Red metal roofing structure

Types of Roofs on Commercial Buildings—The Big 4

Pros and Cons of Today’s Most Popular Commercial Roofing Materials 

What’s the weather like? Hopefully, you aren’t able to answer that question just by looking up at the ceiling. If you can identify rain, snow, or sunshine from a windowless office, then it’s probably time to test the market for a new roofing system. But what is the best option to consider? 

In this blog, we’ll examine the most widely used types of commercial roofing products and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.  

Primary Commercial Roofing Systems

A quality commercial roofing structure can help solve many problems. Yes, it helps keep your hair dry, but that’s just one of many factors you should be taking into consideration. Before signing up for a service with a roofing contractor, do your homework. You’ll know you’re making the right purchase when you find a solution that’s durable, energy efficient, and flexibly priced.

The following roofing systems can help save your business money, preserve your energy, and keep you safe for many years to come. 

Flat Roofing Systems

A flat roofing system is a superior option if your building is commonly exposed to extreme weather. This commercial building structure can withstand years of heavy winds, hail, and torrential downpours. Flat roofs can easily cover the entire square footage of a commercial facility. As a bonus, these commercial roofing structures are easy to maintain. When examining a flat roof, contractors will have better access to apply routine maintenance on your HVAC equipment. 

Unfortunately, the installation is no easy task. The process requires careful planning and timely labor. If a flat roof is installed incorrectly, be prepared to deal with problems like water drainage and early repairs. If the system isn’t sealed tightly, it becomes easier to puncture through the surface. Before installing the roof, make sure the design meets all building specifications. Review all building codes and make sure the system is constructed out of the highest quality materials.

EPDM Roofing Systems

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) is an extremely durable synthetic roofing membrane. Not only is this material more flexible and stronger than traditional roofing alternatives, but it is usually considerably less expensive. Composed of oil-based and gas material, EPDM is engineered to offset the effects of weathering. It’s easy to install and can be applied to both flat and sloped surfaces. The thick rubber can be laid across a variety of structures in a single strip. And with fewer seams, it won’t erode parts of the roof during the application.


EPDM systems should be applied by experienced contractors only. While it’s easy to measure the right layer, it’s also easy to apply incorrectly. If the membrane isn’t attached right, it will expose more of the building’s vulnerabilities. This can shrink the roof deck, chip the paint, and ultimately damage the integrity of the building. 

Shingle Roofing Systems

While shingles are more commonly seen on residential buildings, they often play a pivotal role for commercial properties. Shingles come in numerous materials, most notably asphalt, architectural, slate, plastic, and ceramic forms. They are easy to apply and quick to repair in case a disaster strikes the surface of your building. And since there are plenty of color options, it’s easy to add shingles to boost the curb appeal of the roof. 

The downside is that they come with a shorter lifespan than other commercial roofing alternatives. It’s easier for a violent storm or gust of wind to blow off a layer of shingles than other traditional roofing structures. Finally, shingles are also susceptible to mildew, moss, and a variety of other substances. This might not be the ideal option if your building is located in a shaded area. 

TPO Roofing Systems 

When it comes to commercial roofing, thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) checks every box. This single-ply roofing system acts as a strong barrier against dangerous elements like heat, UV heat, wind, and all forms of precipitation. The flexible metal roofing layer is simple to install, resists mold growth, protects refrigeration, piping, and heating and ventilation equipment. It’s also adjustable to different thermal settings, which can help keep your building warm in colder climates. Finally, the ENERGY STAR model’s white reflective surface cuts down on energy waste, which helps your utility systems run at a more controlled level. It also helps reduce long-term spending on utility bills.

Although TPO has proven to be strong and durable, it is still a young technology. This means that there’s a great amount of room for error. Many manufacturers continue to build out TPO models with failing materials. This degrades the quality of the roofing membrane, which increases the likelihood of product failure. While improvements are constantly being made, it’s impossible to predict how long the system will last. 

Plan a Routine Roof Inspection 

If you’re searching for a cost-effective roofing system that fits your needs, Frederic Roofing has your answer. We take pride in preserving your building and will do whatever it takes to maximize its value. By scheduling a roof inspection with our team, you’ll be able to see where your building is most vulnerable. This allows our experts to do some much-needed damage control, which can help keep your roofing system in optimal condition for years to come.

Contact us today to set up your free roofing inspection and start collecting the energy and cost savings that you deserve!

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