Types of Commercial Roofs: What You Need to Know

There’s a reason why we say everyone needs a roof over their heads: it’s the one thing that keeps us safe from the elements, as well as warm and dry.

This idea definitely extends to commercial properties too. After all, which customers are happy to be extremely cold/hot, wet, and miserable?

This means that if you’re building a new business or revamping your property, it’s important to weigh up your choices. That way, you can get the most bang for your buck.

Read on to learn about the different commercial roofs available.

Built-Up Roofing

Built-up roofing (BUR) is made up of multiple layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics. The bitumen can be either asphalt or coal tar. The layers are alternately applied, with the top made of a protective layer of gravel or a reflective coating.

BUR is one of the oldest roofing systems around (over 100 years), and for good reason. They’re durable and provide excellent waterproofing, meaning they offer maximum protection in extreme climate conditions.

Plus, they’re one of the more cost-effective options. So if you’re on a tight budget, this is certainly an attractive roofing type.

Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

Single-ply membrane roofing is made of rubber and plastic. Typically, this type of roofing is energy-efficient and UV-resistant, making it a solid selection for businesses located in sunny areas.

There are three main types you can pick here: TPO roofing, EPDM roof membrane, and PVC roofing.

TPO Roofing

“TPO” is short for “thermoplastic polyolefin”, which is both lightweight and flexible. Because it has a reflective surface, it’ll lower the need for interior cooling, which in turn lowers your utility bills.

However, the one drawback is that it’s prone to puncturing. You’ll need to keep the roof clear or opt for another roofing type if you want to keep surrounding greenery and other things.

EPDM Roof Membrane

“EPDM” is short for “ethylene propylene diene monomer”. This means that this commercial roof is made of synthetic rubber. The material makes it resistant to hail and ozone.

This type of commercial roof can be fully adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted.

Unfortunately, EPDM roof membrane only comes in the color of black, so it’s not as energy efficient as TPO roofing. The good news is, it has a longer lifespan if longevity is one of your priorities.

PVC Roofing

“PVC” stands for “polyvinyl chloride” and is excellent for chemical and fire resistance. As you might’ve guessed, this roof type is exceptionally durable. In addition, it comes in different colors; by combining the color white with its reflective surface, PVC roofing minimizes heat absorption.

They’re heat-welded at the seams, so you’ll get a watertight seal too.

Metal Roofing

The most popular types of metal roofing are steel, aluminum, and copper. These are all lightweight, durable, and resistant to fire, wind, and impact.

In addition to the various materials available, metal roofing also comes in various profiles and finishes. For example, you can get standing seam, corrugated panels, or metal shingles.

You can use metal roofing on both low-slope and steep roofs. Many people opt for metal roofing instead of traditional shingle roofs since it’s more durable and has a longer lifespan.

This doesn’t mean you should neglect commercial roof repair though. Keeping up with maintenance and repairs means your roof will last much longer.

Foam Roofing

Foam roofs are created by spraying a polyurethane foam onto the roof surface. As a result, you’ll get a seamless and waterproof layer, which has a protective coating on top too.

This type of roof is ideal if you require excellent insulation and energy efficiency. It’s also fantastic for irregular roof shapes since the foam molds to every curve and angle.

Green Roofs

Are you looking to reduce your carbon footprint? Do you want to add more greenery to the concrete jungle? Then green roofs are great for you!

Green roofs are also known as living or vegetative roofs. As the names suggest, the roofs incorporate vegetation and plants. There’s a base of growing medium (usually soil), and overlies a traditional roof.

Not only does this look nicer, but it provides insulation for the inside of your business too. Plus, it reduces stormwater runoff and improves air quality.

This type of commercial roof has such widespread benefits that it’d be unwise not to get one. In may even spark inspiration in neighboring businesses, resulting in a large swath of green roofs!

Solar Roofs

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to get a solar roof. Although it’s not as lovely as green roofs, it’s still highly beneficial to the planet.

Solar roofs integrate photovoltaic panels into your roofing system, and they generate electricity from sunlight. They can actually be installed as part of other roof types on this list, or you can have specialized solar shingles or tiles.

There are both federal and local incentives for solar panels, so it’s worth looking into. For example, you may get a subsidy or tax credit. You can also sell back extra energy generated to the grid in certain locations.

Pick From These Commercial Roofs

There are several commercial roofs available, and we haven’t covered them all. However, these are the ones most commonly seen on businesses, so they’re worth your consideration.

If you’re still not sure which types of commercial roofs you should choose, then have a look around your area to get a good idea. In addition, you can consult with expert roofers to weigh your options and find the best roofing materials for needs that won’t break the bank.

If you’re interested in other real estate and home topics, then read our other blog posts.