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Top 10 Considerations for Selecting a Commercial Roofing System

St. LOUIS, MO – When selecting a roofing system, it seems that the options are endless. But it's important to remember that not all roofing systems are the same; there are a number of variables that facility managers and owners will want to consider in order to make a well-informed decision.

“When you use the roofing system selection tips that I have outlined, you will be better prepared to get the ideal roofing system for your facility that will protect your business and employees for years to come," says David Bade, owner of St. Louis-based Bade Roofing Company.

According to Bade, some of the more common types of commercial roof systems used today include:

Built-Up Roofing utilizes multiple layers of roofing that are felt-bonded together on site with hot bitumen. Types include: four-ply gravel surface built-up or three-or four-ply smooth built-up.
Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems combine exceptional elongation and fatigue-resistant properties with the strength of a glass-reinforced polyester mat. Types include: hot asphalt SBS, cold applied APP and torch applied APP.
Tapered Insulation Systems are designed to reduce or eliminate the amount of ponding/standing water on the membrane when a roof deck does not provide adquate slope. Types include: Tapered Polyiso, Tapered EPS and Perlite.
TPO Roofing Systems are ideally suited for virtually all commercial, industrial and institutional applications. They are fire and wind resistant, durable, flexible and come in a variety of colors. Types include: mechanically attached, fully adhered, ballasted and vented.
Single Ply Roofing is the most popular material for both new and re-roof, low slope applications. The versatile membrane offers a variety of installation options and delivers superior, long-term weatherability with exceptional wind uplift resistance. Types include Fully Adhered EPDM, Ballasted EPDM and Mechanically Attached EPDM.

With all of the different types of roofing systems available, how does a facility manager know which one to choose? Bade says there are several factors that facility managers should consider when selecting a roofing system:

  • Geographical Location – Consider building codes, weather trends and the direction your building faces. There is no such thing as a "one-size-fits-all" roofing system because geographic variations in wind velocity, potential snow load and annual rainfall all vary from location to location and year to year. Roof orientation and nearby trees that will shade the roof are important factors.
  • Physical Makeup – Consider your building’s size, age, shape and design, as well as whether the facility is a new or an existing structure.
  • Building Materials/Construction – Consider the building's material types — wood, steel, brick, and the current types of HVAC and fire protection equipment.
  • Roof Details – Consider the size, shape, slope, deck, edge, protrusions and rooftop access. Some roofs have very little traffic, while others require walkways that provide access to rooftop units. If your new roof will have high foot traffic needs, it will need additional structural pathway support.
  • The Building's Use – Consider the building’s occupancy, insulation needs and maintenance schedule. For example, a retail business has different roofing needs than those of a storage facility. Both require leak-free roofs, but the retail business will need a roof that provides a comfortable environment for customers and staff. The right roof for a warehouse wouldn’t be sufficient for a shopping center, a hospital or a school building.
  • Green Needs – Does the roof require LEED® certification credits or does it need to meet ENERGY STAR® goals? We all want to save money on utility costs, and if that’s an important factor, a cool roof or a reflective roof might be beneficial. Beefed-up insulation and Photovoltaic (PV) systems can also help achieve energy goals.
  • Renewability – Take into account the ease at which materials can be replaced at the end of the warranty period. All roofs need regular periodic maintenance, but not all roof systems can be successfully maintained by an in-house crew.
  • Recyclability – Consider how the materials can be recycled or down-cycled when the roof needs to be replaced. If you plan to own and operate the building for up to 10-15 years, a roof replacement is more attractive, and if you plan to own the building for 20 years or longer, it pays to invest in a roof system that has a long service life and a long-term warranty.
  • Budget – Be sure your budget is realistic and current (updated in the last 6 months). Bade recommends establishing a 20 Year Budget Forecast when it comes to roofing and maintenance needs.
  • Roofing Partner – Pick a qualified roofing company that is locally-based, knowledgeable and certified. Proper installation is critical with the best roofing warranties awarded for the best roofing installation.

Facility managers should always work with an experienced commercial roofer that has a good reputation and local references, understands the local climate and weather conditions, is responsive and professional, and is certified and respected in the area they service.

About Bade Roofing Company, Inc. 
Founded in 1954, Bade Roofing Company, Inc. is one of St. Louis, MO’s premier family-owned and operated commercial and industrial roofing specialists. Bade Roofing uses a highly trained and skilled union workforce to install the highest quality roofing systems. Working directly with facility managers and building owners, and in partnership with local architects, designers and roofing consultants, Bade Roofing also provides comprehensive roof inspections and survey reports, leak finding and repair services, green roof installation, and licensed asbestos roofing removal and abatement.