Commercial Roofing Materials Explained

Posted on: 30 May 2018


Do you own a commercial building? Are you at a loss about what type of roof to install? Below, you'll find information on the most commonly used roofing materials to help you decide.


Built-Up roofing membrane is a low-slope roof made of layers of tar or asphalt on saturated asphalt paper and topped with gravel.  The gravel offers protection against UV rays.

It is durable and can last up to 50 years. It's applied in multiple layers according to need. The more layers you apply, the longer it is likely to last. Some roofers will put as many as 20 layers while others will settle for 3-5 layers.

Modified Bitumen Membrane

This roof is made of bitumen laid out on roofing fabric, making it rubbery and elastic. That is why it is sometimes referred to as rubber membrane. It is normally added as a single or double-ply layer to roofing decks.

It is highly durable and ideal for flat roofs with heavy traffic. Modified bitumen membranes are versatile, because they don't require a smooth surface. They are also easy to maintain and can last up to 40 years.

Metal Panel Roof

This roof is popular, affordable, and comes in a variety of types and colors. Types include stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized steel, tin, and copper, among others. Metal panel roofs also offer high resistance to fire. They are durable and can last 40-50 years if well maintained.

During installation, you have to make sure you seal overlapping joints and use washers around bolts to make it waterproof. On the downside, metal panel roofs will rust when exposed to the elements over a long period of time.

Thermoset Roof membrane/EPDM

The EPDM is applied as a single-ply membrane. It is versatile and easy to install. It can also withstand cold temperatures, acids, and some chemicals.

It reflects heat; helping to keep the building cooler. However, it only works on smooth surfaces. It is can also easily be punctured by a sharp object.

Thermoplastic Roofing

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and PVC are examples of thermoplastic roofing. They offer protection against animal fats, oils, acids, chemicals, and UV rays. They can withstand high temperatures and offer good resistance to fires. They are ideal for restaurants.

Your roof bears the brunt of extreme weather, including heat, rain, snow, and storms. You want to make sure it can withstand the elements, is durable, and is affordable. It also needs to match your type of business. Finally, you have to ensure it is properly installed by a competent roofing expert. Contact a company like Prime Building & Construction for more information.