Do you know the parts of your commercial roof? Many business and property owners don't really know how commercial rooftops work, or assume they are like residential roofs – which is not the case! Understanding the different parts of your roof is important when looking for signs of damage or knowing what needs long-term maintenance and care. To help out, here are the major parts of the commercial roof and what they do.
The structural deck is the underlying surface that supports the rest of the roof – where everything else is built off of. Structural decks can be built with a variety of materials: The toughest and most common among new buildings is steel. However, other decks may be built of wood, concrete, or other materials. With major repairs and replacements, roofing professionals will need to know what the structural deck is made of as they proceed.
How is the rest of the roof attached to the deck? Traditionally, a simple mechanical attachment is enough. That means that the rest of the roof is secured using very larger screws and washers that hold everything else together. While these screws or bolts may need periodic maintenance, they are still a reliable way of connecting the roof components together.
Vapor Control Layer
Vapor controls or moisture barriers help stop water vapor from getting trapped inside the roof and causing widespread damage. In this particular case, the vapor control layer lets water vapor pass through one side but prevents it from moving the other direction and getting trapped in the insulation area. Water vapor here can cause rot and significant problems over time, so a simple vapor layer – especially in humid areas – can help the commercial roof survive much longer.
A rigid insulation layer made of panels is also very common at this point. A lot of heat can escape out of a roof, and this layer helps prevent that – which means the businesses in the building save a lot of money on heating and cooling costs. The insulation can be made out of a variety of materials, but compressed fibers are a popular and more environmentally-friendly choice.
Next comes a layer of adhesive to connect some of the last materials together. This is often a rubber bond adhesive that's designed to last as long as possible in outdoor conditions.
On the top of the roof, a weatherproof membrane is applied to help resist rain, wind, snow, and heat. Today's membranes are typically made of PVS, EPDM, TPO, or in some cases asphalt products (if you aren't sure what your top layer is made of, your roof inspection should have this information). This layer has the most exposure and tends to suffer the most during harsh weather events, but it's very important to the overall durability of your roof.
Is one of your commercial roof components not doing so great? Schedule your inspection today, and we'll provide you with the information you need about repairs, replacements, and what to do next!