Commercial Roofs After a Windstorm

Commercial roofing is serious business because these roofs are designed to protect the building envelope and the contents inside it. Whether a commercial building contains industrial equipment, millions of dollars in retail goods, records, irreplaceable books, or expensive computer equipment, commercial property managers know how important it is to maintain the integrity of the commercial roofing system, especially in Oklahoma where commercial roofs take a pounding from Mother Nature.

Commercial roofing is one of the most demanding areas of expertise in the roofing industry, and there are hundreds of unique roofing systems and variations of application. Much like an old classic car, the history of a building's roof can certainly influence its performance.

When it comes to commercial roofs, there are three main types of roofing systems: single-ply roofing, built-up roofing, and modified bitumen roofing.

Single-Ply Roofing: This is made of a variety of plastics and rubbers such as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), thermoplastic olefin/polyolefin (TPO), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These are single-layer applications of roofing sheets bonded along the seams with a heat or adhesive. Single-ply systems are ideal for areas that are exposed to direct sunlight.

Built-Up: Built-up roofing is made of multiple layers of felt and molten asphalt, and often covered with roll-roofing cap-sheet. Built-up systems offer layers of reinforcements because of the way the layers are sandwiched together.

Modified Bitumen: This type is comprised of a felt based sheet that is covered with a modified bitumen cap sheet, which is made of reinforcement coated asphalt combined with plastic or rubber to strengthen the bitumen and make it tear-resistant. The modified bitumen is covered with an aluminum-rich paint or granules for enhanced sun protection.

Severe Wind Damage

With commercial roofing systems, the most severe wind damage occurs at the windward corners and edges where the wind forces impact the roof the most. In these susceptible areas, building codes require the most uplift resistance capacity. In many cases, roof fastener patterns on tall buildings can require 50% more fasteners along the edges and even 100% more fasteners along the roofing corners than in the field of the roof.

After a heavy storm, it's important to examine the roofing system at roof penetrations, looking closely for wrinkles or tears, or other evidence of roof membrane displacement. If roofing failure has occurred at lower wind speeds, it will be necessary to examine the roof system attachment at those weakened areas. In many cases, a premature failure is the result of inadequate fasteners, inadequate adhesion, or a combination of the two.

As Tulsa roofers with over 30 years of experience in the roofing industry, we know that the layers of roofing, their attachments and their performance or lack thereof all tell a story, and after a heavy storm, we know how to read it. Contact T-Town Roofers today for all of your commercial or residential roofing needs!