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What Is The Best Roof System?

August 2013 Volume 5 Number 8

We hear this question quite a bit and there’s no exact answer because each roof is somewhat different.

In choosing the correct roof system, there are numerous factors to consider. First, look at it as a “System” not just a roofing membrane.

There are 8 major families of roof systems. Couple this with 8 other basic insulation boards and factor in several different attachment methods and there are literally HUNDREDS of roof systems that can be installed!

After 50+ years of roofing along the Grand Strand we have experienced what works and what doesn’t when it comes to roof systems.

There are 4 key areas to focus on when designing the right roofing system:

  1. Location – Where is the building at? The geographical location of the facility plays a large part in determining which system is installed. An important factor for us along the ocean front is wind uplift. We are in a 130 mph wind zone.
  2. Rooftop Conditions – What’s happening on top?

If there are HVAC units on the roof, that means roof traffic…a lot, particularly a high rise condo. There can be several different companies working on HVAC equipment.

Is there oil, grease or contaminants spilling on the roof? EPDM & TPO don’t do well.

Other considerations include: Drainage, edge detail, penetrations, expansion joints and any other item that may impact the new roofing system.

  1. Internal Operations – What goes on inside?

Internal operations are often overlooked by many roofing contractors. Will the space be occupied during roofing? Items that need to be addressed include: heating/cooling needs, structural deck type, lighting needs, internal protection and other areas where the project may become intrusive.

  1. The people inside – Have employees/resident needs and safety been accounted for?

Addressing the issues that may impact the people inside is very important. Issues to address are: odor problems, noise factors, parking, set-up/tear-down, potential construction hours, safety hazards and other issues which directly affect the people inside.

As you can see, there are many factors to weigh when determining which roof system best fits the needs of your particular facility.

As you may have noticed, price was not mentioned. In roofing as well as many other things, you do get what you pay for. Opting for the least expensive roof system rather than the one best suited for the project will cost you plenty in the long run!

One example is installing a single ply membrane on a high rise that has a lot of HVAC equipment to be serviced. This means roof traffic and it’s simply not the place for a single ply membrane!

Regular Inspections and Maintenance – This is an absolute must if roof longevity is to be achieved. It is important to catch any developing defects within a roofing system early on prior to the defect expanding like cancer within the system. If a defect can be identified and repaired prior to it leaking, the roof system will have a much better chance at lasting well beyond the national average of 12 years.

459 Allied Dr. • Conway, S.C. 29526 • 843-347-2220 • Fax: 843-347-9719 www.spannroofing.com

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