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Commercial Roofing Types

Roofer laying bitumen roofing on commercial roof

Are you trying to select a commercial roofing system? When it comes to commercial roofing types, there’s a lot more to learn than you might realize. Let’s talk about what you need to know in order to make the right choice.

Commercial Roofing Types

Maybe it’s time for a new roof on your commercial building, or maybe you just need a refurbishment. Either way, you might be surprised how much there is to know about commercial roofing types. It’s important to understand the options available to you so you can make an informed decision. So, what should you know?

Commercial Roof Shapes: Low-Slope or Flat?

You’ve probably noticed that most commercial roofs are flat on top, unlike the pitched roofs you more commonly see on homes and residences. While low-slope roofs are also an option for some buildings, commercial buildings typically have flat roofs for a reason:

  • A flat roof is cheaper to install, and it’s easier to design for a building with a large footprint.
  • Some buildings are too large to architecturally accommodate a pitched roof.
  • A flat roof provides space for items like heavy-duty HVAC equipment, which large buildings need. Putting this equipment on the roof also limits the noise it creates inside the building and makes it more easily accessible for repairs.

If you have your heart set on a pitched roof, it might still be possible depending on the size of your building and other factors. While a roof made of traditional materials may not work, many owners of commercial buildings are able to use metal roofing to create a low-slope roof instead of a flat one. Your best bet is to talk to a roofing professional about your options.

What Type of Commercial Roofing Is Right for My Roof?

If you can live with a flat roof, you’ll have a lot more options for your commercial roofing system. Each type has its own pros and cons that you’ll need to consider:

  • PVC Roofing: This environmentally friendly roofing option is made of waterproof membranes that adhere directly to the roof. The entire roof can be recycled at the end of its lifespan.
  • TPO Roofing: Thermoplastic olefin (TPO) roofing is a polythermal membrane that is similar to PVC and other typical roofing materials. It’s an affordable material that is UV-resistant, heat-resistant, and extremely durable.
  • EPDM Roofing: Otherwise known as “rubber roofing,” ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing material comes in a variety of colors that can add some additional style to your building. It’s also a low-cost option that is UV and heat resistant.
  • Built-Up Roofing (BUR): This is the most common type of commercial roofing. It is made of layers of asphalt and fiberglass placed directly on the roof. This is an inexpensive option, but it can be vulnerable to damage since asphalt is brittle.
  • Modified Bitumen Roofing: This type of roofing is similar to EPDM roofing, but it uses chemically-modified asphalt instead of rubber. It’s a durable roofing style that performs well in the winter, but it can develop leaks if not maintained.

How Should My Roof Be Attached?

While the roofing material is important, the way the roof is attached to the building is also something you need to consider:

  • The ballast method involves holding a roofing system to the building with heavy weights, such as concrete blocks.
  • A mechanically adhered roofing system uses nails and screws to attach the roofing material directly to the structural decking.
  • A fully-adhered roofing system uses powerful adhesives to completely bond the roofing material to the decking.

Which of these materials and attachment styles will work best for your building? A licensed roofer is the only one who knows for sure.


As you can see, there’s a lot to keep straight when selecting a commercial roofing system. The good news is that you don’t need to do it alone. Why not give Taylor-Made Roofing a call?

If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Taylor-Made Roofing for help. Our experts can help you sort through commercial roof systems, maintain an older roof, perform emergency repairs, complete tear-offs and recovers, and perform remodeling services. With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, Taylor-Made Roofing is a company that you can trust with all of your roofing needs. Our family-owned business offers quality services, a reassuring warranty, and free estimates. For more information regarding roofing materials, please give us a call at 417-326-8778 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

Fully licensed and insured, Taylor-Made Roofing is ready to take care of your roof.
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