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The Best Types of Commercial Roofs for Your Business

There are so many different options for a commercial roof these days that choosing the right one for your property can be difficult. Each option has its pros and cons that one must understand. There are also different factors that you must consider before choosing a commercial roof. These factors include durability, pricing, weather conditions, etc. All this can be very confusing if you are not an expert in this field. 

That is why we at Zicklin Roofing are the experts that can guide you on which option is the best for you, based on various criteria. We have a lot of experience with commercial roofing in NYC and nearby areas which gives us a unique position to advise you. In this post, we will share with you the different types of commercial roofs that are popular along with their advantages and disadvantages. 

Factors to Consider While Choosing Commercial Roof Systems

Certain things keep in mind before you can finalize which type of commercial roof would suit you best. Check these factors out below:

The Material

When selecting commercial roofing materials, various factors like building structure, foot traffic, and climate should be considered. Among the common options for commercial roofing materials are traditional membranes and metal roofing. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is an excellent option, but it can be more expensive.

For areas with hot temperatures, a breathable, watertight, and flexible material is recommended. If your business is situated in a region with high wind speeds or snowfall, a metal or reflective system is suitable. In a humid climate, a flexible material like EPDM, which is a synthetic rubber that is relatively inexpensive and easy to apply, should be considered. However, this type of roof has a lifespan of only 10 to 15 years, so long-term planning is necessary.

Cost of Installation

The cost of repairing, replacing, or maintaining a commercial flat roof can vary significantly based on different factors specific to the building. Since commercial buildings tend to be larger and have lower slopes than residential homes, the roofing requirements are different. The choice of material can have an impact on the total cost.

Before selecting a new roof, it’s crucial to evaluate the costs and benefits of various materials, such as metals and waterproofing components. While some materials may be cheaper initially, others can have a longer lifespan and can result in energy savings that offset the costs.

It’s important to consider the roof’s durability and maintenance requirements since it doesn’t need to be replaced frequently. Several aspects can affect the cost of a membrane roof, such as accessibility and ease of installation. For instance, if access is difficult, the installation may take longer, and older buildings may have multiple layers of roofing, making it more complex and expensive to remove the old roof or repair leaks.

The cost of labor to install a new roof can vary depending on the materials and the project’s complexity. For example, installing asphalt and tile shingles is less expensive than metal roofing sheets, and materials for pitched roofs will be pricier than those for commercial flat roof repair. While a flat roof may be cheaper to install, a complex design will likely cost more in the long run. However, flat roofs are easier to maintain and cost less than intricate gable or hip roofs.

Impact on the Environment

Choosing a new roofing solution for your commercial building involves considering the ecological cost of construction. The environmental impact of your commercial roof is particularly important, especially when it comes to the cost of removing and replacing it. Therefore, it’s crucial to assess the real impact of your decision on the environment.

Conventional roofs are typically not eco-friendly and contribute significantly to waste in landfills. They are also energy-intensive to manufacture and not recyclable. On the other hand, eco-friendly roofs, such as green roofs, minimize waste by reducing the material used in their manufacture. They can also reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and lower indoor comfort by minimizing heat transfer.

Green roofs can also reduce the energy consumption of commercial buildings, particularly during peak usage periods. Additionally, a cool roof can reduce cooling costs in summer, which benefits both the environment and the business. Although green roofs are generally more expensive than conventional roofs, the energy savings associated with the material can quickly offset the additional cost.

Your Future Requirements

When it comes to selecting a roofing system for a commercial building, it’s important to consider the long-term needs of the business. A commercial roof is a significant investment, and it’s essential to choose a material that will meet the requirements of the business for many years to come.

For instance, a business that plans to stay in the same location for decades may want to invest in a roofing system with a longer lifespan, such as mastic asphalt. This material is known for its durability and can last for up to 50 years with proper maintenance. However, if a business plans to relocate shortly, it may make more sense to choose a more cost-effective option with a shorter lifespan.

In addition to longevity, it’s also important to consider the specific needs of the business when choosing a roofing system. For example, a business that operates in a hot climate may benefit from a cool roof, which can reflect sunlight and reduce energy costs. A business that operates in an area with heavy snowfall may need a roofing system that can withstand the weight of snow and ice.

Finally, it’s important to choose a commercial roof repair company that can meet the needs of the business while remaining cost-effective. This means selecting a company that can provide high-quality workmanship, use durable materials, and provide ongoing maintenance and repairs as needed. By investing in a high-quality roofing system and choosing a reliable repair company, businesses can ensure that their roofing system meets their needs for many years to come.

Types of Commercial Roofs and their Advantages

Flat Roofs

Flat roofs have become a common choice for commercial buildings since the 1920s when they became synonymous with modern commerce and architecture. Unlike pitched roofs, flat roofs offer several advantages for building owners and roofing contractors worldwide. Firstly, they are significantly more cost-effective to build and install due to requiring less material and less time to construct, resulting in lower costs for building owners. 

Flat roofs also provide a flexible space for additional amenities like air conditioners, solar panels, and satellite dishes, as well as being easier to maintain and clean since workmen can safely walk on the surface regardless of weather conditions. Furthermore, by using white roofing membranes with reflective properties, building owners can reduce energy waste from cooling costs.

However, flat roofs are not without their drawbacks. The most significant disadvantage of flat roofs is poor drainage, which can lead to standing water degrading the roofing materials and causing leaks and water damage inside the building. As a result, a professional commercial roofing contractor with experience and a good reputation must install or repair flat roofs to avoid such problems. A knowledgeable team like Zicklin Roofing can locate the drains correctly and determine the proper height to avoid puddling, ensuring the longevity of the roof.

Low Sloped Roofs

Low-sloped roofs are popularly found on buildings like warehouses, manufacturing units and apartment buildings. These roofs may seem flat but they have a slight pitch. Low-sloped roofs offer several advantages. Firstly, the slight pitch allows for water to flow off the roof and into designated areas such as valleys, saddles, and drains. 

This means there is less standing water or puddling, reducing the need for repairmen to fix water problems. Additionally, low-sloped roofs require fewer square feet of roofing materials compared to high-pitched roofs, making them more cost-effective.

Roofers can work on low-sloped roofs more safely and easily than on steep-sloped or high-pitched roofs. The installation, repair, and replacement of commercial roofs are also easier to perform on low-sloped roofs. Low-sloped roofs also offer convenience for installing and maintaining equipment such as air conditioners, solar panels, and satellite dishes.

Rubber rolled roofing, EPDM, TPO, bitumen, and modified bitumen are all materials that can be used on low-sloped roofs. Modified bitumen is a popular choice as it offers longer warranty times due to its superior sealing capabilities and additional thickness.

However, low-sloped roofs do have a few disadvantages. Heavy snowfalls can add weight to the roof, and building codes must be strictly followed to ensure the roof’s stability.

PVC Membranes

Premium Duro-Last PVC membranes are the roofing material of choice for many, owing to their popularity and time-tested durability. The advantages of using PVC membranes are many, including their longevity, fire retardant properties, and ability to withstand the test of time.

One of the most significant advantages of PVC roofing materials is their impressive resistance to flames. When compared to other similar membranes such as TPO and EPDM, the Duro-Last PVC membrane has been proven to be the most effective in extinguishing flames. 

In case of a fire, the PVC membrane helps prevent large areas of the membrane from melting away, ensuring that the roof remains intact and minimizes potential damage.

The only potential drawback of PVC roofing might be the slightly higher upfront cost compared to TPO or EPDM. However, considering the advantages of PVC such as its durability, longevity, energy efficiency, warranty, and fire resistance, this small increase in cost is worth it for building owners in the long run.

Pitched Roofing

Although pitched roofs are more commonly found in residential homes, they are still frequently used in conjunction with flat and low-sloped commercial roofs. The primary advantage of pitched roofs is their increased slope, which allows for better water and snow runoff. The steeper the roof, the easier it is for liquid and debris to roll off, resulting in a reduced risk of water buildup and potential leaks and mold damage. 

In general, roofs with a steep slope require less maintenance and repair compared to flatter, less inclined roofs. Nonetheless, the steep angle of pitched roofs can make maintenance and repairs significantly more challenging. Safety measures need to be heightened, transferring materials and moving around the roof can be difficult, which can increase the cost of each installation, repair, or maintenance service.

Shingle Commercial Roof Systems

Shingle roofs are some of the most widely used commercial roofing materials because they are affordable, versatile, and easy to install. They come in a variety of materials, styles, and colors, allowing for customization to fit the aesthetic of any commercial property. Another advantage of shingle roofing systems is their weight. Shingles are relatively lightweight, making them ideal for properties with steep rooflines where heavy materials could compromise the structural integrity of the building.

While shingle roofing systems have their advantages, they do come with some notable disadvantages. One of the biggest downsides of shingle roofing systems is their durability. Compared to other commercial roofing materials, shingles have a shorter lifespan and may require more frequent repairs and replacements.

Additionally, shingle roofing systems are susceptible to moss and mildew growth, especially in shaded areas where moisture can accumulate. This can cause discoloration, staining, and even deterioration of the shingles over time. Regular maintenance and cleaning are necessary to prevent this issue.

Overall, while shingle roofing systems may be a good option for certain commercial properties with steep rooflines, it’s important to carefully consider their durability and maintenance requirements before making a final decision.


These were some of the most popular commercial roofing systems today. Zicklin Roofing has tried our best to provide you with the most in-depth information on all these systems and their advantages so you can make the right call. For more information or to get help installing your new commercial roof, contact Zicklin Roofing today. 

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