Modern commercial buildings are incredibly complex due to the many systems needed to keep them running. These systems are crucial for the daily operations of the businesses and must be in excellent working order. However, it is challenging because many vulnerable parts of the building could become a source of an issue. One of the most vulnerable is the roof. For this reason, many commercial structures take the necessary measures to protect their roofs. Installing roof hatches for maintenance is an excellent decision. Still, the most challenging consideration is the type and the material utilized in its construction.

These are some things most commercial buildings use for their roofs:

Roofing Types

Learning about various commercial roofing types, classifications, and materials lets you understand what it takes to build a decent commercial roof. Commercial buildings typically have two roofs: flat or low slope, and specific historic structures, such as churches, have steep inclines. The pitch of your commercial roof will assist your roofing contractor in evaluating which materials are best for installation. Another important factor to remember is that the surrounding environment, weather conditions, and external elements like wildlife and foliage will affect your roof’s integrity.

Roofing Classifications

Below describes the classification of the roofings

Green Roofing


Green roofs are the most adaptable type of commercial roof available today. They have not only grown in popularity in recent years, but they also offer a completely sustainable choice for commercial properties and companies. Green roofing solutions benefit from shielding business buildings from the weather while controlling water and runoff and increasing energy efficiency. They’re stunning and represent a significant step toward creating a more eco-friendly commercial facility.

Thermoset Roof Membrane

Thermoset roof membrane

Thermoset roof systems, also called ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) roofing, provide long-term durability and versatility. Compared to many other commercial roofing kinds, it’s straightforward to maintain and fix. The standard material for EPDM roofs is single-ply rubber material resistant to ultraviolet radiation and ozone, making them an excellent choice for lowering energy expenditures.

Metal Roofing

Since many metal materials are accessible in many roofing systems, it has become a popular choice, especially for those who need flexibility in style. Metal roofs also offer higher fire resistance ratings and are more challenging and robust than other commercial roofing materials. They also aid in creating a more sustainable construction for your structure.

Metal roofs have protective outer layers to prevent damage from extended sunlight exposure and other environmental threats. Metal roofing also benefits getting a polished, attractive appearance, but when money and longevity are the most critical factors, choosing the best suitable choice for your setting is preferable.

Here’s a list of standard metal roofing materials available:

  • Corrugated galvanized steel
  • Metal tile sheets
  • Aggregates of zinc, aluminum, and silicon-coated steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Stone-coated steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Lead
  • Tin

Built-up Roofing Membrane

Built-up roofing, often known as BUR, is the most prevalent low-slope roofing material. This material comes from alternating layers of bitumen or asphalt and reinforcing fabric, with an upper coating of aggregate like gravel or stone. Since it forms a uniform sealed surface, BUR is ideal for flat or low-sloped roofs. On the other hand, roof shingles do not have any seals and demand a very high roof slope to shed water adequately.

It is a versatile commercial roofing system because you can adjust the layers to minimize costs or satisfy specific durability requirements. It’s a classic low-slope roof design that’s still one of the most robust roofing options accessible today.

Modified Bitumen Roofing


Contractors have been using built-up roofing systems (BUR) on low-slope roofs for over 100 years and consider modified bitumen their evolutionary relative. It has a composition of polymerized rubber or plastic, asphalt, and fiberglass to make a tough-yet-flexible waterproof membrane. You can typically use modified bitumen roofing on flat commercial roofs or have a low slope. You can install these membranes as two-layer or multi-ply systems based on the kind and material.

Modified bitumen roofs are easy to maintain through annual scheduled inspections and cleaning. They have higher tensile strength than other flat roof types that get a lot of foot traffic. Modified bitumen may be suitable if you expect a lot of movement on your commercial building’s roof.

Thermoplastic Roof Membrane

Thermoplastic Roof Membrane

The Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) is a single-ply roofing membrane that has become one of the most popular commercial roofing systems. TPO roofing systems are flat roof coverings made of a layer of reinforcing and synthetics scrim. The membranes are available in sheets of 10, 12, or 20 feet in width. After that, the manufacturers wrap the sheets up and transport them to the commercial facility.

The unique reflective surface of TPO gained the industry’s approval because they recognize it for its ability to reflect UV radiation. TPO accounts for around 40% of the commercial roofing sector, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).

They’re also impervious to abrasions, rips, bacterial development, and most chemicals, including animal fats and oils. Thermoplastic roofs are also suitable for second-generation applications due to their seam robustness. Because of these properties, thermoplastic roof membranes are popular among restaurants and other companies that use ventilation systems that release oils and fats. Other advantages include high-temperature tolerance, as well as fire and wind resistance.

The Takeaway  

You might be planning your building’s roof as you go about the design. It would be best to consider your choices correctly to suit your requirements and tailor the design to your specifications. Only through the aid of an experienced expert can you genuinely be at ease when deciding about the matter.


In case you have any architectural, structural, and MEP design including fire sprinkler design requirements, or need to design your home renovation project including structure, and HVAC design, feel free to contact us.  We provide you with the full permit set design + T24 for your request.


Author’s Bio:

Chris Jackson is an experienced Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry. He is currently employed by Best Access Doors, an access door supplier in the US and Canada.  He has been working for the company for more than 12 years now. His area of expertise is in Negotiation, Roofers, Sales, Project Estimation, and Facility Management (FM)