Watch Out: What You Need to Know About the Hottest Commercial Roofing Trends

Kathleen Maxwell

workers installing solar panels on a commercial roof

Like any industry, commercial roofing trends emerge with advancements in materials and construction, changes in public attitude, and the needs of the people. It’s great to be on trend, but it’s also important to understand the drawbacks and limitations of these trends — before signing on to something that might damage or detract from your commercial roof. Let’s examine some commercial roofing trends and the often overlooked factors that might make this trend one to avoid for your particular roof.

Hot Trend #1: Solar Panels

It seems like every time you turn around, another commercial building is getting retrofitted with solar panels. Everyone from environmentalists to frugal building owners are installing solar panels on their roof to help power their properties off the traditional grid. With the latest advances in technology, it’s easy to get swept up in the promise of reduced electricity costs and an eco-friendly solution.

What You Might Not Know About Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on a roof is a logical way to save money and guard against power grid disaster. However, if those panels are not installed properly, it can lead to major spending issues on a micro level, namely, roof performance and maintenance. It is common for solar equipment to be placed directly on the roof membrane and anchored to the building, which can mean cutting into the roof membrane. If installation is not performed correctly, it can cause damage to the roof and can void materials warranties.

Even if the installation is done properly, there can still be expensive trouble down the line. When (not if) leaks or damage occur to the roof, those panels must be moved in order to properly address and fix the problem. In many cases, moving solar panels around can be more costly than locating and repairing the leak itself.

Hot Trend #2: Green Roofs

Green, vegetative roofs are becoming extremely popular, especially in urban areas. They contribute to the energy efficiency of the building, insulate sound, reduce stormwater runoff, and turn neglected space into usable, green space benefitting the building owner, the tenants, and the community at large. They are hugely popular with environmentalists and architects alike. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, they can help to drastically reduce the building’s cooling costs.

What You Might Not Know About Green Roofs

There are numerous positives to green roofing systems, but there is one very important consideration that many building owners overlook. Green roofs are continually exposed to water. Plants need water to grow, and soil must be kept moist. It is absolutely critical that green roof installers strictly adhere to basic waterproofing principles, as one mistake or oversight could lead to major problems sooner rather than later.

It is also important to remember that if the roof membrane beneath the vegetation and soil does experience problems, repair teams will have to get under all of those layers to isolate the issue, identify it, and repair it — this can add time and expense to the repair work. With green roofs, preventative maintenance is of the utmost importance. Smaller upfront investments for ongoing maintenance are necessary to prevent costly problems down the line.

Hot Trend #3: High Density, High-Performance Insulation

Whether their motivation is environmental or cost-savings, nearly every building owner is concerned with being more energy efficient these days. There have been major advancements in insulation, and a trend in the commercial roofing industry is high-performance insulation, including high-density coverboards that insulate the building and are more resistant to “crushing” under high foot traffic.

What You Might Not Know About Insulation

High-performance insulation is an absolute must in order to maintain energy efficiency in a modern building. Heating and cooling systems are calibrated based on the R-value of the chosen insulation. Unfortunately, many advertised R-values are incorrect, which means that the engineers who calibrate the heating and cooling system will base their settings on the wrong data.

Even if you have the correct R-value, your insulation could cost you. In the event of a leak – even a small leak, if the insulation experiences extensive water damage, it will need to be replaced. Replacing high-density, high-performance insulation can sometimes be more expensive than fixing or replacing the roof membrane itself.

Hot Trend #4: White, Reflective Roofs

Known as “cool roofs”, white or reflective roofing systems are ideal in warm months or climates. Standard, black roofs can reach temperatures over 150°F in the summer. A white or reflective roof in the same the same conditions can be up to 50°F cooler, reducing cooling costs.

What You Might Not Know About Reflective Roofs

However, in areas that experience cold winters, the benefits of black roofs can actually outweigh those of white roofs by keeping buildings warm and reducing heating costs. Northern building owners need to consider their environmental conditions and exposures before jumping onto the white-roof bandwagon.

Trends: Avoid Them or Consider Them?

Trends rise in popularity for one reason: they offer some sort of benefit that is tempting for building owners. But, like almost everything in the commercial roofing world, one size never fits all. How the benefits and drawbacks of these trends will affect you depends entirely on the unique aspects of your roof: the materials, the building’s purpose, the region in which it is situated, etc.

Being able to evaluate trends with a critical eye and examine them in the context of your unique needs is critical for strong decision making when it comes to roof construction or replacement. If you do decide to pursue some of these trends, make sure to anticipate the potential issues and budget properly for long-term maintenance and repair for your chosen roof system.

Search Resources

Popular Tags

2020 2020 commercial roof Accounts Payable Administrative Office Coordinator aerial roof moisture survey Alabama anchored article Anchored Client Spotlight Anchored Employee Spotlight apprenticeships architectural design asphalt Baker Twins Real Estate Brentwood Baptist Church budget Budgeting building maintenance building owners building temperatures built-up roofing BUR business owners CDC checklist checklist for business owners Chelsey Cole choosing a roof type Chris Vogl church roofing client spotlight client testimonial clogged drainage cold Colliers International commecial roofing commercial buildings commercial contractors commercial investment property Commercial Properties commercial real estate Commercial Roof commercial roof budget commercial roof budgeting commercial roof construction commercial roof inspection commercial roof maintenance commercial roof materials commercial roof problems Commercial Roof Replacement commercial roof value commercial roofing commercial roofing budget commercial roofing construction commercial roofing goals commercial roofing in Nashville Commercial Roofing Partner Commercial Roofing Preventative Maintenance commercial roofing strategy commercial roofing technology commercial roofing terminology commercial roofs common questions competitive benefits comprehensive roof assessments comprehensive roof maintenance condensation Connection Between Insulation & Commercial Roofing construction construction manager construction managers construction misconceptions construction safety Contractor Contractor Warranties contractors Controller cool roof cool roofing cool roofs coronavirus corporate buildings corporate roof cost savings costs courthouse roof COVID-19 customer experience customer service dan maxwell Design designer roofs develop talent Do's and Don't of Roof Installations documentation DOL draining system drains Drone Inspections drying durable materials Eco-Friendly Eco-Friendly Commercial Roofing Options eco-friendly roof Elevated roof moisture survey emergency helpline emergency repair employee appreciation employee spotlight employee training energy costs energy efficiency energy efficient tips energy savings energy-efficient roofing Ensworth School EPDM EPDM roofing estimates estimating estimator Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer Fabrication facility managers fall checklist fall maintenance fall protection faqs Featured Article Featured Client Spotlight Featured Employee Featured Employee Spotlight federal buildings flashing flat roof forecasting full-service roofing Full-service roofing services general contractor general contractors government agency government buildings Grease Traps Green Roof green roofing gutters heat damage hiring Horrell Company Huntsville Huntsville Commercial Roofing HVAC HVAC systems HVAC units ice ice damage impalement hazards improve performance industrial buildings industrial roofing industrial roofs Infrared Moisture Infrared Moisture Surveys inspection inspection plan Inspections Installation Insulation insurance jackie sprout John Blue Realty John Maxwell Journey Design Group Kalen Canaday Leak Prevention Leaks licensing light-colored roofs long-term maintenance long-term roof management longevity of a roof low-slope commercial roof maintenance maintenance plan Manufacturer Warranties manufacturing Martha Walden Material Warranties Matt Matthews MAXCare Maxwell Monitors Maxwell Roofing Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal Maxwell Roofing Client Spotlight Maxwell Roofing employee maxwell roofing experience metal fabrication Metal Roof Metal Roofing Michael Cox moisture retention Nashville Nashville Commercial Roofing nashville roof recovery nashville roof recovery systems Nashville Roofing Nashville Roofing Partner nashville winter National Safety Month new construction Next Generation Net Lease ongoing learning opportunities ongoing roof maintenance open penetrations OSHA OSHA standards planning for emergencies ponding ponding water Preparing for winter prevent a roofing emergency prevent seasonal damage preventative maintenance pricing proactive maintenance project manager prolong roof life property management PVC PVC membranes PVC roofing qualified roof technician Quality Ray Ferguson RCP Companies recovery systems recruitment Recycled or Biodegradable Roof Material regular inspections reliability Reputation Risk Management roof assessments roof budget roof cleaning roof coatings roof construction roof curbs roof damage roof debris removal roof diffusers Roof Drain Debris Removal roof holes roof inspections Roof Installation Roof installation tips roof investment roof leak repairs Roof leaks roof life expectancy Roof Maintenance roof management roof materials roof performance roof preventative maintenance roof repair roof replacement roof replacements roof safety roof weatherproofing Roofers Coffee Shop Roofing roofing budget roofing care roofing cleaning Roofing Company roofing construction questions roofing contractor roofing costs roofing employees roofing goals roofing industry roofing maintenance roofing materials roofing membrane roofing mistakes Roofing Partner roofing problems Roofing Products roofing questions roofing sales Roofing Specialists roofing trends rooftop bar rooftop deck rooftop features Rooftop grease traps Rooftop moisture survey rooftop patio rooftop penetrations rooftop safety routine maintenance safe construction Safety Samples Properties school roof construction school roofing safety school safety seasonal maintenance service account manager service and repair Service Superintendent services sheet metal sheet metal fabrication singly ply roofing systems skylights Skyline Replacement Skyline Replacement Tips sloped commercial roof snow Solar Panels solar roof Spray Polyurethane Foam spring maintenance state buildings Stephen Marbach Summer Heat summer kick-off party summer maintenance sun damage surface hazards temperature control The EDGE estimating software thermal proofing Thermoplastic Polyolefin Tips for Commercial Roofing top talent TPO membranes training types of roofing Under-roof moisture survey values warehouse roof replacement warranties Warranty waterproofing weather damage white reflective roofs White Roof white roofs wind resistance winter maintenance winter weather winterizing roof

What Do Our Customers Have to Say?

Read Our Reviews