Which Roof System Is Best for Your Building?


The commercial roofing Oklahoma businesses can choose from includes something old, something new, something borrowed (from other fields) and something — believe it or not — blue.


Built-up roofing (BUR) is an old material. The roof’s layers are built up like a club sandwich, with slathers of asphalt between insulation, cover board and ply sheets. A final reflective coating is applied to top it off.

BUR is economical, predictable to install and repair, and long lasting (30-year lifespans are common). Its main disadvantages, as verified by the experts at Facilities Net, are unpleasant vapors at installation, and its inability to hold up in low temperatures.


The “something new” is ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, which, understandably, is usually written as the acronym EPDM. Also known as rubber roofing, EPDM is relatively new among roofing materials, dating back to the 1960s. It is tough stuff, is a “green” material, has fire resistant qualities, and is very energy efficient.


Downsides: it is almost always black, its energy efficiency depends upon insulation and proper ballasting, and punctures if a tree branch just looks at it (well, almost).


Something borrowed — from the pool and pond business — is TPO, thermoplastic polyolefin, a strong, scrim-based system that quickly covers most commercial roofs with a long-lasting, tough polymer. It can be laid down with hot-air welded seams; it resists mold; it resists puncture.

TPO is relatively new, so longevity is still unknown. It does not react well to intense heat (160 degrees Fahrenheit), so Tulsa summers could be a concern.  


Want something blue? Or a roof that exactly matches your company’s logo? PVC is the way to go. Polyvinyl chlorate is a synthetic material with proven durability. While most manufacturers sell energy-efficient colors such as reflective white and light grey, custom colors are possible.

The only issues with PVC are that it can become brittle in the cold, and in hot weather its plasticizers evaporate.

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen (mod-bit) roofs are durable and straightforward to install. They combine old-world bitumen with modern fiberglass sheets. This makes them puncture- and chemical-resistant and flexible.

Disadvantages of mod-bit are its potential for catching fire over a wooden roof deck and its installation and repair costs.


For commercial roofing, Oklahoma businesses should contact us at Perfection Roofing Inc. We can sit down with you and go through all the factors affecting your decision.

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