5 Types of Roofing Materials Used on Commercial Buildings

types of roofing materials

What does a good building need to sustain the elements and protect its interior? A good roof and gutter system. All buildings need to have high-quality roofs and gutters, which allow rain to safely drain. It is crucial to find the right material and manufacturer for your roof or gutter system. Are you in the market for a new roof? Let’s look at all the things you need to consider when shopping for your next roof or gutter system.

Types of Roofs

One of the most important features of your building is your roof, because it provides support and sustenance for the entire foundation of the building. It is vital to maintain the roof that you have and assess whether or not you will need a new one. Perhaps, you might be able to feel the heat on the concrete outside of your window in your office, or you’re able to feel the moisture that comes from the wall or ceiling. Now, then, it might be a good time to look for a new roof.

As you look for a new roof, one crucial aspect to think about is the overall condition of the building. Other crucial factors include the durability of the roof, energy efficiency, and weather conditions that are typical for the area in which you live.

With each type of roof, there will be both advantages and disadvantages and it will be quite difficult to decide because there are so many options readily available.

What To Consider When Purchasing New Commercial Roofs

Energy, Cost, and Durability

Energy Efficiency has become a very popular buzzword for a long time, and numerous municipalities and cities have implemented policies that encourage energy efficiency.

The cost is a very important consideration. While some systems require less money to install, it is important to not sacrifice on efficiency or durability just to save a little bit of money.

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Finally, a properly installed and maintained commercial roofing system will last between a decade and 50 years. The weather conditions of a place may affect the durability of the roof, as well as other factors.

5 Types of Commercial Roofing

Metal Roofing   

With a lifespan of 40-60 years, metal roofing is a very common roof type that is on numerous buildings, It comes with many diverse types of materials, including aluminum, tin, zinc, copper, coated or stainless steel, and corrugated galvanized steel.

Metal roofing tends to have a very attractive and finished appearance and possess a high fire-resistance rating; however, it can be weak and easily corrode.

Green Roof

Green roofs are a popular choice and can last between 30 to 50 years. The roof includes a durable impermeable membrane that is completely covered up by greenery.  As sustainable works of art, these roofs provide a green place that helps employees rest and relax. Besides, the green roof has the advantage of sophisticated drainage management, as well as climate control. On the other hand, green roofs must undergo routine maintenance and be monitored closely.

Built-up Roofing Membrane

Built-up roofing has a durability of over 20 years. It consists of layers of tar and gravel. As an inexpensive solution, it can be easy to repair this type of roof. With its UV-resistance and stable understructure, it is an effective solution. However, the one downside is that BUR tends to have the shortest lifespan of most commercial roofing structures.

Thermoplastic PVC and TPO Roof Membranes   

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) roofing systems are resistant to the elements of nature. They are resistant to chemicals, and bacterial growth, and UV light,. This type of surface is lightweight, puncture-resistant, and heat reflective. One disadvantage is that this type of material is produced with different levels of quality depending on the manufacturer. Don’t go for the less expensive products that are not well made. Instead, make sure to buy the material from a high-quality manufacturer.


Shingles are typically used on the roofs of residential buildings. However, they have also been seen on commercial buildings. They are made of many different kinds of materials, including slate, plastic, ceramic, asphalt, among others. This type of material is affordable, convenient to install, and can be used in many different venues. On the other hand, shingles don’t have a long lifespan and can be susceptible to moss or mildew if the building is in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sunshine, such as under a tree or in the woods.

Gutters for Your Building

In addition to the roof, there is the gutter of the building. Gutters allow for drainage from rain and other natural elements. Two common types of gutters are useful in making your commercial space into a very pleasant place to be.

Box Gutters  

Box gutters are concealed and consist of wood framing which is covered by thin metal lining, which includes different metals, such as stainless steel, copper, or galvanized steel that are not susceptible to corrosion. A box is built by a carpenter into the bottom of the roof or the roof overhang and is then lined with sheet metal. The metal allows there to be a trough into which the downspout of water will flow. Box gutters are designed so that the trough is lined with different metal and allows for the water to flow nicely into the outlet hole without flooding.

Commercial Gutters

The other type of gutter is a commercial gutter. K-style or U-shaped gutters are used for residences. Commercial gutters come in all sizes, but the most common sizes have five inches and six inches. Commercial buildings typically have a six-inch size gutter with the larger roof area.

Commercial gutters tend to use 24 gauge galvanized steel or heavy aluminum, which provides excellent durability. Both steel and aluminum have protective coatings that reduce corrosion, add color, and increase the durability of the roof.


As you can see, there is a lot to consider when you’re purchasing a new roof or gutter system. The roof and the gutter system help to protect and sustain the life of a building. It is very important to think about materials, design, durability, among other factors when thinking about purchasing a new roof or gutter. With careful time and attention, you can come up with the right solution for your company.

Related Article

Beginners Guide to Roofs – Parts of a Roof

6 thoughts on “5 Types of Roofing Materials Used on Commercial Buildings”

  1. Alice Carroll says:

    It’s interesting to know that commercial roofing also uses shingles from time to time. I think having shingles for my friend’s bakery business will make it a lot more noticeable if she planning to have it built somewhere downtown. Most of the establishments there have flat roofs so being different wouldn’t be too hard.

    1. Samuel Patrick says:

      I can remember installing a Fully-Adhered TPO that mated with shingles. The facade of the bank was pitched and had shingles and the rear had a flat roof with TPO so they could put the AC, vents, and other essentials somewhere out of the way. Neat idea I though. I hardly ever see a bank with a shingle job.

  2. Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for the reminder that I should always think about the gutters as well when getting a commercial roofing installation. I’m interested in knowing more about the kinds of things I have to keep in mind when preparing to open my own retail business someday. Specifically, I’d like for its ventilation to be as efficient as possible and getting the right roofing would surely make a huge difference for that.

  3. Tammie Houston says:

    The longevity of metal roofing is really great and sounds terrific if you want to have a business that can take care of your family for a few generations. It’s great to hear that it is also safe due to it’s fire-retardant properties. I’ve been hoping to quit my job and start a family restaurant to support my kids and fund their education. Having materials that will last long are my priority so that the restaurant can sustain even their kids in the future. I’ll have to talk to any commercial roofing services in my area and ask what kind of metal roofing material would be best for my needs.

  4. Eli Richardson says:

    It’s great that you talked about roofing materials and their features. Recently, one of my cousins said he’s interested in investing in a construction project. My cousin mentioned he’d like to learn more about building materials, so I’ll be sure to share your article with him. Thanks for the advice on how to select the right material for your commercial roof.

  5. US Roofer says:

    I like metal roofs the most as these are durable, long lasting, eco friendly, require low maintenance, and have aesthetic appeal. Thanks for writing such an informative article and the material options are great. I must add in your writing that a building owner can increase their metal roof’s durability and longevity along with repairing and restoration with the application of right roofing sealant compatible with metal roof and whenever, it comes to the right roofing sealant, then “DIY EPDM Liquid Butyl Rubber” is the best sealant for metal roof having 25-year history of success in roof renewing, restoration, repairing, and maintenance. EPDM liquid butyl rubber gives best waterproofing solution for metal roofing making it more durable and long lasting for a fraction of cost. It is a solvent based, one coat, waterproof, and long lasting sealant that provides airtight, highly insulated coating and can withstand ponding water 365 days a year protecting the metal roof from heavy rainfall and hailstorms. Anyone can get all details about it from its website.

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