4 Good Roofing Choices For Commercial Applications

by Editor on June 8, 2013


The roof is one of the most important parts of any structure, playing a vital role in sealing the building against the elements and protecting the rest of the building systems. In commercial structures, good roofing is particularly important. A roof failure can be extremely expensive for a commercial property owner, not just in terms of repair costs but also through loss of productivity. Presented here are some of the most common roofing materials used on commercial structures, along with their particular strengths.

Hot Tar

Hot tar roofing is the reliable standby for commercial roofing jobs, especially on flat or low-slope roofs. As the name implies, a hot tar roof is built up by layering liquid tar and weatherproofing mats over the roof structure. This is normally topped with gravel to provide better solar insulation and drainage. While hot tar is one of the most economical ways to finish a commercial roof, it is fairly labor and maintenance intensive, and it is not as durable as some of the more modern alternatives.


EPDM is a synthetic rubber with many industrial applications, including roofing. EPDM roofs are now one of the most common solutions for commercial roofing jobs, especially on low-slope roofs. EPDM is quick and easy to install, and it offers very impressive durability for a membrane-type roof. As property owners become more ecologically conscious, EPDM roofing also offers another significant advantage: It is non-toxic and does not contaminate the rain it collects. This makes it an outstanding choice for “green” buildings where rainwater is harvested and put to use.

TPO (Thermoplastic)

Thermoplastic roofs are becoming popular as a more modern, hi-tech kind of membrane roofing system. (TPO is the brand name of the most common material used for thermoplastic roofing.) Installing TPO roofing is very similar to installing EPDM, and thermoplastic offers a few added benefits. It’s extremely durable and unlike most other synthetic roof surfaces, it’s completely resistant to the UV component of sunlight. This makes it even longer-lasting and reduces its rate of ordinary degradation; properly-maintained TPO roofs will last twenty years or more. The one drawback to TPO at the moment is its relatively high cost, although it’s steadily becoming more affordable.


In contrast to the other materials reviewed here, metal roofing makes an excellent choice for sheathing a pitched roof. As is to be expected, metal is an incredibly durable roofing material, with excellent resistance to damage from the elements. It can also have a strong positive impact on the aesthetic appeal of a commercial building, as it comes in a wide variety of colors and finishes. Metal roofs do require significant investment in terms of up-front costs, but they normally end up being quite economical in the long run, especially when compared to other options for sheathing a pitched roof (e.g. residential-type asphalt shingles).
Making a smart choice when it comes to roofing materials can save a commercial property owner a great deal of money over time. The right balance between economy and reliability will ensure that a commercial building stays protected from the elements and its owner pays no more than is absolutely necessary for that protection.

Many commercial real estate owners are checking out Durolast for environmentally friendly, energy efficient roofing. UltimateRoofingSystems.com, a commercial roofing contractor in San Antonio, helps companies cut costs by setting up eco-friendly and budget conscious roofing.

photo by: Laenulfean

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