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WRITTEN BY The Embry's Team 5 minutes READ

Projections show that the global roofing market will grow to a value of $140.4 billion by 2033.

Commercial roofing is always built to last, but all roofs degrade with time. Eventually, you’ll need to replace yours. When you do, you don’t have to go for the same style you already have.

There are various types of commercial roofs. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and knowing what these are will help you decide which is best for your building.

In this guide, we’ll go over the different types of commercial roofing. Keep reading for more.

Metal Roofing

commercial building with metal roof

Metal roofs are very durable, and have a long lifespan (typically 40-60 years). They also have other benefits such as being fire-resistant and cost-effective. This makes them one of the most popular choices when it comes to roofs for commercial buildings.

There are various materials that can be used for a metal commercial roof, such as:

  • Aluminum
  • Coated or stainless steel
  • Corrugated galvanized steel
  • Aluminum, zinc, and tin
  • Copper
  • Tile sheets

On top of the advantageous physical attributes, metal roofs are also considered one of the best choices when appearance is a factor. This might not matter so much for a flat roof, as people will rarely see it.

With a sloped metal roof, however, it can be painted whatever color you want. Coating is used to protect the roof, but if this coating gets damaged, it can become susceptible to corrosion.

Shingle Roofing

Shingle roofing is an older choice. It’s mostly seen on residential buildings, but can still be used for commercial roofing systems – mostly ones with steep roof lines.

You can choose from various materials such as slate, ceramic, asphalt, and plastic. Shingle roofing is typically easy to install which helps save on labor costs. The materials are also generally inexpensive and very versatile.

The main downside of shingle roofing is that it can have quite a short lifespan (about 25 years) – especially if the materials are from a low-quality brand. Repairing and replacing roofs is hard work, so you want something that will last. It’s also more susceptible to moss and mildew than other types of roofing.

Thermoset EPDM Roof Membrane

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer) is a type of membrane made out of synthetic rubber. It’s rolled out across a roof and provides excellent protection against pollution, UV rays, and common solvents. Installation is easy, and it has a lifespan of 50+ years.

EPDM isn’t the best choice if you want a roof with a good appearance. While it is durable, it can also be pierced quite easily if someone walks across it or it’s hit by falling debris.

Thermoplastic PVC & TPO Roof Membrane

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) and PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) are ideal for roofs that are often exposed to adverse conditions. They offer strong resistance to things like chemicals, UV rays, and bacterial growth.

They’re lightweight, puncture resistant, and ideal for reflecting heat. On top of that, they’re both fire-resistant and are suitable for environments with strong winds and high temperatures.

The thing to be aware of with these roofing options is that many smaller manufacturers have started making their own versions, which tend to be low-quality. If you go with this type, you want to avoid such brands and go with one that you know to be reliable. Even high-quality options don’t have the best lifespan, which is typically up to about 30 years.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR) Membrane

BUR roofing is made up of alternating layers of gravel and tar. Having more layers costs more, but it also provides more durability. It’s relatively cheap, and it’s easy to repair any damage.

The structure makes it very stable so it can handle a lot of foot traffic. It also offers good UV and heat resistance.

The main downside of BUR roofing is that it has a worse lifespan than most other options. It will typically last up to 20 years – maybe a bit longer if it’s well looked after.

Spray-On Silicon

worker spraying foam on the commercial building

This is a potential addition to existing roofs that can improve certain properties. It’s a liquid spray that expands into a foam and hardens as it’s applied. Using this can make a roof waterproof and improve the insulation.

It’s an eco-friendly solution if you don’t want to fully replace a roof, and can last for up to 50 years if it’s installed and maintained properly. It’s also very versatile, making it suitable for any climate.

Installation can be difficult as it needs to be done in good weather conditions. Water, ice, and snow will all cause issues. If you go with this option, you should have it inspected once or twice a year.

Modified Bitumen Roof

Modified Bitumen roofing is made of a combination of asphalt and a chemical polymer. This provides temperature resistance and flexibility, making it a good option for all weather conditions.

There are various ways to apply it, and it can be done in layers to increase durability. The seams are securely melted together which helps improve wind, fire, and hail resistance. The main downside is lifespan, which is typically around 20 years.

Your Commercial Roofing Solution

With so many options, it can be difficult to decide what option to go with for your building. Embry’s Roofing is a leading contractor with over 45 years of experience in roofing and other home services.

Get in touch with our team and we can discuss your needs to help you find the perfect commercial roofing solution. Click here to contact us today.

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