How To Pick The Best Commercial Roofing Material

Having a commercial roof in good condition is an essential part of protecting your building’s interior. When it’s time to pick a new one, what is the best commercial roofing material? Keep the following in mind while weighing your options for a new commercial roof.

Commercial vs. Residential Roofing

Commercial roofs have some notable differences compared to residential roofs. A commercial roof typically has a flat surface or low slope rather than the steep slope residential roofs often have. The materials used for commercial roofs are also highly durable and more suitable for installing on larger buildings compared to residential buildings, which are usually much smaller.

The installation process for commercial roofs is generally more complex than residential roof installation, so it’s important to find roofers with this type of experience. Commercial roofs also have different needs in terms of maintenance, such as having a wider or bigger surface to inspect.


Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is a common type of commercial roof used for buildings with a low slope. These roofs are typically lightweight while providing a high degree of durability. They can also help improve a building’s energy efficiency.

What is the life expectancy of a flat roof? For EPDM roofs, the life expectancy can range from 22 to 35 years. Keep in mind this varies based on different factors, such as whether or not the roof has routine maintenance done.


Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a commercial roofing material with light-reflective properties. This material, which can last for 22 to 30 years on average, is made up of a few different layers. TPO roofs can range from white and other light-colored hues to black.

TPO roofs are designed to resist UV rays, leading to better energy efficiency and a lower risk of wear and tear due to sun exposure. This material is also easy to maintain and install.

Polyiso Single-Ply Roofing Solutions

GenFlex Roofing Systems offers this type of roofing solution for commercial buildings. Polyiso is a cost-effective, energy-efficient type of insulation product which is compatible with GenFlex TPO and EPDM roofs.

Polyiso can last for many decades before needing to be replaced. This insulation product is made to be very durable and offers superior fire resistance. Polyiso has a higher R-value compared to other insulation products, which helps commercial building owners save considerable money on energy costs.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing typically has a few components or layers, including bitumen, surfacing, and ply sheets with organic or fiberglass reinforcement. This type of roof can last between 15 and 30 years on average when it’s well-maintained and properly installed.

Built-up roofing offers a high amount of protection from UV rays and water or moisture damage. These protective qualities help ensure these roofs last longer than other types of commercial roofing materials. This type of commercial roof is also highly resistant to fire.

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen roofs for commercial buildings provide energy savings and a durable material which can withstand freezing temperatures and other outdoor elements. This type of roof can last between 12 and 20 years with regular maintenance.

Modified bitumen roofing is usually lighter in color and can reflect heat. This helps reduce energy costs during the summer months and reduces the risk of excessive wear and tear caused by heat and sun exposure over the years.

Single-Ply Roofing

Single-ply commercial roofing involves the use of wide sheets applied to low-slope buildings. These roofs typically have fewer seams and gaps compared to other types of roofing materials, making them highly effective at reducing the risk of water damage.

Single-ply roofs can last between 20 and 40 years before they need to be replaced. These types of roofs are also typically safer to install, since they do not require the use of torches or other heated materials.

Liquid Applied Membrane

GAF offers a liquid applied membrane for commercial roofs to help them last longer. In fact, roofs can last for around 50 years with recoating from time to time. Liquid applied membranes have different components, including mesh and liquid applied coatings. These roofs are also seamless, lowering the risk of leaks and water damage.

Liquid applied membranes help reduce the risk of damage from storms and other elements as well. With this type of coating, commercial roofs have a lower chance of needing repairs done over the years.

If you need new commercial roofing, please contact Midwest Roofing, Siding & Windows to learn more about services. We provide high-quality commercial roofing services in the Twin Cities area, including installations and maintenance to keep your new roof in excellent shape. Our team of experienced roofers can help you choose the best option for your new commercial roof.

Scroll to Top