Commercial Flat Roof Replacement Options

If you have a flat roof, even if it has been properly maintained over the course of its life, the time will come when it will need to be replaced. When that time arrives, there are various commercial flat roof replacement options you can choose from.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

built-up-commercial-roofBuilt-up roofing, or BUR, is a popular choice among commercial building owners for various reasons. It is comparatively inexpensive, for one thing. BUR roofing is also composed of various layers, making it an effective insulator. BUR roofing is additionally an attractive option, usually featuring an aesthetically pleasing gravel top coat.

But BUR roofs also have their drawbacks. The multiple layers of a BUR roof add greatly to its weight, often necessitating the addition of reinforcing joists. BUR roof installation is also very disruptive to a business, as the building usually must be completely vacated throughout the installation process.

Single-Ply EPDM

epdm-commercial-roofEthylene propylene diene monomer roofing, commonly known as EPDM or rubber roofing, is a single-ply rubber compound used for flat roof application. EPDM roofs are known for their durability and have a respectable life expectancy.

On the downside, EPDM roofs require quite a bit of maintenance and feature a myriad of seams that are treated with adhesives, which makes the whole system vulnerable and susceptible to problems as time passes.

Modified Bitumen

modified-bitumen-roofModified bitumen is another single-ply system that is among the more environmentally friendly flat roof options, helping reduce energy costs by reflecting the sun. Modified bitumen is typically rolled onto the surface of a roof. Formerly, applying modified bitumen required laying the material on a roof and then using a blowtorch to heat it, but newer systems employ a safer installation method of peeling the material and then adhering it to the roof.

One of the biggest disadvantages of modified bitumen roofs is they are very vulnerable to scuffing and tearing. With very much foot traffic on the roof, tears and scuffs are almost certain to develop.


pvc-commercial-roofPVC roofing is known to be one of the best options for a flat roof, boasting easy installation, high reflectivity and outstanding durability. PVC roofs are also able to resist water ponding—a common problem for flat roofs.

PVC roofing is not as desirable as a seamless system, however. Because PVC roofing is applied in rolls, it therefore has seams. However, it’s important to note that heat-welding is typically used to join two PVC sheets together, which creates a far stronger bond than adhesives.

Roof Coatings

roof-coating-commercial-roofPerhaps the best flat roofing option of all is a roof coating system. These systems, especially the ones manufactured by the Conklin® company, offer an array of benefits that make them highly desirable.

The application of a roof coating system can restore an existing roof to like-new function, delaying the need for roof replacement by adding up to 18 years of guaranteed life to your current roof. Roof coatings are a fully waterproof solution and completely seal up a roof against Mother Nature’s destructive elements. Moreover, Conklin’s roof coating systems are ENERGY STAR® certified, low-maintenance, and can lower the temperature of a roof by as much as 80 degrees – all backed by a 40-year reputation.

The process of applying a roof coating is also much less costly and labor-intensive than a roof tear-off and replacement, which means a business’ operations can continue as normal while the work is being done. Further, a coated roof can be re-coated down the road, extending the life of your current roof even further.

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No matter what type of flat roof you ultimately opt for, you can find an endorsed and fully trained roofing contractor to perform the application work through the Choice Roof Contractor Group.

We are a nationwide association consisting of some of the most dependable roofing professionals in the United States, with members located throughout the country. In order to become part of the group, our members must satisfy certain criteria. We even meet them personally at the factory training.  

To locate a Choice Roof Contractor Group member providing services in your area, call (800) 670-5583 or visit the contact page of the CRCG website.


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Written by: Cami Cox
Cami Cox
Cami is one of the main writers at Choice Roof Contractor Group. Leveraging her unique background in the space and more than a decade of professional writing experience, she has written countless articles on the various aspects of commercial roofs and has gained the respect of building owners and contractors across the country.