Everyone’s basic necessities are warm, nutritious food to power them throughout the day and a roof over their head to sleep protected after sun-down. As per the U.S census data, 63.4% of Texas houses are single-family houses, whereas multi-family homes occupy a 27.6% portion of housing real estate (mobile homeowners cover the remaining 9.0%). As opposed to the sloped roofs of single-family houses, multi-family houses have a reasonably flat roof with a slight incline between 1/4″ to 1/2″ per foot for rainwater collection.
This means increased exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Additionally, more people will access the roof, and this increased footfall will erode the top surface of the roof. In a nutshell, the roofs on a multi-family building are more prone to be damaged and require frequent repairs.
Roof repairs aren’t cheap, and even though the cost would be borne by all the tenets, choosing the right roofing material can extend the roof’s lifespan and reduce the overall maintenance cost. We shall explore the most common roofing materials used in Multifamily roofing projects.
Requirements of a Multifamily Roofing
Before exploring the different materials which are ideal for a multi-family roofing, it is essential to understand the multi-family roofing requirements. Since a condominium, tenement, or apartment complex covers a vast area that houses multiple families, their roofs are situated comparatively higher than the sloped ceilings and have relatively larger surface areas. So the average radiation exposure on the roof is comparatively higher. The roof material needs to be resistant to ultraviolet radiation as well as the thermal shock from fluctuating temperatures.
The outdoor unit to an air conditioner needs to be placed somewhere with unrestricted air movement, so most residential roofs have them installed on the roof. To dampen the vibrations from the HVAC, the roof needs to be sturdy enough to absorb them. Owing to the roof’s flat nature, people will frequently be using it for social events and get-togethers. The foot traffic will wear down the roof’s top surface and expose underlying layers to the elements. It rains an average of 46 inches every year in Texas, and the top protective layer stops the rainwater from seeping inside, but it can easily seep in from sections with worn-out top layers. Even though the top protective layer can be reapplied during maintenance, a lapse in maintenance means severe water damage is imminent.
In a nutshell, the characteristics of a Multi-family Roof are:
- Sturdy to absorb Vibrations
- Resistant to Ultraviolet Radiation
- Immune or resistant to thermal shock
- A durable top protective layer
- Water-resistant layers
- Aesthetic while being functional
The Most Common Roof Materials for your Multi-family Roofing Projects
There are a plethora of material choices when it comes to Multi-family roofing projects. The materials mentioned below have certain factors such as thermal non-conductivity, protection from weather conditions, structural integrity, and water-resistant are in common.
The most common material for all kinds of roofing projects is Asphalt. Available in multiple colors, these are ideal for improving the aesthetic value of any roof. Being fire-resistant, they are suitable for surviving the Texas summer without passing on the heat inside. Asphalt, in general, is a heavy material but Multi-Family Roofing Contractors have a workaround. The base material is fiberglass for weight reduction without compromising on the rigidity, and Asphalt + mineral granules are applied on the top. This way, the top layer prevents rainwater from seeping in, and the fiberglass base provides support. Asphalt is inexpensive and easy to replace.
Cut from a type of rock, slate is very sturdy yet uncommon roofing material. Only available in a single color, slate roofs give a classy yet elegant look to your home, making it eye-catching. Preliminarily being a rock, it is naturally resistant to fire and, owing to the weight, is resistant to being picked up by a strong wind. Depending on the thickness, you may need an additional reinforced frame to support the extra weight.
Metal is malleable and hence can be turned into any desired shape. Due to this property, metal is widely used in multi-family roofing projects in place of awnings and sunshades. Due to the reflective surface, most of the radiation is reflected back and keeps the area below cooler. Metal is prone to thermal shock as the material expands at high temperatures and, while contracting, may become brittle. The consequences of thermal shock may be visible a few years down the line. If made from recyclable materials such as aluminum, copper, or steel, they can easily be replaced.
Concrete / Terra cotta
The most eco-friendly material for roofing projects – terra cotta, is mostly used in the Mediterranean areas. They are highly durable, easy to replace, and reflect most of the sun’s rays. Available in different shades, broken plates can easily be replaced and, being eco-friendly, can be recast from clay or concrete.
This is an excellent choice for flat or very low-pitch roofs. Membrane roof can be made from any of the following polymers:
- Neoprene (polychloroprene)
- EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
- Chlorinated polyethylene and chlorosulfonated polyethylene sheets
- Polymer-modified bitumens
These membranes are available in the form of huge rolled sheets. When layered upon the previous layer, the seams are eliminated, and hence water cannot enter inside. Lifespan is typically 20 to 35 years when the roof is maintained properly.
Factors that affect Roofing Material Choice
- Appearance – How attractive the roof looks
- Longevity – How durable is the material
- Cost – Cost of material influences the cost of repairs
- Structural issues – Would the material break under pressure? Is it thermally non-conductive? Is it waterproof?
Roofs are not just a part of your building structure. It plays multiple roles, and with timely repairs and replacement, you maintain the integrity of the overall roof system. This means roofs do the job of insulation by keeping the warm air outside during summers and vice-versa. This translates into lower utility costs and has fewer maintenance demands. Farha Roofing is a team of licensed and fully insured contractors who conduct periodic roof inspections to provide an accurate estimate when repairing multi-family roofing and other properties throughout the Denver, CO, Wichita, KS and Kansas City, MO areas.