Archives for posts with tag: Commercial roofing

We last left off with our discussion of modified bitumen and the pros and cons with its application. In this post, we will discuss what is probably one of the most popular options for low sloped or flat roofs- TPO. Commercial Roofing continues to take strides and advances with new applications. TPO has risen to the forefront in the single ply membrane market. Single ply membranes are simply what they say they are, a full waterproof roof system in a one ply application. As opposed to asphalt roofs/BUR and modified bitumen roofs which usually consist of multiple plies or layers, a TPO roof is complete after the installation of one ply/layer.

Further, TPO can be mechanically attached (i.e. with screws) or fully adhered thereby providing versatility for many different roof requirements. TPO’s ease of installation, versatility and single ply aspects provide cost saving benefits to both the roofing company and property owner. Moreover, TPO membranes come with energy star ratings and high solar reflectance helping reduce energy costs and lengthen the roof’s longevity.

With FM Global, U.L. and ASTM standard approvals the right designed system by the roofing company can provide weather protection from severe winds and hail despite TPO being a single ply. TPO roofs also come with the coveted no dollar limit (NDL) warranties from the manufacturer when installed by a certified roofing company. Some manufacturers offer warranties of 20 years or more for TPO systems.

Further, many property owners have aging BUR or asphalt roofs and depending on your local code and building parameters TPO can be used as a roof recover or retrofit. This avoids the dreaded and costly roof tear off.

With this brief overview in mind, we will continue our TPO discussion in Part Two…

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your building and its low slope roof feel free to contact Cobalt at (800) 820-4182 or visit us at

As we discussed earlier commercial roofing has come a long way since the first tar and gravel built up roofs. In this post, we will begin discussing some options available that both address environmental concerns and liability concerns with typical flat or low slope roofing.

The first advances in typical asphalt roofs produced modified bitumen membranes which essentially are an improvement on the durable asphalt and felt ply roofs. These membranes usually consist of fiberglass, polyester or a combination of fiberglass and polyester mats impregnated with modified bitumen. Modified bitumen is produced by modifying typical asphalt improving its elasticity and giving it rubberized properties.

Modified bitumen roofs usually consist of 2 to 3 plies either hot mopped down with hot asphalt or torching it down with an open flame torch. For purposes of this post we want to stick with the most advanced roofing techniques and cutting edge technology. Therefore, we will address the newest modified bitumen roof addition- the self adhered modified bitumen roof membrane. Traditionally, modified bitumen membranes added longevity and versatility compared to the built up tar and gravel roof but did not cut down on installation liabilities for roofing companies or building owners.

However, with the advent of the self-adhered membranes, modified bitumen roofs have paralleled or even surpassed their single ply roof membrane counter-parts in the liability game. Self adhered membranes accomplish this by first eliminating hot 450 degree asphalt and open flames to torch or heat weld the membranes down. These self adhered membranes come from the manufacturer with adhesive on their backside. Which simply means that these membranes need to be rolled out and they will adhere to the roof substrate and to each other. No flames, no heat, no hot asphalt means lowered liability for both roofing company and building owner. But what allows self adhered membranes to surpass their single ply membrane counter-parts is that many times they are installed with low VOC components and can be recycled lessening their impact on the environment- a concern everyone should be placing their attention towards.

Also, recent advances have produced a modified bitumen membrane that exhibits the solar reflective and cool roof capacities equaling the single ply solar reflective membranes such as TPO. CertainTeed’s Coolstar and Firestone’s UltraWhite modified bitumen membranes are examples of these asphalt cool roof options. These options further lessen the roofing company and building owner’s environmental footprint. Deflecting solar rays also increases the roofs lifespan meaning less turnover and less environmental waste.

Basically, as technology advances, modified bitumen membranes provide the traditional, proven and unsurpassed durability of an asphalt based roof yet now provide low liability and solar reflective capacities comparable to their single ply roof membrane counter-parts.

In our next post we will discuss the fastest growing of roofing options- the single ply market, namely TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin).

If you have any questions regarding commercial roofing options feel free to contact Cobalt at (800) 820-4182 or see us at

So often we get the tragic call in from a building owner who is calling because they had a horrible experience with a commercial roofing company. Just recently, we encountered a situation where the building owner had the their low slope roof replaced within the year; however, to their dismay the roof is leaking substantially.

Since the roof replacement, the company has disappeared and left the building owner with nothing but buckets to catch the rain and a moisture entrapped roofing system that may be ruined. Not to mention, without a manufacturer certification there is no manufacturer warranty on the roof either. What now- well the building owner is left holding the new roof expensive repair bill and now has to listen to a reputable company tell him/her about all the ways this previous company cut corners, incorrectly performed the installation and basically the horrible job they received.

These stories are all too common in the commercial roofing industry. How can a building owner protect themselves you ask?? For starters, make sure you contact a roofing company that specializes in commercial roofing. Most roofing companies are residential or shingle roofing companies and do not carry the capacity or knowledge to execute or correctly install a commercial low slope roof. They may say they can or their website says they do commercial work but you have to dig deeper. Ask them questions about the products, installation specs and details. Educate yourself on low slope roofing so you know when a salesman is “winging” it or actually knows it. So many times we see even the simplest of commercial roof details incorrectly installed by a roofing company who landed a project they knew nothing about.

An excellent commercial roofing company carries certifications from major well-know manufacturers. These certifications give confidence in many ways. First, it means the company has been tested and has proven to the manufacturer the company’s expertise to install the manufacturer’s products according to specs. Second, it means the manufacturer has confidence in the company’s knowledge, financial stability and customer service ability. The manufacturer is putting their name on the line as well. Finally, the certified roofing company can provide you with a no dollar limit or full system warranty for a term of 20 years or more. What does this mean- well no matter what happens to the roofing company your roof carries a warranty from the manufacturer. Workmanship/installation and material are covered under these warranties which means no money out of your pocket for any leaks or roof failures with the installed system under the warranty term. The manufacturer, furthermore, will send one of their roof inspectors out to inspect the roof after its installation ensuring a successful roof project. In some cases, the manufacturer offers the stability of being in business for over 100 years. Some of the most well-known commercial manufacturer certifications to look for are CertainTeed Star Contractors, Firestone Red Shield Contractors, Versico Certified Contractors and Carlisle Syn-Tec Certified Contractors.

Commercial roofing systems are a beast of a different nature. The company you are dealing with must take into account your specific building’s architecture, height, layout, geographic location and weather considerations for the area before selecting a system. Your chosen company should be able to explain to you wind design considerations and specific roof attachment concerns and layout patterns along with pullout values with fasteners and/or adhesives. An excellent roofing company will design and explain your system in terms of FM Global standards or manufacturer wind warranty standards. Otherwise, you may watch your roof blow off during the next thunderstorm. Further, many roof system options come with hail protection or class IV hail impact resistant membranes that may save you, the building owner, money on your insurance policy.

Your selected company should explain to you minimum insulation requirements and educate you on your existing roof deck and what it means to your new commercial roof. Wherever your building is located, moisture concerns in the new roofing system should always be addressed. As moisture in a roofing system will destroy it without you even knowing it.

And obviously, make sure the company has a GL insurance policy and always get lien releases that include material releases. You would be surprised how many times we hear about the building owner being stuck with the material bill after they paid the roofing company.

For more information regarding what to look for in a commercial roofing company contact Cobalt at (800) 820-4182 or visit us at

%d bloggers like this: