7 Commercial Roof Types to Consider

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:

Trying to figure out the best roofing materials can be extremely overwhelming. With so many different factors to choose from, where should you even start?

When it comes to commercial roof types, there are seven that you should consider for your building. We’ll cover each one and all of the details so you don’t have to continue to stress about it!

  1. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a popular commercial roofing option because of its durability and lifetime. They can last between 40-60 years without needing replacement. You can expect to pay anywhere between $5 – $10 per square foot on metal roofing.

Not only does metal roofing have a long lifespan, it’s also one of the most sustainable options to choose from. They also have high fire-resistant ratings while still maintaining a sleek look.

There are a few different metal materials to think about:

  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Corrugated galvanized steel
  • Stainless steel 
  • Tin
  • Lead
  • Metal tile sheets

Although there are plenty of reasons to go this route, keep in mind that metal roofs are more susceptible to corrosion than other types of roofing materials.

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  1. Built-Up Roofing Membrane

A built-up roofing membrane is the same thing as a tar or gravel roof.

The best part about this type of commercial roofing is that you can decide how many layers you have, depending on the price you’re willing to spend and the durability you need.

Choosing a built-up roofing membrane is one of the most cost-effective options out there. If you’re not sure if this is the best option for you, check with your contractor before you start to re-roof your commercial building.

  1. Spray-On Roofing

Spray-on roofing is not used by itself but is rather added to an existing roof. You may be asking what’s the point of that?

Spray-on roofing comes from Spray Polyurethane Foam which goes on as a liquid, turns to foam, and then hardens into a solid. When added onto an existing roof, it adds more insulation and can create a more waterproof roof. Once installed, this material can last up to 50 years.

The materials that SPF are made from environmentally-friendly materials and are highly energy-efficient, so if you’re into sustainability this is a great option!

So what’s the catch? In order to install spray-on roofing, the weather conditions have to be optimal. This means no water, no ice, and no snow at the time of installation, so it may take longer to get the roof installed than some other commercial roofing options.

  1. Roof Shingles

Roof shingles are what you typically see on a residential home. They can also be used for commercial buildings if the roof is a bit more slanted and steep.

If you close to go this route, you can choose between different materials for your shingles:

  • Asphalt
  • Slate
  • Plastic
  • Ceramic

These are the most popular materials to choose from, but there are still more options out there.

So what can you expect from roof shingles? You’ll be choosing to go with a material that is extremely versatile and affordable. However, they will not last as long as some of the other commercial roof types, and if you are in a moist, shady area, moss and mildew can easily grow on this roofing material.

  1. Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

Single-ply membrane roofing is a single sheet of rubber and other materials that can be plastered onto your roof to provide extra insulation to the building. The average cost of the materials plus installation is about $5 per square foot.

Most single-ply membrane roofing materials are fire retardant to prevent fires, and you can expect them to last up to 30 years.

However, in order to use this type of material, you do need to be working on a flat roof building.

  1. Green Roof

This type of commercial roofing is exactly what it sounds like. It gets its name from the greenery that makes up the roof.

There is a tough waterproof membrane that is covered by greenery to improve air quality and protect the building itself from environmental elements. Many times, these are used as green spaces for employees to relax or wander around. Not only are you getting the commercial roofing that you need, but you’re providing a space for others to enjoy!

While this is a very sustainable route to go for your roofing needs, there will need to be more maintenance for this type of roof. If maintained properly, this roof can last anywhere between 30-50 years.

  1. Modified Bitumen Roofing

A modified bitumen roof is installed in two parts as a two-ply roofing system to improve durability of the roof. This material is meant for flat roofs, specifically if they are going to see a lot of foot traffic.

Because this material is more durable than some other options, if you expect to have a lot of people on the roof, this material is the way to go.

This commercial roofing option is easy to maintain as long as it is cleaned and inspected at least once per year.

Thinking About One of These Commercial Roof Types?

With a list of pros and cons for the different commercial roof types, you have everything you need to make a decision about which one is best for you and your building!

Whether you’re looking for something on a budget, want a sustainable option, or want it to look good, there’s an option for everything.

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