In the past, hot tar roofs used to be the gold standard for commercial buildings, but today they are not. So, what has taken the place of a hot tar roof? The answer is a wide variety of modern options that offer flexibility in design, color, and efficiency. The key is to work with an experienced and reputable professional roofing company who will partner with you to find the right roofing solution for your building.
Why Hot Tar Roofs Are No Longer The Best Solution for Commercial Buildings
As with many things in life, just because something used to be done a certain way years ago does not make it the best option for the here and now. Hot tar roofs fall into this category, as this is likely the oldest roofing solution for commercial buildings.
It is important to point out that hot tar roofs are not being left behind solely because they are old. The challenges and issues like the following created issues with hot tar roofs:
- The odor – Hot tar can smell overwhelmingly pungent and offensive. Even small amounts of it can create a noxious odor. This is not just a preference issue but could potentially become a safety issue for both roofers and people in the vicinity. Roofers putting down hot tar on a roof are in close proximity to the material, making the odor even stronger, which could cause health issues for some of these professionals. While people are generally not as close as roofers are to hot tar on a roof, individuals nearby may also find their airways agitated.
- Application dangers – As the name would indicate, hot tar must be kept at an extremely high temperature in order to make it useable for roofing purposes. When the substance is that hot it has the potential to create a safety hazard for roofers should it come into direct contact with their skin. While roofers can take precautions to help protect themselves from being hurt or injured by hot tar, there is always a risk.
- Energy inefficiency – Hot tar is naturally dark in color which helps it absorb heat. Most modern roofing solutions tend to be lighter in color to help reflect the sun’s heat off of a building, which makes it more energy efficient and keeps air conditioning units from working quite so hard.
While some roofing companies may still offer clients hot tar roofs, many are choosing to take that option off the table. There may be some modern roofing solutions that do involve tar, but it is different than using hot tar.
What Has Taken the Place of a Hot Tar Roof?
With hot tar roofs taking a backseat for most commercial building roofers and owners, the question then becomes what the best roofing system is for structures. Fortunately, there are a number of options clients can choose from that may meet their preferences and price points.
Some examples of the options and alternatives for a hot tar roof for commercial buildings today can include:
- Metal Roofs
- Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM) Roofs
- Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Roofs
- PVC Roofs
- Fluid Applied Roofs
This type of roofing is one with a fairly fast turnaround but may have a larger up-front investment than some facility owners would prefer. There are to two main types of metal roofing:
- Standing Seam
Both typically come with some options in terms of color as well as the additional benefits of:
- Detering rotting or cracking
- Being fire resistant to lightning
- Standing up to winds of near one hundred miles per hour
- Being able to reflect solar heat which could in turn lower energy costs
Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM) Roofs
If you are talking to a professional company about the installation of this type of roof, they will generally refer to it as EPDM for short. This type of roof is made of a durable synthetic rubber membrane that is available in white or black and is often used for sloped and flat surfaces. Customization can be made in terms of the length and thickness of this type of installation.
EPDM can be a particularly attractive option for those structures exposed to various and extreme climates as well as intense weather events such as monsoons and heavy winds.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Roofs
TPO roofs are considered to be one of the fastest growing commercial systems available. This normally single ply rubber roofing solution is made from polypropylene and ethylene-propylene and is white in color. Not only are TPO roofs often a more cost-effective choice for some clients, they can also be good at repelling bacteria, dirt and debris buildup, as well as reflecting the sun’s light to be more energy efficient.
The main attraction of a PVC roof is how durable and strong this plastic can be. This single ply roofing solution is a triple threat to external influences because it helps protect against:
In light of its protection against the above elements, a PVC roof is known for being a flexible and durable option that is adept at resisting the contraction and expansion that comes with seasonal temperature changes that other roofing materials might be more susceptible to.
Fluid Applied Roofs
Fluid applied roofing generally has the fastest turnaround of modern-day options and is made from acrylic, silicone, and urethane. It can be used as a new roof or potentially on an old roof and works with structures of different sizes and shapes. This type of roof is effective in limiting the amount of waste created when done as an overlay and can be instrumental in helping to waterproof a roof. This option is also ideal for a roof renovation and is designed to stand up well against intense weather.
Saying goodbye to hot tar roofs can open doors to new technology and more modern roofing options that can help protect a commercial building, contribute to its aesthetics, and help it last.