Different Types of Membranes for Commercial Flat Roofs

Eco friendly roofing options

Flat roof types are commonly used as commercial roofing solutions. There are several different types of commercial roofing materials that can be used as a membrane for a flat roof. Here are just a few:

  • Built Up Roofing

    Built up roofing (BUR) involves placing either asphalt waterproofing or coal tar pitch between piles of felt that reinforces the roof. These materials prevent flat roof leaks when installed properly, and there are pros and cons to both types of commercial roofing materials used in BUR.
  • Modified Bitumen

    Modified bitumen membranes are similar to built up roofing, but they’re pre-manufactured and come in rolls. Usually they use coal tar or modified asphalt as a waterproofing membrane. Rubber is used to protect the roof from lows temperatures and stretching. Modified bitumen membranes can be installed on top of a built up membrane and adhered with a torch, mop or other adhesive agent.
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer

    Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer or EPDM also comes in large sheets, but it’s applied to a roof’s insulation. EPDM is often held in place using rock or paver ballasts, though it can be adhered as well.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride

    Polyvinyl Chloride (or PVC) sheets come in rolls as well and are attached to the roof deck mechanically using plates and screws. Seams may be heat welded and sealed depending on the roof.
  • Single Ply

    Single ply roofs are among the simplest types of commercial roofing materials. They consist of a single layer of roofing material composed of rubbers and polymer plastics.
  • TerPolymer Olefins

    TerPolymer Olefins or TPO are sheet membranes with a fleece backing that are adhered to the insulation of a roof.
  • Overburden Systems

    Overburden systems usually require some form of topping to hold the membrane in place. These toppings can be ballasts, paver systems, river rocks coated in adhesives, or some form of coating. All of these protect the system from light and damage.

Each system has different advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to consult with flat roof specialists before you settle on a membrane.

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