The Advantage and Disadvantages of the Most Popular Commercial Flat Roof Coatings

Spring is just around the corner and if you own or manage a commercial property with a flat roof, you may be thinking about putting a new roof coating over it. That’s a great way to keep your building watertight and maybe get some energy-saving benefits in the process, too. The only problem is deciding which flat roof coating to use. There are many choices and each of them has its advantages and drawbacks. Here are the most popular flat roof coverings and the good and bad things about each one.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR) Membrane (Tar & Gravel)

This is one of the most popular commercial flat roof coatings because it’s inexpensive. It also offers great insulation value and looks very good once applied. The biggest drawback to using it are water ponds on it easily and it can only be applied to heavily reinforced buildings because of its extreme weight.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Here is a much lighter flat roof coating that is like big sheets of asphalt shingle rolled onto a roof. Installation is fairly easy and some of the manufacturers make it using reflective materials. The biggest drawback with it is it does not handle foot traffic well at all.

Thermoset (EPDM) Roof Membrane

This is what many people refer to as a rubber roof. It is rolls of thick rubber rolled onto a roof and then seemed together. It fits great and lasts a long time. The biggest disadvantage to using this roof coating is that the seams in it may fail over time.

Thermoplastic (PVC) Roof Membrane

If you have a roof that has much foot traffic this is the best roof coating to apply. It’s laid down in sheets and these sheets are made from a sturdy PVC material. This is another type of roof material that is seamed together and that may cause problems over time.


This is the best commercial flat roof coating to use in most situations. That’s because it has no seams and even gets into cracks and crevices in the old roof. They also can be applied over a wide variety of existing roof surfaces and they are reflective in nature which will save you some money on your company energy bills. By far the biggest drawback with it is the cost.

How to Go About Getting a New Flat Roof Coating Applied

Chances are that you or the personnel at your company may not have the experience to properly apply a new flat roof coating. That’s why it’s always better to seek professional help to get the job done right. Companies like Evergreen Renovations & Roofing out of Beaverton, Oregon not only have factory trained roof coating installation teams, but installation by them also guarantees that the roof coating manufacturer will honor the warranty on their products. So, seek professional help to get your new flat roof coating properly applied so it will stay watertight for many years to come.

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