Battle For Flat Roof Dominance: BUR Roofing Vs. Rubber Membranes
When you have a sloped roof, gravity is your friend. The force of gravity will push water down your roof, so you don't need a completely water tight roofing material. On the other hand, when you have a flat roof, you need a material that is completely waterproof. While a well-installed BUR roof will repel water, you may get better value for your money by installing a rubber roofing membrane.
A Cost Comparison
Often the only cost that people look at is the installation cost. A Built-up Roof, or BUR roof, will cost up to $6,000 for 1,200 square feet. On the other hand, a rubber roofing membrane will cost up to $8,500 for 1,256 square feet. Thus, the cheaper roof to install is the BUR. That being said, you will end up spending more money over the life of your roof with the BUR roof.
A Discussion of Durability
Repair and replacement costs should be a part of your decision to purchase one roof instead of another. The UV rays of the sun can boil all the volatiles out of the asphalt tar in a BUR roof, thus making your roof brittle and prone to cracking. A five-ply BUR roof can last up to 25 years before it needs replacement, but it may develop leaks that need repaired before the entire roof is ready for replacement. An EPDM, or rubber, roof is UV stable, so it will not break down with sun exposure. The main cause of wear to a rubber roof is traffic. Nonetheless, a well-installed rubber roof can last for up to 50 years. In sum, a rubber roof will last longer and need less maintenance than a BUR roof, and if leaks do develop, it is easier to patch a rubber roof than a Built-up tar roof.
As built-up roofs suck up the sun, they absorb heat and then radiate that heat into your building. Thus, a BUR roof can drive up your heating costs. By installing a white rubber roof, you can cut your cooling costs by up to 20%. Saving on your HVAC costs will offset the increased cost of a rubber roof and translate to pure savings once you pay off your roof.
While BUR roofs have been the standard for years, you should consider other roofing materials for your flat roof. Rubber roofing membranes are lightweight, easy to install, and energy efficient. Although they come at a higher cost, they are worth the money. For more information on commercial roofing, contact a professional like Bell Roof Co.