or at least some of the costs – just make sure you get the appropriate estimates from your roofing contractors in writing in order to submit it to your insurance carrier.
At the end of the day, building and maintaining a commercial roofing system is quite different from taking care of the roof on your house or other residential property, so you will want to work with a company or roofing contractor who understands the unique aspects involved and will help you to keep your business operations intact while any necessary construction or maintenance work is performed on your roof.
If you’re thinking about filing a commercial roof claim, read our latest roof insurance claim guide.
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