Discover the Pros and Cons of various commercial roof Types (and Which One Is Best for Your Commercial Property)

Roofing Contractor’s 2019 State of the Industry Report found that the demand for commercial roofing projects is rising. Roofing professionals expect to take at least 1.6% more commercial jobs over the next few years. And these jobs could be worth up to $8 billion. 

If you’re preparing for a commercial building roof installation or repair, you’re obviously not alone. Yet, with all the materials to consider and commercial roof types to decide on, you may feel like you are. That’s why we decided to create this guide. 

Today, we’re walking you through the top commercial roof types and material in the industry. We’ll discuss these products’ pros and cons to help you make the most informed purchase possible.

Are you ready to dive in? Let’s get started with one of our most requested commercial roofing materials: thermoplastic polyolefin.

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

TPO roofs are arguably the most common of commercial roof types and material used today. Most TPO brands offer extended warranties, lasting anywhere from ten to thirty-five years.

TPO itself is a white rubber compound known as a polymer/filler blend. Its single-ply recyclable membrane comes in multiple thicknesses. Installation experts install this commercial material by either gluing the TPO or mechanically attaching it to the roof.

Here are the pros and cons you need to consider before getting your TPO commercial roof installed. 


  • TPO is an affordable material
  • TPO is attractive
  • TPO is recyclable
  • TPO is durable and long-lasting
  • TPO is easy to install
  • White TPO roofs reflect heat, which may help reduce your building’s electricity usage


  • TPO is a polymer, meaning it will shrink with time
  • TPO is susceptible to tearing and puncturing, especially during bad weather
  • TPO is known to cause leaks, especially during bad weather

Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM)

EPDM is another rubber material made from propylene and ethylene. Unlike TPO, though, this roofing material is synthetic. EPDM comes in black or white, multiple thicknesses, and widths varying from ten feet to fifty feet. 

Depending on the thickness you want, your EPDM roofing will come with a ten to thirty-year warranty. You may never need it, though, since EPDM roofing installers use liquid adhesives and specialty tapes to offer the ultimate sealant against bad weather. 

Think EPDM is the right commercial roofing material for your property or business? Check out these pros and cons before making your final decision.


  • EPDM is an affordable material
  • EPDM is easy to install
  • EPDM is resistant to bad weather, including hail storms
  • EPDM is highly flexible and durable
  • EPDM is recyclable


  • EPDM must be installed during dry weather
  • EPDM adhesives may weaken over time due to UV exposure
  • EPDM roofing won’t work for asphalt roofs
  • Black EPDM roofing materials attract heat, which may increase your building’s energy bill

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC was the very first polymer material used in commercial roofing. That means you can rest assured this roofing material is tried and true. PVC roofing is made up of double layers of single-ply PVC with a layer of polyester sandwiched in between.

The most attractive feature of PVC roofs is their lifespan. In one study, researchers found that zero out of forty-four PVC roofs aged nine to thirty-four years required repairs. Even if your commercial building sits in a bad weather zone, get peace of mind with a 5–35 year warranty.

If you’re sold on PVC, here are the pros and cons you need to know before you buy.


  • PVC is flexible and durable, including during bad weather
  • PVC roofs aren’t susceptible to damage from UV exposure
  • PVC is chemical, oil, and grease-resistant
  • PVC roofing comes in multiple colors to customize the look of your commercial roof
  • PVC is easy to clean
  • PVC is extremely reflective, which may help lower your energy consumption


  • PVC roofing is expensive
  • PVC shrinks with time
  • PVC doesn’t work well with asphalt roofing and may age faster if installed on an asphalt roof

Standing Seam Metal

Metal roofs used to be the gold-standard in commercial roofing before this rise of single-ply polymers. Commercial roofing can be made of nearly any metal, including stainless steel, aluminum, zinc, copper, or a combination of these.

The most popular kind of metal roof is one made of galvanized steel. These roofs are extremely hardy, often lasting longer than their 30-year warranties before they need to be replaced or repaired. 

Sound good? Then keep reading for the top pros and cons of a commercial metal roof. 


  • Metal roofs have lower total costs of ownership 
  • Metal requires little to no maintenance
  • Metal roofing is almost entirely customizable, from the metal type to the color of the corrosion-proof coating
  • Metal is sustainable because it’s carbon-free
  • Metal can reflect heat, making for lower electricity consumption


  • Metal requires professional expertise and, therefore, a higher price to install
  • Metal dents, especially during bad weather
  • Metal roofs aren’t ideal for commercial buildings near saltwater due to corrosion
  • Metal roofs can be noisy, especially during bad weather
  • Metal can leak if your roof isn’t installed the right way 

Absolute Roofing Services Installs These Commercial Roofs

Plastic and metal are the most common roof types for commercial buildings. Metal used to be the most common type of industrial roof. These days, though, PVC and TPO roofs are giving metal roofing a run for its money. 

Are you searching for a professional roofing company to install one of these commercial roofing materials on your building? You’ve come to the right place. Call us today to request a quote for your commercial building project. 

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