Commercial roofing keeps your business safe from the elements. This is the main function of any roof. Some roofing materials crack and break down in heat and constant direct sunlight. The wrong type of roof for the climate can transfer heat from the sun directly into the building below. This raises energy costs unnecessarily by forcing cooling systems to work harder.
The Department of Energy states that Texas roofs can reach temperatures up to 150 degrees in hot summer months. A cool roof can cut temperatures by 50-70 degrees. Reducing heat absorption through the roof can cut energy costs by nearly 30%.
Commercial roofing materials vary greatly in terms of energy efficiency and other factors that determine the best type of roof for specific climates. However, the wide range of roofing materials, techniques and styles available today offer heat resistance and many additional benefits as well. Austin, TX, has a hot, sunny climate with arid conditions, although the region also experiences periods of heavy rainfall and strong winds.
Terra-cotta is usually seen on residential roofs, but it can be used for commercial roofing as well. It is commonly installed in Italy, Mexico, Spain, and southwestern regions of the United States. A terra-cotta tile is made by baking clay in a kiln. The baking process creates a durable, nonporous, and extremely dense material. Dense clay tiles can’t retain heat from sunlight because there are no internal air pockets.
Terra-cotta tiles are extremely durable and last for decades. Tiles are often constructed with a curved shape to enhance air circulation. A layer of circulating air between the roof and the building provides insulation to repel heat and lower cooling costs. Terra-cotta tiles are heavier than an asphalt or bitumen roof. Consult a professional roofer to find out if your roof should be reinforced before installing terra-cotta tiles.
Metal, such as corrugated metal or corrugated steel, with a reflective coating is also appropriate for commercial roofing in hot, dry climates. Reflective coatings deflect sunlight to help keep the building cool. Metal does not dry out and crack or break down under UV rays. Reflective coatings do require maintenance on a regular basis, but the metal itself lasts up to 50 years. Some types of metal roofs can be made of almost 100% recycled material, so it is an environmentally friendly choice as well.
Concrete tiles are constructed in thick slabs for commercial roofing purposes. Sunlight can’t heat through the thick concrete and reach the building itself during the course of a normal day. Plain gray concrete can look drab and utilitarian. Dyed concrete in light colors adds another layer of protection from excessive heat by reflecting light and improving the building’s aesthetic.
Many concrete tiles are S-shaped or formed as half-barrels to accommodate air circulation. Weight is the biggest disadvantage of concrete commercial roofing. Concrete tiles are heavy and you may need additional foundational support for a concrete roof.
EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a synthetic material resembling rubber. It is a type of thermoplastic with strong resistance to UV radiation and weathering. Titanium dioxide roof coatings over EPDM provide increased heat reduction ability by reflecting sunlight and heat.
EPDM roofs are usually seamless, and a titanium dioxide coating on top of EPDM provides an excellent barrier to prevent water and air leaks. It is also a lightweight, flexible material and lends itself to simple installation, although these same properties make EPDM less durable than some other heat-resistant commercial roofing materials.
Thermoplastic polyolefin, TPO, and poly vinyl chloride, PVC, commercial roofing membranes are resistant to UV light. These materials also hold up well to chemical exposure and discourage bacterial growth. Lightweight and malleable TPO and PVC membranes are puncture-resistant and relatively easy to install. The flexible membranes also withstand strong winds and high temperatures.
Clay and Slate Tiles
Clay roofing tiles, typically made of unglazed terra-cotta, have natural reflective properties. A clay roof reflects approximately 33% of heat from direct sunlight and up to 80% of solar energy. Slate tiles have an authentic appearance because they are constructed from natural stone.
Good insulation combined with a slate roof significantly reduces heat transfer into the building. Slate roofs are extremely durable and lasts up to 100 years because the stone was formed underground by intense heat over a very long period of time. Clay and slate offer some protection from fires. A piece of flaming debris or hot ember can’t ignite a clay or slate roof.
A green roof is made of plants and moss over a waterproof membrane. EPDM is often used to construct the membrane, which is then filled with soil and seeded with plants. Soil is naturally cool and the plants absorb sunlight and heat. Soil also acts as an insulator, and water runoff from the plants cools the building and surrounding ground cool.
Green roofs are not always practical for businesses, but there are environmental benefits to consider. Natural cooling methods are energy efficient and help mitigate the heat island effect in cities such as Austin, TX. Air quality in large cities is sometimes compromised by traffic congestion and a lack of green spaces. Plants growing on green roofs produce oxygen. Each roof only produces a small amount of oxygen, but many roofs throughout the city can make a big difference.
Sometimes the time and effort required to maintain green roofs, and other environmentally friendly measures, have a significant positive effect on consumers. The balance of benefits and disadvantages is different for each individual business.
Call Longhorn Roofing to explore roofing options. The knowledgeable and experienced staff are happy to help with all of your commercial roofing needs.