What are my roofing options for a commercial building in Columbus, Ohio?

There are two types of roofing options available for the construction of a commercial building, a steep-sloped roof system or a flat-roof system. Each of these roofing options can be constructed using various materials and applications.

A steep-sloped roof system generally provides more choices for commercial buildings. For sloped roof systems, builders can select from standing seam metal roofing, clay tile, slate, asphalt shingles, metal shingles or wood shakes. Standing seam metal is currently the fastest growing roofing product in the industry because it is long lasting, durable, energy efficient and highly resistant to impact. Although the initial cost is more than other roofing materials, money is saved in the long run (a metal sloped roof can literally last a lifetime). The metal can be made and installed from aluminum, copper or steel, based on the builder’s needs. Clay tile roof systems also have excellent durability and longevity, and are a great choice for a stylish appearance. Clay tile is available in a wide variety of patterns, colors and finishes. Clay tile is most often found in warmer climates and not as durable in regions like Ohio because of the extreme cold weather we experience. Slate roof systems are well known for their ability to resist aggressive weather conditions such as wind, rain and snow. It features distinct textures and soft colors that are perfect for enhancing the appearance of a commercial building. There are new slate systems like TruSlate® from GAF, which allow slate to easily be installed on conventionally framed homes. It is half the weight of traditional slate. Asphalt shingles are still the most widely used and economic commercial roofing product on the market. Metal Shingles are growing in popularity due to their resistance to impact and extreme temperatures. They are often preferred for commercial buildings due to the unique look that they bring to the building. Wood shakes provide similar attributes and are made to blend with the natural surroundings of the environment.

A flat roofing system may be the best solution for many commercial building, with both single-ply roofing and build-up roofing systems available for flat roofs. The single-ply roofing system uses three types of applications, which are ballasted, fully adhered and mechanically fastened. The ballasted roof application involves a process where loose membrane is placed over insulation, and then flashed (attached) around the perimeter and at all penetration points. Upon completion of the flashing, the roof is covered with ballast (most often gravel) to keep the membrane in place. The fully adhered application utilizes an adhesive to join the membrane to insulation. Finally, the mechanically fastened application secures the membrane by using plates and screws at the seams. This is the fastest growing segment of the commercial roofing market. The system is easier to repair and products like TPO (Thermoplastic Plyolefin) can withstand ponding, or standing water, unlike other single-ply membranes. The built up roofing system is a roof that consists of many layers of laminated roof felts that are fused together using a variant called modified bitumen. This particular type of roofing system has a long lifespan but can be more expensive to repair and replace than single-ply membrane roofing.