As any seasoned business owner can tell you, flat roofs have special requirements. Unlike steep-sloped roofs that harness the power of gravity to shed water, flat roofs use drains and a waterproof membrane to evacuate water and protect your business. The term ‘flat’ can be a bit misleading here, since a completely flat could result in an unwanted swimming pool over your head. A better term to use would be a “low slope” roof, that must have at least a 1/4 inch of slope per foot in order for the water to easily flow downhill to awaiting drains..
This roofing material is applied directly to the surface where it “foams up” and solidifies before a protective coating is put on top of it. Because of its flexibility, foam is extremely useful for roofs with unusual configurations. There are several advantages of choosing foam for your business. For example, this style of roof protects against thermal shock and can greatly reduce your air conditioning bills. Now we’re talking!
Built-up roofing (or BUR) is what many people call “hot tar roofing.” A century old, time-tested roofing method, these roofs consist of three or four overlapping layers of asphalt felts, which are fused together with hot asphalt.
However, built up roofs must be protected from harsh weather, sunlight and foot traffic, using a surfacing material like gravel, a cap sheet, a smooth coat of hot asphalt or a special reflective coating.
Modified bitumen’s, like built-up roofing, consist of reinforced asphalt impregnated felts. But unlike BURs, the asphalt in the felts is then modified with a plastic or rubber polymer to improve elasticity, durability and overall performance. With the added polymers, modified bitumen is often applied in a single layer with overlapping seams. You can choose to have them “glued” to the roof with hot asphalt or an adhesive, or using propane torches, melt the asphalt underside. Some modified bitumen requires protective surfacing materials, usually mineral granules or a liquid coating.
Single ply membranes are made of either rubber or plastic, or they can be a hybrid of both materials. As you would expect, single ply membranes are applied in a single layer. The installation is simple: a membrane is rolled out, the seams between sheets are heat-welded, chemically-welded or simply glued together, while the membrane is attached to the roof with fastener, ballast or adhesive.
Perhaps your business has a sloped roof, that uses gravity to shed water. You have many different choices when it comes to the type of material you could choose.
Shingle roofs are reinforced roofs that use organic or fiberglass materials. While asphalt shingles reinforced with organic felts have been around for a long time, fiberglass-reinforced products are now a very popular choice among many businesses.
Clay or concrete tiles are a smart roofing material choice for the long haul. Mission and Spanish-style round-topped tiles are used widely in the Southwest. Flat styles are also available, which result in a more French or English look. Today, tile comes in a variety of colors and finishes, but it’s important to note how heavy this material can be. If you are replacing another type of roof system with tile, you will need to verify that the building itself can support the load.
Asphalt shingles makeup a majority of the Valley’s steep-slope roofing market and can be reinforced with organic or fiberglass materials. For years, asphalt shingles reinforced with organic felts were the standard. Now, fiberglass-reinforced products dominate the market.
These are constructed with a fiberglass mat, top-and-bottom layers of asphalt and mineral granules.
Fire Resistance Ratings
The ability of an asphalt shingle to resist fires is categorized with the designation of Class A, Class B or Class C. Class A indicates the most fire-resistant, while Classes B and C mean the shingles are less fire resistant. As a general rule, the majority of fiberglass shingles have Class A fire ratings, while the majority of organic shingles receive a Class C rating.
The reinforcement of a shingle has very little effect on its appearance. Both organic and fiberglass products are now available in laminated (architectural) grades, featuring a textured appearance. Zinc or copper-coated ceramic granules can also be applied to organic or fiberglass products to protect against algae attack, a common problem in warm, humid parts of the country. Both types of shingles are available in a variety of colors. Regardless of their reinforcement type and appearance, asphalt shingles’ physical characteristics vary significantly. When installing asphalt shingles, KY-KO recommends shingles that comply with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.