Types of Commercial Roofs: What You Need to Know Before Choosing

Types of Commercial Roofs

Commercial roofs come in various materials and designs to meet the specific needs and requirements of different buildings and industries. Factors such as climate, building structure, budget, and maintenance considerations play a role in determining the most suitable type of commercial roof. Here are some common types of commercial roofs:

1. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-Up Roofing, also known as BUR, is a traditional type of commercial roofing system. It consists of multiple layers of bitumen (asphalt or coal tar) alternated with reinforcing fabric and topped with a layer of gravel or mineral granules. BUR roofs provide excellent protection against UV rays, weathering, and punctures. They are durable and have a long lifespan but can be heavy and require professional installation.

2. Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified Bitumen Roofing is a modern version of BUR roofs. It is made of asphalt or coal tar bitumen reinforced with polyester or fiberglass materials. Modified bitumen roofs are available in rolls, typically applied with heat or adhesives. They offer enhanced durability, flexibility, and resistance to extreme temperatures. Modified bitumen roofs are easy to repair and maintain.

3. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) Roofing

EPDM roofing is a single-ply rubber membrane made from ethylene propylene diene monomer. It is known for its excellent weather resistance, durability, and flexibility. EPDM roofs are available in large sheets that can be mechanically fastened, fully adhered, or ballasted with gravel or pavers. They are cost-effective, easy to install, and require minimal maintenance.

4. Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) Roofing

TPO roofing is a single-ply roofing membrane composed of a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. It offers excellent energy efficiency, UV resistance, and heat-welded seams for durability. TPO roofs can be mechanically attached, fully adhered, or ballasted. They provide a lightweight, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly roofing solution.

5. PVC Roofing

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) roofing is a single-ply membrane made of thermoplastic material. It offers excellent resistance to chemicals, UV rays, and weathering. PVC roofs are installed in large sheets that can be mechanically fastened, fully adhered, or ballasted. They provide good energy efficiency, durability, and ease of maintenance.

6. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing systems, such as standing seam or corrugated metal roofs, are popular for their durability, longevity, and versatility. Metal roofs can be made of steel, aluminum, or copper. They offer excellent resistance to fire, high winds, and extreme weather conditions. Metal roofs are lightweight, energy-efficient, and often recyclable.

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 provide numerous environmental benefits, including energy efficiency, stormwater management, and improved air quality. They require specialized installation and maintenance but offer unique aesthetics and ecological advantages.

8. Solar Roofs

Solar roofs combine roofing materials with photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to generate electricity. They harness solar energy to provide power for the building while serving as a protective roof covering. Solar roofs contribute to energy savings, environmental sustainability, and potential financial incentives through net metering or feed-in tariffs.


The selection of a commercial roof depends on factors such as building structure, climate, budget, durability, maintenance requirements, and energy efficiency goals. 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 building can help determine the most suitable commercial roof type.