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Posted by McElroy Metal ● Aug 2, 2023 8:00 AM

What Are the Advantages of Metal Over Other Commercial Roofing Materials?

Commercial building owners understand the importance of a quality roof to protect inventory, equipment, and staff.  They also typically possess a keen sense of costs and return on investment.
While the hard costs of roofing material and labor are easy to spot, the soft costs of roof replacement also bear consideration. While certainly not exhaustive, the high-level list below illustrates just how quickly the soft costs of roof replacement accumulate.

  • Schedule Roof Inspection
  • Review Inspection Report
  • Compare Repair vs. Replace Costs
  • Decision to Pursue Replacement
  • Research/Select Material Options
  • Request Roof Replacement Estimates
  • Develop Replacement Budgets 
  • Evaluate Ongoing Repairs vs. Replacement
  • Review Tax & Financial Data
  • Recommendation to Replace Roof
  • Gain Approval for Roof Replacement
  • Make Finance Arrangements
  • Request Bids from 2-3 Contractors
  • Compare Bids and Statement of Work
  • Request Revised Bids
  • Check Installer Credentials
  • Select Installer
  • Review/Approve Statement of Work
  • Ensure Installer Insurance Coverage
  • Project Management Efforts Before & During Replacement
  • Move Equipment & Operations as Necessary
  • Lost Time Due to Interruption to Daily Operations
  • Lost Revenue

When considering the time each step above requires, it is no surprise that commercial building owners are beginning to emphasize roof longevity over the lowest initial installation cost.

Metal roofing offers several unique advantages compared to other roofing materials, with longevity being one of the biggest. Below we outline the pros and cons of some of the most popular commercial roofing options for commercial, industrial, and architectural projects.

Download a PDF version of the table shown below.

Common Architectural/Commercial/Industrial Options

Product
TPO
Life Expectancy
:
15-30 years
Pros
  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Ease of installation
  • Lightweight roof material
  • UV; Fungi resistant
  • Flexible
Cons
  • Ongoing maintenance 
  • Newer product family; longevity unproven
  • Life expectancy varies greatly by manufacturer
  • Doesn’t perform well in high heat
  • Can be slippery when wet
PVC
Life Expectancy:
20-30 years
Pros
  • Durability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Resistance to wind, fire, UV & water
  • Recyclable
Cons
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Foot traffic can damage at temps below 50 degrees
  • Repairs can be challenging
  • Requires removal of existing roof
  • Green Roofs
Various Synthetic Products
Life Expectancy:
20-30 years
Pros
  • Lower cost than natural products
  • Durable
    Lightweight
  • Weather resistant
  • Good impact resistance
  • Recyclable material
  • Resistant to rot, insects, UV
Cons
  • Can appear fake 
  • Life expectancy varies greatly by manufacturer
  • Newer product family-less field performance history
  • Not fire resistant; Some products can’t meet Class A Fire ratings
EPDM
Life Expectancy:
20-30 years
Pros
  • Low cost
  • Fire & weather resistant
    Energy efficiency
  • Solar reflectance
  • Recyclable
  • Easy install; repairs
Cons
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Shrinks over time, increasing the risk of puncture
  • Absorbs UV rays increasing building; roof temp
BUR
Life Expectancy:
 
Pros
  • Durability
  • Fire resistant
  • Easily walkable
  • Impact resistant
  • Simple to repair
Cons
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Very heavy-may require additional structural support
  • Fading popularity
  • Susceptible to high winds
  • Lead identification can be difficult
  • Slow install speed
  • Toxic fumes during install
Modified Bitumen
Life Expectancy:
15-30 years
Pros
  • Great for high-traffic areas
  • Highly flexible
  • Easy installation
  • Cold-temp resistant
Cons
  • Dark colors absorb heat
  • High-heat application techniques are risky
  • Low ponding water tolerance
  • Damages easily upon impact
Green Roofs
Life Expectancy:
20-40 years
Pros
  • Reduces heat island effect
  • Improves energy efficiency
  • Reduces stormwater issues
  • Improves air quality in urban areas
    Fire resistant
Cons
  • Cost
  • Very heavy-may require additional structural support
  • On-going maintenance
  • Local regulations may prohibit
Metal Roofing
Life Expectancy:
50-60 years
Pros
Cons

Download a PDF version of the table shown above.

Ultimately, the best roofing option for you depends on factors like budget, appetite for the time and work involved with each roof replacement, the architectural style of your project, local climate, and personal preferences.

If we can be of any help as you weigh options, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’re always here to help!

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About McElroy Metal

Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The employee-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 14 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer.

Topics: Metal Roofing, FAQ, Commercial

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