3 Commercial Roofing Types: What Are Their Pros and Cons?

There are many commercial roofing systems, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. So, which is most suitable for your building?

In this blog, we examine the strengths and weaknesses of three of the most popular ones to help you choose the right option.

Pros and Cons of Three Popular Commercial Roofing Systems

Here, we examine the properties of three of the most popular commercial roofing systems. Which is right for your property?

1. Flat Roofs


Flat roofs, commonly used in commercial properties owing to their flexibility and durability,  help ensure that they last many years. But, like any material, they have advantages and disadvantages.


  • They’re Affordable to Install and Maintain

Flat roofs are generally priced lower than pitched roofing alternatives. While this difference is mainly due to material cost, other factors make this roofing system more affordable in the long run. For instance, since they’re safer and easier to install, you needn’t worry about overspending on labour and can rest assured knowing the job will be completed faster. Additionally, repairs aren’t expensive.

  • They Reduce Utility Bills

A flat roof can lower your monthly electricity consumption and, in turn, your utility bills. One way it can do this is by allowing space to install solar panels.

Also, reflective membranes or coatings offer insulation that ensures your building remains cool in summer, reducing the need for air conditioning.

  • They’re Easier to Access

If your roof requires upgrades or maintenance, flat roofs are easier and safer to climb on than sloped ones, making their ease of accessibility an added benefit.


  • They’re Susceptible to Water Damage

The absence of sloping makes it easier for water to accumulate on flat roofs. Left unchecked, this can damage your property by degrading the materials used in its construction. This makes it important to ensure there is good drainage in place to get rid of the water quickly and properly.

2. Built-Up Roofs (BUR)


Built-up roofs are reliable and durable, making them well-suited to commercial buildings. They consist of alternate layers of asphalt and fabric that are typically finished using a gravel topcoat.


  • They’re Energy Efficient

A BUR system helps control the temperature within your building through high reflectivity; making it an energy-efficient option. Because the different layers are resistant to heat and UV damage from the sun, you’ll save on energy bills since you won’t employ ventilation and air conditioning as much.

  • They Can Withstand High Foot Traffic

A BUR system stands up well to heavy foot traffic. This ensures ease of maintenance as individuals can easily walk across this kind of roof. Many other roofing materials don’t stand up as well to foot traffic and can crack if workers aren’t careful when performing maintenance tasks like repairing the HVAC system.


  • Split Joints Can Be an Issue

Typically, split or open joints occur when two rolls of the BUR system meet and the seam separates as a result of drying over time. Though this can be patched, in severe cases the roofing will likely need to be replaced for optimal results. However, it’s best to have a roofing contractor assess the situation as they’ll be able to determine whether replacement or repair is the preferred option.

3. Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)


This cost-effective roofing system is thin and light-reflective. Its single-ply membrane typically features a mix of different rubber types, including ethylene-propylene and polypropylene instead of plastic, that covers the roof’s entire surface.


  • They’re Flexible

Available in various colours, including light grey, white, and black, this versatile roofing system can be used on both residential and commercial properties. Though you might think a white roof would reflect heat best, TPO roofing is manufactured to resist the sun’s harmful UV rays regardless of the colour you choose. It’s also easy to shape which ensures a quick and easy installation.

  • They’re Resistant to Many Environmental Factors

Apart from being able to withstand UV rays, TPO roofing is also resistant to a wide range of problems such as corrosion, mildew, mould and dirt buildup.


  • The Thickest Version Isn’t Necessarily the Strongest

It’s a misnomer to think that the thicker the TPO roofing system, the more durable it will be. While many manufacturers offer various thicknesses, in reality, this has no influence on its resilience.

Finding a suitable commercial roofing material doesn’t have to be daunting. The more you know, the better your chances of choosing a suitable material. Simply determine which factors are important to you and which you can do without. But before selecting any material, take local climate, cost, and your building site into consideration to ensure you make the most informed decision.

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