commercial roofing types

Exploring Commercial Roofing Types: Top 5 Options with Pros and Cons

Selecting the right roofing is a critical decision for any commercial building. The roof protects the structure and its contents from the elements and significantly affects the building’s overall aesthetics and energy efficiency. This choice becomes even more important considering the varied climates and specific needs of commercial roof types properties.

Commercial roofing types are diverse, offering unique benefits and drawbacks tailored to different building requirements. From metal roofs’ durability to green roofing systems’ eco-friendliness, the options are as varied as the businesses they shelter. Understanding the nuances of each roofing type is important for making an informed decision that aligns with both functional needs and budgetary constraints.

This article discusses the pros and cons of the top five types of commercial roofing. Whether constructing a new building or planning a roof replacement, this guide will help you weigh your options and choose a roofing system that best suits your commercial property’s needs.

Metal Roofing

Strength and Longevity for Commercial Buildings

Metal roofing systems are popular for commercial roof properties due to their exceptional durability and lifespan. Typically made from aluminum, steel, copper, or tin, metal roof system can withstand harsh weather, from heavy snow to strong winds. This resilience translates to a longer lifespan, often 40 to 70 years, with proper maintenance.


  • Durability: Metal roofs are highly resistant to cracking, shrinking, and eroding.
  • Energy Efficiency: Reflective properties of metal reduce cooling costs by deflecting sunlight.
  • Fire Resistance: Metal roofing is fire resistant, offering added safety.


  • Higher Initial Cost: Metal roofing costs more than other commercial roofing materials.
  • Noise: Rain or hail can be louder on metal surfaces, which might be a consideration in certain environments.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

A Time-Tested Solution for Flat Roofs

Built-Up Roofing system, commonly known as BUR, is one of the oldest and most reliable commercial roofing system, particularly for commercial flat roofing.

BUR is constructed with several layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics that create a finished membrane.


  • Cost-Effectiveness: BUR is an economical choice, especially for larger roofs.
  • Durability: The multiple layers provide strong protection against leaks and weather damage.
  • UV Protection: The surfacing layer in BUR roofs reflects UV rays, extending the roof’s life.


  • Installation Complexity: BUR requires a labor-intensive installation process.
  • Weight: The multiple layers add significant weight to the roof structure, which may require additional support.

Thermoset (EPDM) Roof Membrane

Versatile Commercial Roofing Systems for Diverse Climates

Thermoset roof membrane, commonly known as EPDM roofing(ethylene propylene diene monomer), is a durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane widely used in low-sloped commercial roofs. Its versatility makes it suitable for a variety of climates.


  • Longevity: EPDM roof systems are known for their long life, often lasting up to 30 years for low-slope roofs.
  • Flexibility: This commercial roofing material remains flexible in cold temperatures and resists UV rays and ozone damage.
  • Ease of Maintenance: EPDM roof types are relatively easy to repair and maintain.


  • Aesthetic Limitations: The standard black color of EPDM may not align with all architectural styles.
  • Vulnerability to Punctures: While durable, EPDM can be susceptible to punctures from foot traffic or equipment.

Thermoplastic (PVC & TPO) Roof Membrane

Innovative Solutions for Modern Needs

Thermoplastic roof membranes, notably PVC roofing (Polyvinyl Chloride) and TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) are increasingly popular in commercial roofing.

These single-ply roofing systems are known for their strength, durability, and environmental resistance.


  • Energy Costs Efficiency: PVC and TPO industrial roofs reflect sunlight, significantly reducing cooling costs.
  • Chemical Resistance: This makes them ideal for buildings exposed to oils, fats, or other chemicals.
  • Seam Strength: The seams of PVC and TPO roofs are heat-welded, creating a watertight bond stronger than the material itself.


  • Higher Cost: While offering numerous benefits, these materials can cost more than other commercial roofing options.
  • Installation Expertise: Proper installation requires specialized skills and equipment, making DIY installations unnecessary.

Green Roofing

Eco-Friendly and Aesthetically Pleasing

Green roofing system, or living roofs, is a sustainable option for growing rooftop vegetation.

This type of roofing is gaining traction in urban areas for its environmental benefits and unique appearance.


  • Environmental Impact: Green roofs improve air quality, reduce the urban heat island effect, and provide habitats for wildlife.
  • Energy Savings: The layer of vegetation provides natural insulation, reducing heating and cooling costs.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Green roofs offer commercial buildings an attractive and unique visual element.


  • Higher Upfront Costs: Installing a green roof involves a higher investment than traditional roofing materials.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Regular maintenance, such as watering and weeding, is necessary to keep the roof healthy and functional.


Choosing the right commercial roofing type is a pivotal decision for any business. Each type of roofing, from the sturdy and energy-efficient metal and thermoplastic membranes to the eco-friendly green roofs, offers unique benefits and considerations. Whether your priority is durability, cost-effectiveness, environmental impact, or aesthetic appeal, a roofing solution meets your needs. Understanding these commercial roofing options and their pros and cons is the first step in making a decision that aligns with your budget and your commercial building’s requirements. A well-chosen roof protects your property and contributes to its long-term value and functionality.

Looking for expert advice on commercial roofing project? Molina Roofing Services is here to guide you through your options. Our roofing experts team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect commercial roofing solution for your commercial property. With our expertise, you can ensure that your investment is sound and your property is well-protected. Don’t leave your roofing needs to chance. Contact us today or visit our Facebook page to schedule a consultation. Let Molina Roofing Services be your partner in selecting and installing the ideal roof for your commercial space.

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