What Are the Different Types of Commercial Roofs?

There are many types of roofs for commercial buildings, and it’s hard to know exactly which one is right for your facility. From the structure of your building to the weather in your region, there are several factors that determine what kind of roof makes the most sense for you. That’s why C.I. Services is committed to helping our clients not only choose the right roof for their building, but replace, install, and maintain whatever roofing solution they ultimately go with. In this blog, we’ll talk about the different types of commercial roofs available for facilities, as well as the pros and cons of each. We’ll also discuss how to repair and replace your commercial roof.

Roofing 101: Choosing the Right Roof

Don’t let the wide range of options get you confused. Finding the right roof for your building isn’t as hard when you have quality information in front of you. The most important distinction you need to make as a consumer is the types of roofing and the different materials that they can be made out of. The most common types are:

Commercial Low-Sloped Roofs

In the diverse and unique building designs of commercial and industrial flat roofs are many cost-effective options for roof choices. They can be constructed from any number of different system types, including: TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), EPDM (ethylene propylene diene methylene), regular and modified bitumen, and BUR (built-up roofing). Some commercial / Industrial flat roof systems can reduce energy waste and help keep building interiors cooler. Low slope roof construction design can optimize storage for HVAC units, and simplify maintenance and drain cleaning processes. If designed with proper slope, they will provide excellent water drainage.

Commercial low-sloped roofs also allow safer working conditions for workers, and are often found on top of factories, apartment complexes, warehouses, and other industrial buildings. They can also provide excellent “day-lighting” to the building’s interior when proper skylight installations are installed on the roof system.

Commercial Metal Roofs 

Structural metal roof systems on industrial buildings are very common and when properly installed can provide long-term lifespans for the building. Metal roofs provide optimal protection, eco-friendly retrofitting processes, and simple re-roofing.

What About the Materials?

As mentioned above, there are different types of materials used for various roof models. In this blog, we’ll talk about the three main flat roof materials: TPO, PVC, and EPDM.


One of the more commonly used single-ply roofing materials, TPO is frequently chosen because of its durability, flexibility, and customizability for simple fabrication. It also boasts the ability to reflect heat away from the building thanks to its color membrane.


If you’re looking for a material that offers maximum longevity without compromising performance, PVC might be the perfect option. PVC roofing’s fire-resistant properties and optimal durability make it a good choice for facility owners looking to increase the strength of their roof without decreasing energy efficiency.


EPDM roofs have a highly durable protective layer of rubber and are a solid solution for cooler climates. However, they don’t stand up as well to hot weather (the membrane shrinks as the temperature rises), and adhesives and seams can degrade over time.

What About Commercial Flat Roof Repair and Replacement?

Your commercial roof is always exposed to the elements, so it may sustain some damage over time. But how do you know whether it’s been damaged? Single-ply membranes like EPDM and TPO often sustain wear and tear at their seams. They also have ponding water in the middle of their membranes when they take on damage. If you see these signs on your flat membrane roof, reach out to your roofing contractor to schedule repairs.

How can you tell whether your roof needs repairs or a full replacement? Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your roof’s repairs cost at least half as much as a new roof installation, it’s time to replace your roof. Also, if you’re not sure whether your roof needs repairs or replacement, discuss its lifespan with your contractor. Flat roof membranes have the following lifespans:

  • EPDM: 20 to 30 years
  • TPO: 15 to 30 years
  • PVC: 15 to 30 years

If it’s anywhere in those ranges, talk to your contractor about how to replace your flat roof. Also, consider how well you’ve maintained your roof over the years. If it hasn’t had regular maintenance, your roof may need a replacement sooner rather than later. Talk to your contractor about these factors to determine what your options are.

How Does C.I. Services Help You With Commercial Roof Repairs and Replacement?

We offer repair and replacement services for commercial and industrial roofs, and we have the expertise to help you determine which services you need. If you need repairs, we handle everything from standing water to frayed seams. If you need a replacement, we help you choose between different flat roof options, then install it for you.

Which Type of Roof is Right for You?

It all comes down to your specific environment. Just because your competitors use one solution doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the right fit for your commercial facility. That’s why you need an expert. For your next commercial roofing system, choose a provider that you can count on every step of the way, from installation to ongoing repairs, maintenance, and replacement. At C.I. Services, we don’t believe in prescribing one-size-fits-all solutions for your roof. We want to help your facility achieve peak efficiency on your terms. For more information on how our team of commercial roofing experts can maximize the performance of your facility, reach out to C.I. Services today.


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