Whether you’re in the process of designing and constructing a new commercial building, or you are making renovations to an existing building, roofing needs to be a serious consideration. The materials and method you choose for your roofing won’t just affect your construction budget. They’ll also affect your building’s maintenance budget, and they may affect other costs, as well, due to liabilities incurred in installation.
A lot of owners and contractors providing roofing for commercial buildings with flat or shallow-angled roofs are choosing some form of membrane roofing over the old style of asphalt roofing systems. If you’re in the process of choosing a new roof, you’re probably at least a little bit familiar with the three basic forms of membrane roofing: synthetic rubber, thermoplastic membrane, and modified bitumen.
With synthetic rubber roofing, a single membrane of roofing is created by welding together a number of flat synthetic rubber pieces together at their seams. With thermoplastic roofing, the material does not make a continuous membrane, but the pieces are sealed by bonding or melting the pieces together. Modified bitumen roofing is actually an evolved version of asphalt roofing. This modified version creates a better seal than asphalt and comes in self-adhering forms that require no heat for sealing.
Of all of these advanced roofing materials, modified bitumen has quite a few advantages, but there are some disadvantages, too. Let’s go through some of the pros and cons of using modified bitumen for your commercial roofing project.
Pro: Modified Bitumen Performs in Cold Weather
One of the biggest advantages to using modified bitumen roofing is its performance in extremely cold weather. This material was designed to remain flexible, even when the mercury falls well below freezing. Because it does not become brittle in cold weather, it is less likely to crack and create leaks.
Con: Potential Fire Hazards
The older style of modified bitumen roofing involves heated installation, which can be a fire hazard, as a lot of buildings have wooden structures or components on or near their roofs. Fortunately, though, this type of roofing technology has advanced. More and more, manufacturers are moving toward cold-adhesive, self-adhering modified bitumen.
Pro: Cold-Adhesive Options
As we mentioned above, a lot of commercial buildings have heat-sensitive and/or flammable appliances and structures on their rooftops. And, traditionally, modified bitumen installation involved using torches or some other form of heat treatment to install the roofing membrane. However, newer forms of modified bitumen roofing are self-adhering. All you have to do to put it in place is peel the backing off as you unroll your modified bitumen membrane onto the roof.
Using self-adhering modified bitumen is simple, easy, and effective. You won’t have to worry about any heat-related accidents during installation, which makes is not just a pretty big safety advantage for workers and anyone in the building, as well. While we’re talking about safety, the self-adhering options also have low VOC components, which means that the workers installing the roofing materials won’t be breathing in dangerous chemicals on the job, and the materials won’t be emitting harmful toxins into the air around your building.
Pro: Lower Your Energy Bills and Your Carbon Footprint
Modified bitumen roofing is light in color and has heat-reflective properties. That means that it won’t retain heat on a sunny day, so your air conditioning system won’t have to work so hard to keep your building cool.
Finally, modified bitumen roofing is recyclable. When your roofing has come to the end of its useful lifespan, you don’t have to just commit it to a dump to sit forever. The pros definitely outweigh the cons with modified bitumen commercial roofing, including how kind it can be to the environment.