5 Important Considerations For Your Client To Know About Their Commercial Low Slope Roof

Are your clients thinking about their rooftop? Our research shows that commercial building owners rely heavily on general contractors and industry experts like you to advise them on how best to set them up for success. We have loaded this article with helpful resources, industry insights, and tips to communicate to your commercial building clients.

1. Puncture and associated foot traffic has the largest impact on a roof’s lifespan, according to a survey of roofing contractors conducted by Ducker Worldwide.1

Your client’s roof may be in pristine condition upon its completion, but how will it hold up over its full lifecycle? Although your commercial rooftop might not have much on it today, adding anything from solar panels to HVAC equipment may require additional strength. “Future-proofing” your roof with gypsum roof boards like DensDeck® provide a sturdy surface for equipment and mitigates risk from foot traffic and installation damage (e.g., tools, equipment punctures etc.).

2. Fire risk is inherent to every commercial building. How can you mitigate it?

Did you know non-residential building fires are up 30%?2 Building fires occur for any number of reasons—cooking-related incidences, equipment fires, electrical malfunctions, and much more. Plus, severe drought conditions, periods of extreme heat, and climate change provide favorable conditions for wildfires.

Using a cover board made of gypsum adds a non-combustible component to your roof system, which can help slow smoke and flame spread and helps to starve the fire, so it doesn’t penetrate the assembly. And in geographical areas that are at high risk for fire, gypsum cover boards like DensDeck® roof board can also be used as both a thermal barrier and a cover board, protecting the building from internal and external sources of fire.

3. Extreme weather events and billion-dollar disasters are at a historic high. What should I do?

Hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, and other extreme weather events can create tremendous stress on a roof, putting building occupants and others nearby at risk and causing costly damage. According to NOAA, the last two years, 2020 and 2021, hold the top spots for the number of billion-dollar disasters from extreme weather events, and in 2021, had price tag of $145 billion.3


Source: https://www.climate.gov/media/13976

Gypsum cover boards like DensDeck® roof board help enhance wind uplift resistance in two primary ways. First, gypsum cover boards increase membrane bond strength by providing a rigid surface for the membrane to adhere to and helps prevent delamination. Second, they enhance fastener pull through performance which helps keep the roof assembly intact.

4. Maintenance cost savings can be achieved when a cover board is included in your roof assembly, creating a solid barrier of protection, and maximizing the roof’s lifecycle.

It’s generally accepted that cover boards help to reduce the costs of repairs, damage, and leaks—the primary drivers of roofing operations and maintenance (O&M) costs. But by how much? With all the patching, cleaning, caulking, leaks, hail damage, debris, and foot traffic that occurs during a roof’s 20-year lifecycle, there are many O&M costs to factor. A recent FMI study found that using a cover board on a single-ply membrane reduced operation and maintenance costs by an average of $1.40 per square foot over a 20-year lifespan; that’s an average of $1,750 annually.

5. Your roof’s median life expectancy can be increased by four years when using a cover board on a single-ply membrane roof. *

That’s four additional years of value that help exceed an owner’s roof-life expectancy. A recent FMI study unveils some valuable insights on this topic. Of the single-ply roof assemblies without a cover board, only 52 percent met the owners’ life expectancy, while those single-ply assemblies and a cover board met owners’ life expectancy 86 percent of the time, yielding a much higher level of customer satisfaction. *

Puncture, fire, extreme weather, cost savings, and life expectancy are all considerations that your clients rely on you to help address and mitigate when it comes to their commercial roof assembly. Gypsum cover boards like the DensDeck® product line from Georgia-Pacific help mitigate risk and improve performance. Contact us to learn how our products can help your clients rest assured.

1Survey conducted by Ducker Worldwide, Troy MI, 2016. www.ducker.com

2United States Fire Administration Nonresidential Building Fire Trends (2009-2019). Nonresidential Building Fire Trends (fema.gov)

3Source: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/beyond-data/2021-us-billion-dollar-weather-and-climate-disasters-historical

* FMI Roof Cover Board Survey completed in May 2020. Actual results may vary.