Types of Commercial Roofing Materials

Types of Commercial Roofing MaterialsIt can be overwhelming to choose from the many commercial roofing options available if you own a commercial building or are looking to build a new one. What is the best way to choose the right one for your building project? Listed below are some of the most popular types of commercial roofing materials:

  • EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
  • TPO (thermoplastic Polyolefin).
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • Spray polyurethane foam (SPF)
  • Asphalt rolls
  • Acrylic coatings

Continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons these roofing materials offer.


Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing is commonly known as rubber roofing.

An EPDM roof’s greatest advantage is its low price. It is among the most affordable roofing materials. The EPDM roof is easy to install, and it is lightweight so that the roof deck does not need to be reinforced. An EPDM roof of high quality can last up to 20 years.

EPDM roofs are extremely durable and don’t scuff or scratch easily. EPDM roofing material, which is black, is resistant to heat and therefore not easily damaged by ultraviolet rays.


One of the most common types of commercial roofing materials is thermoplastic polyolefin roofing (TPO) is a popular choice, especially for commercial building owners.

TPO roofing is similar to EPDM, but it is also one of the most affordable types of roofing materials. It is usually less expensive than EPDM. TPO’s white color helps to reflect sunlight, reducing heat buildup in your structure.

TPO, like EPDM, is lightweight and can be attached to the roof deck in a variety of ways. It can also fully adhere to the roof deck with adhesives. It can withstand corrosion and break down, it is not prone to mildew or algae growth, and it does not need to be pressure washed.

Heat-welded seams are a better option than using adhesives. TPO is a method of combining plastics into a membrane, which melts together creating a stronger bond between seams. This is huge because roof leaks are mostly caused by seams.


PVC roofing, also known as polyvinyl chloride (or PVC), is made up of two layers of PVC roofing material with polyester acting between them. Additives are added to the layers that make it UV-resistant and flexible. They also prevent curing. It is light, just like EPDM or TPO.

PVC roofing is durable and can last for a long time on a low- or flat-slope roof. PVC roofing is also resistant to water, fire, wind, chemicals, and other hazards. The heat welding process that is used for PVC roofs creates permanent bonds between the roofing sheets and holds the seams together.


Spray polyurethane foam roofs are made of a type of plastic that can transform from liquid to solid in just seconds. It also expands about 30 times when it dries.

SPF roofing is a cost-effective option that will pay off in energy savings and sustainability. Multi-layered SPF systems, such as spray foam coated with layers of premium acrylic roofing coating, have outstanding durability and tensile strength. They also come with a reflective topcoat that reduces energy consumption. An SPF roof can last up to 40 years if it is maintained properly and has regular roof coatings. An SPF roof’s expansion properties allow it to seal off any gaps or crannies effectively, making the roof waterproof and airtight.

SPF, unlike other options, provides insulation to heat and A/C. It is lightweight and self-curbs around protrusions. You can also use it to correct ponding or channel water to drains by spraying more foam where needed.

Asphalt Rolled Roof

Asphalt rolled roofing is often used for buildings with low-slope roofs. It’s made from the same materials as asphalt shingles. Asphalt rolled roofing is a cost-effective roofing option that is easy to install.

Acrylic Roof Coatings

Acrylic coatings are a good alternative to roof replacement for about 80% of roof types. To make a good system, you will need a primer, basecoat, fabric (full roof or just on seams), more fabric base coat to embed it, then a final topcoat. This membrane is seamless and fully adhered and can withstand heavy hail. It is also strong enough to last for as long as TPO or PVC with proper maintenance.

These coating systems can be applied directly to plywood in new construction, even though it’s not yet mainstream. A good roof coating is unmatched in its ability to adhere, waterproof, seal, and be easily removed. One of our founding members actually installed the system in his newly built office.

Acrylic roof coatings can be used for a variety of purposes. They are very durable, reflective, and easy to use. Building owners also get a great balance between cost and performance. Caulk is often all that’s needed for repairs. It is possible to add up to two decades of life to your roof by simply adding a “top coat” layer. If you are interested in putting a new roof on your commercial building contact us today!