Choosing the Right Roofing System

Choosing the Right Roofing System

For commercial and industrial property owners, it is important to know the basics of their roofing system before making any decisions. The cost of a flat roof replacement is always a major factor in the decision making process. Flat roof leaks are initial signs that indicate funds should start being set aside for a new flat roof. Roof maintenance plans and temporary repairs allow for property owners to get by until a full flat roof replacement is necessary. However, waiting too long can result in emergency situations that could have been easily avoided.

Flat Roof Material

Depending on location, there are flat roofing systems that offer advantages in cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Each type of roofing system has pros and cons that make it more or less suitable for a given building.

Built-Up Roofs (Tar & Gravel) tend to be thicker and the gravel surfacing make the roof more resiliant to heavy traffic or mechanical abuse situations. Built-up roofs are generally not the best choice for re-cover or re-roof systems because they are heavier than most other types of roof systems, and the added weight may prohibit a re-cover. Built-up roofing should not be chosen when the roof is subject to heavy coatings of grease and oil as hydrocarbon materials will dissolve the waterproofing asphalt.

Modified Bitumen roofing systems provide better resilience in colder weather (sleet, hail, snow, high winds, etc.) and can handle high and low temperature extremes due to attributes that allow them to stretch and relax with temperature changes. Almost all modified-bitumen membranes are surfaced with granules, making them less heavy than the traditional tar and gravel roofing systems. Often, a modified-bitumen membrane will be used as a cap sheet on a traditional built-up roof. This gives the redundancy of a built-up roof with the flexibility of a modified bitumen membrane.

Single Ply roofing systems, such as EPDM, PVC and TPO, perform better and provide a higher return of investment in energy savings in sunny weather regions due to their ability to reflect heat and sunlight, reducing energy costs and the urban heat island effect. Most single ply membranes are sensitive to extreme temperature changes, and hydrocarbons such as oil, cooking grease and jet fuel, and should not be used in these situations. They are are a good choice for when cost is the overriding factor in the installation because they usually are less expensive to install and can re-cover almost any deck type.

Life Expectancy

When choosing a roofing system, be wary that flat roofs often fail before the expected service life due to poor workmanship. Cheap roofs offered by lower-priced competitors are often low-quality and result in a short life expectancy even with ongoing maintenance. Installing an inexpensive, low-quality flat roof will cost less to install at first, but at the expense of issues and headaches you will face later on such as flat roof leaks and damaged interiors, leading no money saved or money lost. The best alternative is a high quality roofing system at a reasonable price that will last and comes with a warranty.


There are many options available to a property owner. Allow us to provide valuable consultation, guide you through the planning process, and provide flat roofing services with a high degree of quality and workmanship. Call 416-855-0549 today to schedule an appointment.

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