The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Commercial Roofing

Types of Commercial Roofing

Commercial roofing systems are designed to protect commercial buildings from the elements and provide durability, energy efficiency, and long-lasting performance. Various materials and designs are available to meet the specific needs of different commercial structures and industries. Here are some common types of commercial roofing:

1. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-Up Roofing (BUR) is a traditional and reliable commercial roofing system. It consists of multiple layers of bitumen (asphalt or coal tar) alternating with reinforcing fabric, such as fiberglass or polyester, and topped with a protective layer of gravel or mineral granules. BUR roofs are known for their durability, resistance to weather and UV rays, and fire resistance. They are commonly used for low-slope or flat roofs.

2. Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified Bitumen Roofing is an evolution of traditional BUR roofs. It features asphalt or coal tar bitumen modified with rubber or plastic polymers, providing enhanced durability, flexibility, and resistance to extreme temperatures. Modified bitumen roofs are available in rolls and can be installed using heat or adhesives. They are commonly used for low-slope or flat roofs in commercial buildings.

3. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) Roofing

EPDM roofing is a synthetic rubber membrane made of ethylene propylene diene monomer. It is highly durable, UV resistant, and offers excellent weathering capabilities. EPDM roofs are available in large sheets and can be fully adhered, mechanically attached, or ballasted with stones. They are commonly used for low-slope roofs and are known for their longevity and low maintenance requirements.

4. Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) Roofing

TPO roofing is a single-ply membrane made of a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. It provides excellent resistance to UV radiation, chemicals, and weathering. TPO roofs are lightweight, cost-effective, and energy-efficient. They are commonly installed in large sheets using various methods, such as mechanically attached, fully adhered, or ballasted.

5. PVC Roofing

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) roofing is a single-ply membrane known for its durability, chemical resistance, and fire retardance. It offers excellent UV resistance and can withstand extreme weather conditions. PVC roofs are available in large sheets and can be fully adhered, mechanically attached, or ballasted. They are commonly used in low-slope commercial roofing applications.

6. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing systems, such as standing seam or corrugated metal roofs, are durable, long-lasting, and visually appealing. They can be made of steel, aluminum, or copper and offer exceptional resistance to fire, wind, and impact. Metal roofs are lightweight, energy-efficient, and often have a long lifespan. They are commonly used in various commercial applications and can be installed on both low-slope and steep-slope roofs.

7. Green Roofs

Green roofs, also known as vegetated or living roofs, involve the installation of a layer of vegetation and growing medium on top of a waterproofing membrane. Green roofs offer numerous environmental benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, stormwater management, and reduction of the urban heat island effect. They provide natural insulation, absorb rainwater, and contribute to biodiversity. Green roofs require specialized installation and maintenance but offer unique aesthetics and ecological advantages.

8. Solar Roofing

Solar roofing combines roofing materials with photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to generate electricity from sunlight. Solar roofs provide renewable energy, reduce electricity costs, and contribute to sustainability goals. They can be integrated into various commercial roofing systems and are designed to be durable and weather-resistant.


Choosing the right commercial roofing system depends on factors such as building structure, climate, budget, durability requirements, energy efficiency goals, and maintenance considerations. Whether it’s built-up roofing, modified bitumen, EPDM, TPO, PVC, metal roofing, green roofs, or solar roofs, each type offers unique advantages and considerations. Consulting with roofing professionals and considering the specific needs of the commercial building can help determine the most suitable commercial roofing option.