The 5 Most Common Commercial Roofing Types and Materials

At Summit Commercial Roofing, we understand the importance of selecting the right roofing material for your business. As an owner or operator, you need to consider not only the durability of the materials but also the health of the building, climate of the region, and wildlife and plant life in the immediate area. As most properties have low sloping or flat roofs, they often limit your choices for commercial roofing systems to five available options. Each option presents a set of pros and cons for the business owner, so let’s walk you through each material to help you decide which is best for your business.

1. Metal

Metal commercial roofing systems are more durable than most other roofing materials, and you cannot deny the sleek and beautiful look. Unfortunately, metal of any kind can rust, but sustainability and fire rating may still make the metal material an excellent choice for your company. You can choose from a variety of materials to help get a metal roof at your price point. However, to understand the benefits of each metal, contact one of our representatives for more specific information related to your project.

2. BUR

Built-up commercial roofing systems, or BUR roofing membranes, is customizable and affordable. The roof is made of several layers of tar and gravel. While this is a fairly standard approach to commercial roofing, a client can limit the number of layers or piles to control the overall costs of the project. However, know that more layers contribute to the durability and effectiveness of the roof, too few layers will cause limited longevity and potentially costly damage later on in the roof’s life.


An EPDM, or thermoset, commercial roof system is made from synthetic rubber. There are few negatives to this product. The material is incredibly flexible, reflective and resistant to many substances, like acids, alcohol and other solvents. This material is an excellent option for varying climates because it can flex with the shifting temperatures. While the material may become damaged from debris, it is also easy to repair and maintain. Unfortunately, this roofing type is more expensive than some other options on this list.

4. Modified Bitumen

With commercial roofing systems, a modified bitumen roof may last the longest, with most well-maintained roofs lasting about 20 years or more. However, longevity may depend on the number of layers. 1-ply bitumen roofs are not durable and may fail sooner rather than later, but a 3-ply installation provides maximum durability and tensile strength. One of the significant drawbacks of a bitumen roof is the lack of color options, with many commercial properties having a black roof that attracts rather than reflects heat.

5. PVC and TPO

PVC or TPO commercial roofing systems are thermoplastic materials. The material is highly resistant to chemicals, bacteria growth, oils, animal fats, punctures and UV light. It is also incredibly lightweight with a high-temperature tolerance, making it an ideal material for restaurants, chemical plants and several other businesses. These roofs offer superior seam strength and tear resistance. You can expect anywhere from 15 to 30 years from a thermoplastic roof when maintained correctly and repaired when necessary.

What does your business need from a new roof? Do you want a material that will not only prevent water damage but also save you money on utilities? Or, do you want a roof that provides protection at an affordable price? Contact a representative from Summit Commercial Roofing to discuss all the commercial roofing systems we offer and let them help you narrow down the material that works best for you and your business. We are here to help, and we want to see you satisfied with your selection.

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