In some cases, commercial flat roofs don't see heavy foot traffic, and therefore aren’t designed to handle it. In other cases, a commercial flat roof will need to be walked on for a variety of reasons that include routine maintenance, upgrades to HVAC systems, window washing, and repairs.
Because of routine maintenance and any other circumstances where the roof will see high foot traffic, it’s important to install the best flat roof for foot traffic to ensure that the roof can hold up well over time. There are a number of roof surfaces that allow foot traffic, though some are more accommodating than others.
Flat Roof Paving Systems
There are a number of commercial flat roof paving systems that can handle high foot traffic. The majority, however, require specialized knowledge to install, and while they can support high levels of foot traffic, it is more related to maintenance or facilities crews rather than pedestrian traffic or a place that would support a rooftop patio.
Built-Up Roofing (BUR)
A BUR system is made with layers of bitumen (asphalt) covered with crushed stone and roofing felt that is reinforced with glass-fiber or organic mats. The bitumen and felt layers alternate, forming multiple “plies” on a flat roof that can handle high traffic.
This type of flat roof isn’t aesthetically pleasing, so it is more ideally suited for high foot traffic from maintenance workers or technicians. To construct a patio or walkway, pavers can be installed over BUR roofing to create a better surface for high traffic.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)
TPO roofing is a single-ply roofing membrane that is installed in sheets that soften when heated and become firm when cooled. TPO is relatively strong and able to withstand some foot traffic as well as resist tears and punctures. Installing walking pads can make this roofing material hold up better under high foot traffic. It’s popular for its reflective qualities and its ability to stand up to UV light and chemical exposure.
Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM)
EPDM roofing is well suited for the high foot traffic of maintenance or facilities crews, but isn’t intended for regular foot traffic from people traveling across the roof as a way to get between buildings or as a rooftop patio.
For people walking on EPDM, it’s recommended to step deliberately without moving too fast. When turning, people should pick up their feet and step purposefully in a different direction instead of turning on the balls of their feet. As with BUR, pavers can be installed on top of an EPDM system.
Vegetative, or Green, Roofing Systems
Green roofs provide the opportunity to increase the commercial building’s sustainability. A vegetative roof system is often installed using a tray system over the existing flat roof system. Pavers can be integrated into the system to provide walking paths and support high foot traffic throughout rooftop gardens.
For commercial roofs that need to accommodate flat roof foot traffic, some projects opt for walkways that lead to the most regularly accessed areas. These walkways can be constructed with pavers, walkway matting, composite pavers, and other materials, to provide a roof surface that allows foot traffic without wearing down the roofing material.
Composite Paver System
A composite paver system is one of the best flat roof systems for foot traffic. Not only does it support the foot traffic from routine maintenance and necessary repairs, but it can also create a rooftop patio or act as a walkway for vegetative roofing systems.
This aesthetically pleasing system is easy to install and is made from eco-friendly material. Aspire Pavers are made with up to 95% post-consumer recycled rubber and plastic, which helps to divert materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Aspire Pavers Will Allow Foot Traffic on a Commercial Roof
For many flat roofs, foot traffic is a necessity. At the very least, flat roofs require maintenance and repairs, and to complete both, crews need to be able to access the roof, so heavy foot traffic is a possibility. To create a roof surface that allows foot traffic, consider Aspire Pavers.
Our composite pavers offer many benefits in addition to creating the best flat roof for foot traffic:
Easy to install with our patented grid system that takes less than 40% of the time of traditional pavers
Made from up to 95% post-consumer recycled content
Eligible for LEED points for using recycled materials
Requires less energy to produce and up to 95% less CO2 than concrete
Can be installed over other commercial roofing systems
Stain, scratch, and crack resistant and more comfortable to walk on than traditional pavers
Can create walkways and rooftop patios with ease
One-third of the weight of traditional pavers which means the building may not need additional structural reinforcement
Contact the experts at Aspire today to see how our pavers can help you create a flat roof that allows foot traffic.