All You Need to Know About Commercial Roofing

When protecting your commercial property, the right roofing system is crucial. With numerous options available, making the right decision can be overwhelming. But fear not! This comprehensive guide will explore various commercial roofing systems and materials, discuss the importance of proper installation and maintenance, and provide tips on choosing the perfect roofing solution for your building’s unique needs and requirements.

Short Summary

  • Comprehensive knowledge of commercial roofing systems and their benefits is essential for successful projects.

  • Different materials, including single-ply membranes, metal roofs, green roofs & built-up options, offer unique advantages to suit any building design.

  • Factors such as cost, material type and maintenance should be considered when selecting the right system for your property.

A picture of a commercial roofing project with workers installing a roofing system

Understanding Commercial Roofing Systems

Commercial roofing systems come in various forms, each with its unique benefits and considerations. Some common types of commercial roofing systems include:

  • Single-ply membranes

  • Metal roofing solutions

  • Green roofing options

  • Built-up roofing

Understanding the differences between these systems is vital when embarking on a commercial roofing project.

Considering building requirements, climate, and aesthetics is essential when deciding on the best roofing system for your property.

Single-Ply Membranes

Single-ply membranes, such as PVC, TPO, and EPDM, are famous for commercial roofs due to their durability, flexibility, and ease of installation. PVC and TPO roofs, known as thermoplastic roof membranes, are especially suitable for restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that generate oils from their ventilation systems, thanks to their resistance to UV rays, punctures, chemicals, and bacterial growth. Their high reflectivity also helps reduce energy costs.

On the other hand, EPDM roofing is a thermoset roofing system composed of a single-ply rubber material. Its resistance to ozone, ultraviolet light, certain solvents, acids, and alcohol, combined with its low-temperature flexibility and reflective properties, make EPDM a popular choice among commercial property owners seeking energy efficiency and long-lasting performance.

Metal Roofing Solutions

Metal roofing solutions offer the following benefits for commercial buildings:

  • Long-lasting protection

  • Fire resistance

  • Variety of material options

  • Highly durable and resistant to various weather conditions

  • Can be provided in different types and styles of panels and shingles

This makes metal roofing suitable for both residential properties and commercial buildings.

The advantages of using metal for commercial roofing applications include:

  • Durability

  • Weather-resistance

  • Fire-resistance

  • Versatility

Metal roofing systems can withstand high winds, hail, and even fire, providing peace of mind and long-term protection for any commercial property. Various metal materials and styles allow for customizable aesthetics to suit any building design.

Green Roofing Options

For those seeking an eco-friendly option, green roofing systems provide environmental benefits, improved energy efficiency, and enhanced aesthetics for commercial properties. These sustainable roofing options can help address water and drainage issues, reduce energy costs, and provide an attractive, environmentally conscious solution.

Green roofs typically consist of layers of:

  • Waterproofing

  • Insulation

  • Growing medium

  • Vegetation

They can help reduce the urban heat island effect, filter pollutants, and even provide additional green space for employees or clients.

By choosing a green roofing system, you can demonstrate your commitment to sustainability while reaping the benefits of improved efficiency and aesthetics.

Modified Bitumen and Built-Up Roofing

Modified bitumen and built-up roofing systems may be the perfect choice if you’re considering a time-tested option for your commercial roof. Both systems offer multiple layers of protection and durability, making them ideal for commercial properties that require long-lasting roofing solutions.

Built-up roofing (BUR) is a traditional system employed on flat roofs, including insulation board, tar or asphalt layers alternating with roofing felt, and gravel as the topmost layer. Modified bitumen, on the other hand, is a type of asphalt-based material topped with a mineral coating. These flat roofing systems are known for low maintenance, enhanced tensile strength, and suitability for commercial flat roof applications.

A picture of a commercial roof with workers inspecting and maintaining it

The Commercial Roofing Process

A successful commercial roofing project involves:

  • Selecting a reliable contractor

  • Understanding the installation techniques suitable for your chosen roofing system

  • Ensuring proper inspection and maintenance

Working with a dependable contractor can help ensure the project is completed on time, within budget, and with minimal disruption to your daily operations.

Selecting a Reliable Contractor

Choosing a reliable contractor is crucial for successful commercial roofing projects. To evaluate potential contractors, consider their experience, qualifications, and certifications. Request references and review online reviews to ascertain the contractor’s experience and work quality. When speaking to references, inquire about the contractor’s communication, punctuality, and overall performance.

Safety should also be a top priority when selecting a contractor. Ensure the contractor follows safety protocols, has the necessary insurance, and complies with the latest safety regulations. By thoroughly vetting potential contractors, you can have confidence in knowing your commercial roofing project is in capable hands.

MD Roofing & Sheet Metal

MD Roofing & Sheet Metal is a trusted provider of commercial roofing services, offering expertise in various roofing systems and materials. Our team has experience in installation, maintenance and emergency roof repair since 2007 in Calgary, 2014 in Edmonton and 2021 in Vancouver. They are highly competent and well-equipped to fulfill your commercial roofing needs.

MD Roofing & Sheet Metal has a wealth of experience and prioritizes safety by developing and maintaining industry-leading safety initiatives that comply with Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Their commitment to safety and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau makes them a top choice for your commercial roofing project.

Installation Techniques

Proper installation is essential for any commercial roofing system’s long-term performance and durability. Various installation techniques are available, such as:

  • Fully adhered

  • Mechanically attached

  • Heat welded

  • Self-adhesive membranes

The choice of technique will depend on the chosen roofing system and its specific requirements.

For example, there are several techniques for installing roofing membranes.

  1. Fully adhered technique: affixing a membrane directly to the substrate using an adhesive.

  2. Mechanically attached technique: requires the use of fasteners.

  3. Heat welding: using heat to weld the membrane onto the substrate.

  4. Self-adhesive membranes: applying a self-adhesive membrane directly to the substrate.

Understanding the appropriate installation technique for your chosen roofing system will help ensure its longevity and effectiveness.

Inspection and Maintenance

Regular inspection and maintenance of commercial roofs are vital to prevent damage, extend the roof’s lifespan, and ensure optimal performance. A thorough examination of a commercial roofing system should include the inspection of the following:

  • Roof membranes

  • Decking

  • Vents

  • Flashing

  • Gutters

  • Downspouts

  • Drainage pipes

All these components are integral to the roof and must be carefully inspected to ensure proper functioning. By identifying issues early on, you can save on repair costs, increase the roof’s longevity, and avoid repair-related inconveniences.

In addition to regular inspections, proper maintenance is crucial for the long-term success of your commercial roofing project. Engaging professionals for commercial roof repairs and replacement is essential to safeguard the building and its contents from weather damage and ensure the project’s success. By prioritizing inspection and maintenance, you can protect your investment and enjoy the benefits of a high-performing commercial roof.

A picture of a pitched, flat, and low-sloped roof

Costs and Life Expectancy of Commercial Roofs

Commercial roofs’ cost and life expectancy depend on materials, installation, and maintenance. Different roofing systems offer varying lifespans, with some lasting up to 50 years or more.

By understanding the factors influencing commercial roofs’ cost and life expectancy, you can make informed decisions and select the roofing system that best meets your needs and budget.

Factors Influencing Cost

Several factors can influence the cost of commercial roofing, including:

  • Roof size and dimensions

  • Extent of damage

  • Roofing material

  • Roof slope

  • Quality of materials

  • Tear-off or overlay

  • Roof protrusions

  • Roof access

  • Inspections

  • Permits

For example, larger roofs require more materials and labour, while roofs with greater slopes may necessitate additional supplies and expertise.

The type of roofing material used also plays a significant role in determining the cost of a commercial roofing project. Materials such as single-ply membranes, metal, and built-up roofing systems vary in price, with more durable materials often carrying a higher initial cost. However, the long-term advantages of these materials, such as reduced maintenance and increased lifespan, may offset the initial expense.

Life Expectancy of Different Roofing Systems

The life expectancy of different roofing systems varies greatly, with some materials and systems lasting much longer than others. For example, single-ply membranes like EPDM can last approximately 30 years, while metal roofing solutions can last 40 to 70 years, depending on the material used.

Proper maintenance plays a significant role in extending the lifespan of a commercial roof. Regular inspections and timely repairs can help identify potential issues early on, preventing costly damage and ensuring the roof performs optimally for years.

By considering the life expectancy of various roofing systems and the role of proper maintenance, you can make informed decisions when selecting the best roofing solution for your commercial property.

A picture of a commercial roofing project with workers installing different materials

Popular Commercial Roofing Styles and Materials

Commercial buildings can feature a variety of roofing styles and materials to suit different building requirements and aesthetics. From pitched, flat, and low-sloped roofs to an array of materials like single-ply membranes, metal, and green roofing systems, understanding the advantages and considerations of each style and material can help you make the best decision for your commercial roofing project. One popular option for commercial buildings is commercial flat roofs, which offer a range of benefits and can be tailored to suit specific needs.

When selecting a roofing system, it is important to consider the climate, building use, and other factors.

Pitched, Flat, and Low-Sloped Roofs

Commercial buildings can feature pitched, flat, or low-sloped roofs, each with unique benefits and considerations for materials and installation. Pitched roofs boast increased durability and longevity compared to flat roofs, improved water and snow-shedding capabilities and enhanced insulation. However, pitched roofs typically require additional materials and labour for installation, making them more costly than flat roofs. They also necessitate more upkeep and can be difficult to access for repairs.

Flat roofs, however, are more cost-effective and easier to maintain. They effectively utilize space, making them a popular choice for commercial properties. However, flat roofs can be less resilient than pitched roofs and may be more susceptible to leaking. Proper maintenance and material selection can help mitigate these issues and ensure the longevity of a flat roof.

Low-sloped roofs offer a compromise between pitched and flat roofs, providing:

  • Increased insulation compared to flat roofs

  • A simpler, more cost-effective installation than pitched roofs

  • Less upkeep than pitched roofs

  • Less susceptibility to leaks than flat roofs

However, they do not offer the same level of insulation as pitched roofs and can be challenging to keep cool in warmer climates.

A picture of a residential property with workers constructing a new roof

Common Roofing Materials

When selecting the right roofing material for your commercial building, it’s essential to consider the various options available. Common roofing materials for commercial buildings include:

  • Single-ply membranes like PVC, TPO, and EPDM

  • Metal roofing solutions such as steel, aluminum, and copper

  • Green roofing systems that utilize vegetation and other sustainable materials

  • Built-up roofing options that incorporate layers of asphalt and reinforcing fabrics

Each material offers its benefits and considerations, with factors such as durability, longevity, and maintenance requirements playing a significant role in determining the best choice for your commercial property. By understanding the advantages and limitations of each material, you can make an informed decision and select the ideal roofing solution for your building’s specific needs.

Process of preparing a roof

Tips for Choosing the Right Commercial Roofing System

To choose the right commercial roofing system for your property, assessing your building’s requirements, considering your budget and desired longevity, and selecting the best materials and design for your specific needs is essential.

Considering these factors, you can ensure the chosen roofing system provides the best value and performance for your investment.

Assessing Building Requirements

Assessing the building requirements of your commercial property is crucial for selecting the right roofing system. Factors to consider include the structural support needed, the insulation requirements of your building, and the desired visual appeal of your roof. These factors can help determine which roofing system best suits your building’s needs and requirements.

For example, a building located in a colder climate may require a roofing system with enhanced insulation. In contrast, a building in a hurricane-prone area may need a roofing system designed to withstand high winds. Similarly, a restaurant with a rooftop patio may benefit from a green roofing system that provides additional green space and a visually appealing environment for customers.

Considering Budget and Longevity

Budget and longevity are important factors when choosing a commercial roofing system. The roofing system’s cost, the roof’s anticipated life span, and the cost of maintenance and repairs should all be considered when deciding.

While more durable materials and systems may have a higher initial cost, they can provide greater longevity and require less maintenance, potentially offsetting the initial expense. On the other hand, less expensive materials and systems may have a shorter lifespan and require more frequent repairs, ultimately costing more in the long run.

By carefully considering your budget and desired longevity, you can select the roofing system with the best value and performance for your investment.


In conclusion, choosing the right commercial roofing system is a critical decision that can significantly impact your property’s overall performance, durability, and value. By understanding the various types of commercial roofing systems and materials, assessing your building’s requirements, considering budget and longevity, and working with a reliable contractor, you can ensure the success of your commercial roofing project. With the right system, you can protect your investment, enjoy the benefits of a high-performing commercial roof, and focus on what matters most – running your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best roof for a commercial building?

Metal roofing is a great option for commercial buildings, as it is durable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient. Other popular roof types include built-up, modified bitumen, and single-ply roofing.

Each offers excellent protection and can be tailored to fit various needs.

What is the most common commercial roof style?

Steel Metal Roofing is the most common commercial roof style, as it is a cost-effective and efficient material used on commercial buildings.

What is best for a commercial flat roof?

EPDM roofing is a reliable and durable choice for commercial flat roofs. It is made from industrial-grade synthetic rubber and expands and contracts with temperature changes. It also resists ultraviolet light, making it an excellent choice for outdoor applications.

EPDM roofing is easy to install and maintain, and it can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance.

What is the meaning of commercial roofing?

Commercial roofing is installing a roof to protect businesses, warehouses, and other large commercial structures from weather elements like snow and rain.

It is important to ensure that the roof is properly installed and maintained to ensure that it can withstand the elements and provide the necessary protection. The materials used for commercial roofing must be of high quality and withstand the elements.

What is the difference between single-ply membranes and metal roofing solutions?

Single-ply membranes are lightweight and flexible roofing materials, while metal roofing solutions offer long-lasting protection and fire resistance.

These two materials have different advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider your needs before deciding. For example, single-ply membranes are more affordable and easier to install but may not last as long.