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8 Different Types of Commercial Roofing Systems

Choosing the right commercial roofing types can be a daunting process for a new property manager due to the variety of options available—each with their unique pros and cons. 

This article will help to clarify all the different types of commercial roofing systems, as we touch upon their materials, durability, and standard warranties—so you can make a better informed choice when it comes to your commercial roofing project. 

For long-term roofing, you want a system that provides:

  • Energy efficiency 
  • Durability
  • Aesthetic value
  • Insulation

Check out these 8 different types of commercial roofing systems to determine which might be best for your property. 

Metal Roof Systems

building with metal commercial roof

Metal roofing systems are a popular choice among commercial roofing materials due to their durability and longevity. This type of roofing material offers robust protection against all types of weather-related wear and tear, making it an excellent investment for businesses seeking long-term solutions. 

While all roofs degrade with time, high-quality metal roofing systems can protect commercial buildings for upwards of 50 years. 

Manufacturers may offer extended warranties on a metal commercial roof because they’re confident in the product’s capability to withstand harsh elements without compromising its structural integrity. Metal roofs also contribute towards energy efficiency by reflecting the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them, potentially lowering cooling costs during warm months.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR) Membrane

Constructed with multiple layers, Built-Up Roofing (BUR) Membrane is a robust choice for commercial properties. This roofing system consists of alternating layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics that create a finished membrane.

A top layer of smooth asphalt or gravel is applied to protect the layers from weather damage and sunlight.

It offers excellent waterproofing features, making it perfect for flat roofs where water accumulation can be an issue–it is a great option for commercial flat roofs or low sloped roofs. BUR ensures a seamless, insulated roof that can resist high winds and drastic temperature changes.

Spray Polyurethane Foam Roofing

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) roofing is a popular choice for commercial buildings due to its durability and energy efficiency. It involves spraying a mixture of liquid polyurethane foam onto the roof, which then expands and hardens to create a seamless, waterproof barrier.

This type of roofing provides excellent insulation properties, helping to reduce heating and cooling costs. SPF roofing also offers resistance against UV rays, leaks, and even hail damage. Additionally, it can be applied over existing roofs without the need for expensive tear-offs or replacements.

Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

commercial building with PVC roofing material for protection

Single-ply membrane roofing is a popular choice for commercial roofs due to its lightweight and flexible nature. Made from PVC, TPO, or EPDM roofing material, this type of roofing provides excellent durability and weather resistance.

Its installation process is relatively fast and straightforward, making it a preferred option for many building owners.

Single-ply membrane roofing is a popular commercial roofing system known for its lightweight and flexible nature. This type of roofing is made from PVC, TPO, or EPDM materials, which are extremely durable yet still allow for easy installation.

The lightweight nature of these membranes makes them ideal for retrofitting projects and can minimize the structural load on buildings. Additionally, their flexibility allows them to conform to various roof shapes and sizes, ensuring a seamless and watertight installation.

PVC, TPO, or EPDM materials

PVC, TPO, and EPDM roofing are three common commercial roofing materials used in single-ply membrane roofing systems. These materials offer several benefits that make them a popular choice for a commercial building. Firstly, they are lightweight and flexible, which makes installation easier and more efficient.

Additionally, PVC roofing, TPO roofing, and EPDM roofing membrane are known for their durability and longevity. They can withstand harsh weather conditions without cracking or deteriorating over time.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing is an asphalt-based system with added modifiers that enhance its durability and flexibility as commercial roofing material. It provides excellent protection against weather elements and can withstand temperature changes without cracking or splitting.

With its strong adhesion properties, modified bitumen roofing is ideal for low slope roofs that require long-lasting performance.

Asphalt-based with added modifiers

Modified bitumen roofing is a popular choice for commercial buildings due to its durability and flexibility. This type of roofing system is asphalt-based and includes added modifiers that enhance its performance.

These modifiers can include materials like rubber or plastic, which improve the roof’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures and resist damage from UV rays. The modified bitumen membrane consists of multiple layers, including a base sheet and cap sheet, which provide excellent waterproofing properties.

Silicone Roof Coating Systems

Silicone roof coating systems are a popular choice for commercial buildings due to their durability and flexibility. These coatings can be applied directly over an existing commercial roof, providing a waterproof barrier that protects against leaks and extends the lifespan of the roof.

The silicone material offers excellent UV resistance, preventing damage from the sun’s rays. Additionally, these coatings are seamless and highly reflective, reducing energy costs by keeping the building cooler in hot climates.

Shingle Roofing

asphalt shingle roof on an apartment building

Shingle roofing is one of the most common and popular types of commercial roofing systems and residential roofing systems. Shingles are thin, flat pieces that are laid in overlapping rows to create a protective layer on the roof.

They come in different materials such as asphalt, wood, metal, or slate, each offering its own advantages.

Asphalt shingles are the most widely used type due to their durability and affordability. They are available in a variety of colors and styles to suit any aesthetic preference. Wood shingles provide a more natural look but require additional maintenance for longevity.

Metal shingles offer excellent durability and energy efficiency, while slate shingles provide unmatched beauty and longevity.

Shingle roofs can be easily installed by professional contractors with experience in this specific commercial roof system. Regular maintenance is essential to prolonging the lifespan of your shingle roof and ensuring it remains watertight and secure.

With proper care, a well-installed shingle roof can last for several decades before needing replacement or major repairs.


Understanding the different types of commercial roofing systems is crucial for any business owner or property manager when deciding upon a new roof system or when it comes time to replace an existing roof. 

‘Green roofing’ options promote sustainability. Spray polyurethane foam roofing provides seamless insulation and protection against leaks, while single-ply membrane roofing is lightweight and flexible—using PVC, TPO, or EPDM materials for longevity. Conversely, silicone roof coating systems offer excellent weather resistance and can extend the lifespan of a roof.

Shingle roofing is the most obvious and popular choice for apartment buildings, residential roofs, and commercial property installation—due to its affordability and versatility in design options. When installed properly, such as by our experts at Anchor Point Roofing, you can be sure that even a shingle roof will protect your commercial property for decades. 

Anchor Point offers Lifetime Warranties on our roofing products—because we know they’ll last—and we have flexible financial options for any budget. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for your free consultation and quote. 

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