What Is Commercial Roofing?


The word roofing is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the process of installing and maintaining roofs. But there are several branches within the world of roofing, one of which is commercial roofing. 


Quite simply, commercial roofing deals with the installation, maintenance, and repair of roofs on commercial properties only. It’s closely related to industrial roofing, but it is quite different from residential roofing.


Although all types of roofing are similar, there are a few things that set commercial roofing apart from other types of roof work, mainly residential.

Keep in mind, however, that commercial properties can come in all shapes and sizes, and so it is quite possible for them to look exactly the same as residential projects.

However, there are usually a few things that make them distinct.


One of the more notable differences between commercial and residential roofing is the shape of the roof.

In general, residential properties tend to have sloped roofs, meaning they are built on an angle. Commercial properties more often have flat roofs.

There a number of reasons for this:

  • Easier install — Flat roofs are usually sprayed or rolled on, making for relatively straightforward installation, as compared to sloped roofs which make for a much more hazardous work environment.

  • Better for large areas — The ease of installation makes flat roofs ideal for large buildings.

  • Less expensive — Residential roofs tend to cost less because of the installation, but also because of the materials. But this is not a hard fast rule..

One downside to flat roofs is that drainage is not as straightforward. Unlike sloped roofs, where water and snow run right off, liquid can accumulate on flat roofs.

Therefore, they must be built with just enough slope to allow it to drain. Otherwise, water will collect around the roof and can cause it to degrade faster than it should.


Another key difference between commercial roofing and residential roofing are the materials used.

Again, it’s not impossible for residential materials to be used in commercial applications and vice versa. But, in general, residential roofers rely on asphalt shingles.

These are relatively inexpensive and durable —  an asphalt roof should last you 30+ years —  and they are also fairly simple to install. They can be put on most homes in a day or two.

Another material often used in residential roofing is slate, which is perfect for cold weather. However, this is much more expensive and is usually reserved for smaller homes.

When it comes to commercial roofing, there are many more materials to choose from. A number of factors, from weather to building size, will factor into the decision about which material to use.

The most commonly used materials in commercial roofing include:

  • Modified Bitumen —  A mixture of gravel and tar and rubber, this is probably the most common commercial roofing material out there. It sprays or rolls on, and can be applied quickly and easily. It’s a great option for roofs that get a lot of foot traffic as it can withstand weight.

  • Tpo Roofing — TPO roofing material is also one of the most widely used materials in the commercial roofing industry, and for good reason. The white reflective surface is great for UV reflection and energy retention, and the rubber-like synthetic blend makes it a very durable roofing option. Installation is relatively quick compared to other roofing options, and the material performs very well against foot traffic.

  • EPDM —  A petroleum product, EPDM, also known as Thermoset membrane, is a special type of rubber that is specifically designed to protect against UV rays. It makes a great option for commercial roofs in hot climates. It can also be applied with a reflecting material, which will help keep the building cool. The one downside is that it is more expensive than modified bitumen and it does not hold up well to foot traffic.

  • PVC —  Another option if you need something more durable than modified bitumen is PVC. In addition to being fully waterproof and fire resistant, the big advantage to PVC is that it can be welded to metal. This makes it easier to fix around odd shapes and fixtures on your roof, making it a good option for more industrial properties where there may be lots of vents and fans built into the roof.

  • Metal —  One last option for commercial roofs is metal. Aluminum, copper, and galvanized steel are some of the most common choices. Metal is ideal because it’s extremely resistant to the elements, and it can also be insulated to help contribute to your building’s energy efficiency. However, due to materials cost and installation demands, it’s really only a realistic option for smaller commercial properties.


When dealing with your commercial roof, it’s important to hire a contractor that specializes in this type of work. Commercial properties require special attention, and you don’t want to leave the backbone of your business to someone with little experience in the area.

At Premier Group, commercial roofing is what we do. That means we specialize in offering the following services:


In addition to actually installing the roof, a good commercial roofing contractor should help you through the entire process. That means helping you figure out your budget and choose the right materials for your roof, as well as addressing any issues with the structure of the roof and disposing of the old one.

Installation times vary and depend on the size of the building as well as the materials you choose. Smaller properties can get new roofs in a couple of days, whereas larger properties requiring multiple layers of material might need up to a month.

A good time estimate is important. Unexpected things can always happen, but since you may have to close or disrupt your business, it’s important to be able to plan ahead.


Commercial roofs need to be replaced at regular intervals (between 15 and 50 years depending on the material and environment). But during that time, things can happen that may require you repairs. A storm could come through and damage the roof, or a leak may develop that can compromise the underlying structure.

In any case, repairing your roof promptly is of utmost importance. If you let things sit, the damage can get worse. For example, if there is a leak, every day you leave it will get worse, costing you more and more money along the way.


If you are unsure about the condition of your roof, perhaps because you can’t see it or because you recently bought the property, it’s smart to do an roof inspection.

An experienced commercial roofer can come and identify any structure or safety issues and can recommend the best path forward. If they find nothing, you can rest easy knowing your roof is in good shape.

Considering how important your roof is to the value and structural integrity of your commercial property, always air on the side of caution and have your roof inspected whenever it’s needed. It can’t hurt.

Wondering about the condition of your commercial roof or considering installing a new one? Get in touch with Premier Group today.

Request your free assessment today!

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