While so called "built-up" or "tar and gravel" roofs are still quite common on industrial buildings, some owners are steering away from them in favor of alternatives like spray foam and sheet metal roofing. While these newer alternatives do work well and have their benefits, they are not necessarily light years above a tar and gravel roof like some would have you believe. If you're on a budget, it's perfectly okay to stick with the standard, more affordable tar and gravel roofing option for your commercial building. In fact, this type of roof still offers several benefits.
A fire in any commercial building is a huge tragedy. Not only are the lives of your employees and customers put at risk should a fire break out, but any equipment or products that you have in the building will be damaged by the fire, leading to a host of hassles related to insurance claims and repairs. It only makes sense to design your building to be as fire-resistant as possible, and a tar and gravel roof helps accomplish that goal. Coal tar pitch, when used on a roof, has a Class A rating in terms of fire-resistance, which means that it has low combustibility.
You don't have to get a completely new roof each time your foot needs repairs.
Tar and gravel roofs are sometimes called "built-up roofs" because of the manner in which they are applied. Instead of the current roof being torn off and a new one put on, when your roof is beginning to wear out, a new layer is simply applied on top of the existing one. This makes tar and gravel roofs more eco-friendly than you may initially assume -- you're not sending waste to the landfill every time the roof needs to be replaced. Also, the re-roofing process is shorter and simpler since a roof does not have to be removed, which may mean fewer closed hours for your business and fewer billable labor hours from the roofing company.
If your current building has a tar and gravel roof, sticking with it might be the only choice.
Replacing your current tar and gravel roof with an alternative may be structurally impossible, or it may cost so exorbitantly much to do so that you're simply not able to consider it as an option. Before you even consider other roofing options, have a roofing contractor inspect your current structure and give you estimates for various types of roof replacements. You may find that sticking with tar and gravel is, in fact, your only option.
The roof can be covered with light-colored material to save energy.
White roofs, which are often made from sheet metal that has been sprayed white or spray foam that has been topped with a white membrane, are becoming quite popular. These roofs help lower energy bills because they absorb less heat from the sun than do dark-colored roofs. They also help reduce the urban heat island effect in cities because they do not heat up as much.
It's a common misconception that if you have a tar and gravel roof, you are doomed to the high energy bills associated with dark colors. In fact, you can have a white membrane or sheet coating installed on top of your tar and gravel roof. While this membrane will make repairs a bit more taxing because it will have to be removed each time a new layer is added to the roof, the money you save on energy bills will likely make up for the increased repair costs.
When its time to replace your commercial roof or choose a roof type for your new building, don't just jump on the latest materials because they're trendy. Tar and gravel roofs have been around for decades, and while they may not be the snazziest option, they do offer a good bang for fewer bucks. For more information about your roofing options, you can check out the sites of local roofing companies.