A Look at Commercial Roof Construction With a Rubber or Plastic Membrane for Your Flat Roof

If you own commercial buildings, you may have to deal with installing new roofs at some point. If your buildings have flat roofs, as is common with commercial and industrial buildings, they might have membrane roofing. Membrane roofing is made of rubber sheets or plastic materials. This is how a commercial roof is built when using membrane roofing materials.

Start With a Base

Membrane roofs can go over old roofing materials as long as the deck of the roof and the roofing materials are still solid and without water damage. It might be possible to repair water damage and still put a new membrane over old roofing, but if the roof has a lot of damage, it might be necessary to take off all the old roofing and build a new roof starting with the deck. Either way, the deck or old roof has to be cleaned and prepped so the new membrane will attach to it and not be punctured by anything on the roof's surface.

Add Insulation

Insulation helps with climate control in your building, and it also provides something for the membrane to attach to when it's installed. Foam insulation is often used in commercial roof construction. This might be in the form of insulation boards, but if not, the foam has to be topped with cover boards so the membrane has a flat, smooth surface to bond with.

Roll Out the Membranes

Membrane roofing is supplied in large rolls of various widths. The rolls are spread out over the surface of the roof and adhered with fasteners, glued, or ballasted to the roof. The membranes are thin, so they can be cut to size. However, they need to be joined together to create a single, continuous layer of rain protection on your roof.

Close the Seams

An important part of commercial roof construction, especially for flat roofs, is to make sure the seams are bonded tightly so rain can't seep under the membranes and cause water damage. Plastic membranes are joined with adhesives and by heat welding. Heat welding bonds the seams by melting the plastic together to form a watertight seal. Rubber membranes are closed with adhesives or seam tape.

Other important steps in commercial roof construction for a flat roof are to make sure rain can roll toward a roof drain so it won't puddle on the surface, and to protect areas around an HVAC and other equipment from punctures by putting down mats or by creating walkways that control foot traffic on the membranes.

If you have any questions about commercial roof construction, contact a professional today.