Commercial Roofing Contractor | Commercial Roofing Types

Each commercial roofing type has its pros and cons. Learn about them so you’ll know what to discuss with a commercial roofing contractor in the future.

Different Commercial Roofing Types and Their Pros and Cons (Header 1)

The roof for your building is something you may find yourself discussing with a commercial roofing contractor in the future. However, with several roofing types available, choosing could be confusing. Make an informed decision and learn more about the common commercial roofing systems and their pros and cons in this article.

Metal

Metal roofs are made from readily available materials such as tile sheets, copper, aluminum, and steel. Sometimes, this roof type comes with integrated solar or snow removal systems.

Metal roofing can be used for either low- or sharp-sloped roofs. It is a popular choice for commercial buildings for being:

  • Long-lasting (up to 60 years)
  • Attractive
  • Fire-resistant
  • Low-maintenance
  • Environment-friendly
  • Heat-reflective

On the other hand, metal roofs also have their disadvantages. They:

  • Are prone to corrosion
  • Can be slippery
  • Bend over time

TPO

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) commercial roofs are single-ply membranes that are either glued down (fully adhered) or mechanically attached. This roofing system is made of a polymer or a filler blend (a rubber compound) and is commonly white. It has become one of the most preferred commercial roofs today for being:

  • Highly heat-reflective
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • Highly resistant against ultraviolet (UV) radiation and most chemicals
  • Fully recyclable
  • Moldable into different designs

TPO roofs, however, also have their flaws. These include:

  • Shrinking over time
  • Not having been around as long as the other types have, so their longevity is still unverified
  • Being fragile, especially the inexpensive ones

EPDM

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, which is a dark and durable synthetic rubber material, making it also known as “rubber roof.” Its membrane can range between 10 and 50 feet in width. 

The EPDM commercial roof is often used in flat and low-sloped applications. Its characteristics include being:

  • Highly resilient to impact and damage
  • Easily stretched and fitted to roofs
  • Resistant to hail damage and thermal shock
  • Durable and versatile

This roofing system also has a couple of disadvantages. It:

  • Weakens and shrinks due to temperature fluctuations
  • Can be punctured easily
  • Is incompatible with asphalt

PVC

A top, time-tested choice, the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) commercial roof is the original heat-welded single-ply roofing system. It has been in use for more than 50 years. They are either fully adhered or mechanically fastened. They:

  • Are flexible and durable
  • Resist rooftop chemicals, oils, and greases well (suitable for restaurants)
  • Have great fire resistance 
  • Are easy to clean
  • Are available in custom colors

Like the other types, the PVC roof also isn’t perfect. It:

  • Shrinks over time
  • Can be expensive
  • Clashes with asphalt

Vegetative

As its name suggests, the vegetative commercial roof consists of a living plant layer above a conventional flat or sloping roof. A drainage and irrigation system and filters are included in the components of this type. 

Vegetative roofs can be either pre-planted or built in place. Their features include:

  • High energy-efficiency, thanks to the plants
  • Roof membrane protection
  • Reduction of airborne contaminants
  • Improved stormwater management
  • Increased visual appeal

As great as it seems, the vegetative roofing system also has some cons:

  • It is costly to install and maintain
  • It can attract insects and pests
  • It is heavy

Asphalt

This type is commonly used for flat and low-sloped roofing. Asphalt commercial roofs consist of several layers, which include a weather-proofing one, a protective surface, and an insulating layer.

The asphalt roof has two broad categories: built-up roofing (BUR) and modified bitumen systems. It is known for its:

  • High durability due to its many layers
  • Great fire and UV radiation resistance
  • Easy maintenance

On the other hand, its disadvantages include:

  • Being difficult and tricky to install
  • Not being suitable for all buildings
  • Making leaks hard to spot

Slate and Tile

Natural slate and tile have been used for roofing for thousands of years. They are best known for their long life span: 150 years or more for slate and 100 for tile. There are also synthetic varieties, but they last for only half as long (50 years).

People prefer slate and tile for being:

  • Long-lasting
  • Able to withstand extreme weather conditions
  • Fire- and pest-resistant
  • Low-maintenance
  • Energy-efficient
  • Recyclable

Similar to other types, slate and tile commercial roofs also have their fair share of disadvantages:

  • Expensive and difficult to install
  • Repairs and replacement take longer than usual
  • Can be quite heavy

Know the Roof for You

Deciding on the right commercial roof for your property doesn’t have to be a stressful task. Remember to consider important factors such as your budget, the climate, and the building’s needs. For professional advice, you can always seek the help of a commercial roofing contractor.