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Every property has unique needs, which is why roofing contractors offer such a wide range of roofing options. Depending on how your property is used and where it’s located, you may benefit from a traditional shingled roof or prefer more commercial options like flat rubber roofing. Knowing which option is best for your property starts with evaluating it’s specific operational demands and associated costs. Whether it’s for personal or commercial use, every building has different structural concerns that will dictate what type of roof suits it best. This accounts for why homes typically sport pitched shingle roofs and commercial/industrial buildings tend to make use of flat roofing techniques. But which option is best for your property?

Shingled roofs vs. rubber roofs

The debate over shingled roofs versus rubber roofs is often blown out of proportion. That said, each option does offer distinct advantageous and disadvantageous depending on the building in question. While some homes may feature flat rubber roofs, most utilize pitched roofs for a range of architectural and aesthetic reasons. And while some commercial properties have pitched shingle roofs, a large majority rely on flat roofing techniques to meet the operational demands of the building’s usage. In short, neither option is better than the other as a general matter of fact. Both types perform their intended function soundly, but on a case-by-case basis there may be a more advantageous choice for your property.

Pitched roofs add angles and dimension to the architectural design of modern homes. They are able to efficiently channel rain, snow and debris away from the property using an exterior gutter system, making it a popular choice for homeowners both structurally and aesthetically. Generally speaking, pitched shingle roofs do not require much annual maintenance on the part of the homeowner. While regular roof inspections are always advised, a pitched roof installed by a certified roofing contractor will perform reliably for its entire lifespan.

Flat roofs provide the stability needed to support external building fixtures like industrial heating, cooling and ventilation equipment. Most commercial and industrial buildings require stronger and more reliable HVAC systems than a typical home. To safeguard their operations, business owners tend to incorporate a flat roof into the building’s core architectural plans. While major repairs are rare for flat roofs, they do require more annual maintenance to keep the building running at peak efficiency.

Practically speaking, steeper roofs are more difficult to inspect and maintain, especially on the massive scale of most commercial/industrial buildings. Roofs with steeper slopes also complicate the installation of industrial heating and cooling fixtures, which are crucial to the daily operations of many businesses. So what other benefits come along with flat roofs?

Top 3 advantages of rubber roofs

First, it’s important to note that there’s a wide variety of flat roof systems on the market, each with its own benefits and costs. The three most common types include built-up roofing, rubber roofs and modified bitumen systems. Of these, rubber roofing is considered the most popular option for commercial buildings in New England. Known in the industry as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), rubber roofing involves the application of a waterproof elastomeric membrane that can protect against impacts, punctures and weathering. This flat roofing option is low-cost, easy to install, and durable enough to keep commercial and industrial applications dry all year long.

To give you an idea for the primary benefits, here are the top three advantages of rubber roofs:

1. Low installation and material costs
Simply put, a flat roof uses less material than a pitched roof. This is doubly true for rubber roofs, as most are reliably installed with only a single-ply membrane. The installation process is quick and easy for certified rubber roofing contractors, allowing for fast roll-outs and even faster repair jobs. The low material costs of many industry-leading rubber roof systems allows for lower overhead without sacrificing performance.

2. Durable and easy to maintain
One of the biggest benefits of using ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is its reliable durability. The material retains its elasticity and flexibility, even in industrial settings with a high degree of rooftop foot traffic. Rubber roofs also offer excellent resistance to the weathering effects of ozone and ultraviolet light.It’s very rare for an entire EPDM roofing system to need replacing all at once, as minor repairs can be performed swiftly and without disruption.

3. Reduced risk when clearing ice and snow
New England winters are notoriously harsh. For commercial property owners, that means there’s a lot of shoveling to look forward to. While flat roof drainage systems can usually keep up with snow melt, sustained periods of below-freezing weather may lead to snow and ice buildup. If left unaddressed, a heavy enough buildup may threaten the building’s overall stability. Luckily, rubber roofs allow for the fast and efficient removal of snow and ice without the fear of causing serious damage.

If you’re looking to install or repair a flat rubber roofing system, our team of certified roofing contractors can work with you to secure your commercial property. Our rubber roofing experts will help you anticipate risks and find low-cost solutions to can keep your commercial or industrial operation running smoothly.

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