Commercial roofing is a building material used to protect and seal the top of commercial structures. It covers structural framing and prevents rain and other precipitation from entering the building. Commercial roofing generally has a relatively flat slope, as opposed to residential roofing, which is typically steeply sloped. There are a variety of materials used to create commercial roofing systems, and has its own benefits and drawbacks that should be considered.
Traditionally, many commercial roofs were constructed using shingles, which are overlapping sections of material laid in rows to help improve runoff. Shingles can be made from a number of materials, including wood, slate, clay, or asphalt. Asphalt shingles are covered with a bituminous coating and are one of the cheapest and most effective shingle options, though they require a great deal of maintenance, and don't last as long as other materials.
Shingles made from clay or ceramic tiles are popular in areas with a warmer climate, as these materials help to repel sunlight and keep the building cool. They are fairly expensive, but typically last for many years and offer a distinctive style. Wood shingles made from cedar or pine are used for mainly for their appearance, and are typically expensive and subject to mold and insect damage. Slate shingles are made from thin layers of rock, and are one of the most costly shingle materials available. They are very strong and durable, and may last well over 100 years upon installation.
For a more reliable and economical choice for commercial roofing systems, consider metal roofing. Metal roofing is very lightweight, allowing simple and cost-effective support structures to be used. It is also known for its flexibility, and can be curved or bent as needed on oddly shaped structures. This material is quick and easy to install, and can last up to 50 years. It is made from steel, aluminum, copper, or metal alloys, and helps keep the building occupants cool by reflecting sunlight and heat.
One of the most effective types of commercial roofing is the membrane roofing system. These roofs are made of sheets of rubber or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) that are bonded at the seams. Installers use a heat welder to form these bonds, effectively creating a single sheet of material that is impenetrable to leaks. This type of roofing is incredibly lightweight and durable, and often reflects sunlight due to its light-colored finish. Though it is a relatively new product, it is among the most affordable types of commercial roofing, and is quickly becoming one of the most popular products on the industry.