Types of Commercial Roofing

Commercial Roofing Columbus GA is an all-encompassing term for designing, constructing, and maintaining a commercial roof. Whether you are looking to replace an existing commercial roof or construct a new one, there is much to consider.


Choosing the right type of roofing can dramatically impact your building’s longevity. This article will cover various types, including single-ply membranes, metal roofs and even the more traditional tar and gravel.

Single-ply membranes are a durable, cost-effective option for commercial roof systems. These lightweight roofing materials offer superior protection against fungus growth, dirt accumulation and other common commercial roof problems. They are also highly resistant to tearing, punctures and the degradation caused by UV rays. Additionally, most single-ply roofing membranes are fire-resistant.

Single ply membranes come in many different styles and colors, making them ideal for all types of buildings. They can be applied as a stand-alone layer, or they can be glued, welded, or heat-welded to layers of insulation. Some types of single-ply roof membranes include TPO, PVC and EPDM.

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer, and is a synthetic rubber that is flexible and durable. It is available in 45 and 60 mil thicknesses, reinforced or non-reinforced, and can be installed fully adhered, mechanically fastened or ballasted. EPDM is highly resistant to ozone exposure, solvents, abrasion and puncture, and can last up to 30 years.

Another benefit of EPDM is that it doesn’t require an additional coating to protect against oil or grease, which makes it a great choice for restaurants and food service facilities. It also has good resistance to water and other chemicals.

TPO stands for thermoplastic polyolefin, and is a type of membrane that is highly flexible and strong. Like EPDM, TPO is resistant to most chemicals and water, and can withstand high temperatures. TPO is also a green roofing material that can provide LEED credits for your building.

Whether you choose TPO, PVC, or EPDM, single-ply membranes are an excellent option for your commercial roof. They can be easily installed by experienced installers, and they are an economical choice for your business’s protection needs.

The installation process for these types of roofs is relatively quick, so you won’t have to worry about disrupting your day-to-day operations while your new commercial roof is being put on. It is important to work with an experienced roofing contractor who can advise you on the best type of single-ply roof for your particular project. This will ensure that the job is done correctly, from tear-off and insulation preparation to final surfacing and everything in between.


Metal roofing is a classic option for commercial projects. Its benefits outweigh its upfront costs, offering a lifespan single-ply membranes can’t match. The tough material is also highly energy efficient and available in many styles and colors. Additionally, this durable roofing is non-porous and can resist mildew, mold, moss, and other growths. It’s highly fire resistant as well, protecting your building and its contents from damage.

Depending on your needs, there are several types of metal roofing systems to consider for your commercial project. The most common options are corrugated and standing seam metal roofs. Corrugated metal is a cost-effective, low maintenance solution, while standing seam roofs provide a modern, sleek aesthetic with the added durability of a raised seam. Both of these systems are suitable for flat and pitched roofs.

Steel is one of the most popular metals for roofs, with options including galvanized and galvalume. It’s ideal for locations with extreme weather conditions, as it can withstand freezing winter temperatures and sweltering summers. Stainless steel provides even greater strength, but it’s more expensive. Another option is copper, which can last up to sixty years and adds a striking visual appeal.

In addition to reducing your roof’s maintenance requirements, metal offers superior thermal insulation. It also has a lower carbon footprint than other roofing materials, and it can be recycled when the time comes to replace it. If you’re concerned about the impact of your commercial building’s carbon footprint, a metal roof may be right for your business.

In addition to these key features, metal is a good choice for curved roofs and canopy installations because it can be fabricated on-site. Additionally, it can be made to withstand high winds. A commercial metal roof should be installed by a professional to ensure it is properly fitted, and it isn’t vulnerable to damage from severe storms. In addition, a commercial metal roof should be grounded properly to reduce the risk of vibrations that could lead to structural problems within your building. These issues are exacerbated by the presence of moisture in the air.


Whether your commercial roof is being remodeled, repaired, or replaced, the material you choose for this crucial structure shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many different types of single-ply membranes to consider, but one that’s growing in popularity is EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer). This durable thermoset rubber roofing membrane has been around for 60 years and offers excellent resistance to UV radiation and acid rain.

It also has good longevity and is easy to maintain, making it a wise choice for low-sloped and flat roofs. However, like most commercial roofs, it can be susceptible to leaks. These can be caused by shrinkage or by the penetration of moisture into areas where flashings, drains, and corners intersect the membrane. It’s also important to note that EPDM is vulnerable to cracking and tearing along seams, so careful installation is crucial to minimize these issues.

Thermoplastic single-ply membranes are also a popular choice for commercial roofs, particularly TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin). These membranes are resistant to UV radiation and ozone damage, as well as water and oil spills. They also have a reflective surface that can significantly cut down on cooling costs for your business. These roofs are also easy to install and maintain, as they can be bonded directly to your existing substrate.

Both PVC and TPO can be seamled using hot air welders, which eliminate the need for chemical sealants. However, when it comes to a new installation, both can be challenging to work with because they are brittle when exposed to sunlight and other harsh weather conditions.

In addition, these systems are also not as resilient as built up or modified bitumen. They’re not recommended for a full roof replacement, but are ideal for retrofits, repairs, and resurfacing.

If you’re in the market for a new commercial roof or want to discuss your options, contact a roofing contractor. They’ll be able to help you select the right material for your business’s unique needs. By evaluating your building’s location, budget, and other factors, a professional will be able to recommend the best roofing solution for you.


Built-up roofing (BUR) systems are a popular option for commercial roofs due to their durability, reliability, and affordability. A tried and true choice, BUR systems are comprised of layers of felt sheets, tar, and gravel. These layers help to provide your building with a sturdy foundation that can withstand severe weather conditions, fires, and other damages.

Commercial roofers install these types of commercial roofing systems using either hot asphalt or cold-applied adhesives to the base of the roof. Next, a layer of felt sheets is affixed to the roof and bitumen or coal tar is applied on top. This layer is then topped with gravel or asphalt to create a solid, durable surface. These layers help to protect your building from water and debris and are redundant in the case of damage because multiple layers provide immediate protection.

These types of commercial roofs also help to keep the heat conductivity between a building and its outside environment low, reducing energy bills. Additionally, a layer of rigid insulation is typically installed to help make this type of commercial roof even more energy efficient.

When properly installed by a trusted and experienced commercial roofing company, these commercial roofs are extremely durable and resistant to fire, extreme weather, and other damages. This makes them a good choice for buildings with a flat or low-sloped roof.

While these roofing systems are incredibly reliable, they do require regular maintenance to maintain their integrity. If you notice open joints, blisters, waves or cracks in the structure of your roof, it’s important to contact a professional as soon as possible to prevent further damage and potential leaks.

No matter what type of roofing system is best for your business, the team at Larry Walty Roofing and Guttering can help. We have the skills, training, and tools to help you with any roofing repairs or installation services you need for your commercial property. For more information about our services, give us a call today!

Mary Donovan