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Your Complete Guide to Commercial Roofs

Has your commercial roof reached the end of its lifespan? Most commercial roofs can last anywhere between 10 to 40 years or longer.

Whether you are replacing an existing roof or making decisions about commercial roofing for new construction, you must weigh your options for roofing materials. Otherwise, you might select a roof style or material that isn’t suited to your needs. Commercial roofs are extremely durable, but they must be able to withstand the elements every day. Commercial roofing materials include shingles, metal, concrete tile, flat roofing, rubber roofing, and more.

Roofs aren’t cheap, so you’ll want to do your research.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about commercial roofs and how to find the right company before moving forward with your next project!


Pitched or Flat?

If you are planning new commercial construction, the first thing to think about is what pitch you want.

Most commercial buildings have flat or very low pitch roofs. These types of roofs require fewer materials and can be great for hiding necessary components like HVAC units, solar panels, and other unsightly fixtures. They are also usually a lot easier (and cheaper) to repair than high pitch roofing.

Commercial roofing companies can easily access low pitch or flat roofs to inspect and make repairs. Flat roofs also don’t require a lot of maintenance and can last for many years without needing to be replaced.

However, there are some situations where pitched roofs might be preferable for aesthetic reasons. A pitched roof will make the structure appear to be more traditional and may help your business stand out.


Top Materials for Commercial Roofs

When selecting a material for your roof, it’s best to consult a commercial roofing company. Commercial roofs are made of many different materials, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

A good commercial roofing contractor will survey your property and help you decide on what type of materials might work best for your project. 

Get to know some of the more common roofing materials below.


Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF)

Commonly known as SPF, Spray Polyurethane Foam has been used on commercial roofs since the 1960s. 

SPF is sprayed as a liquid, which then expands into a foam to create a solid layer across a roof. 

Here are some of the benefits of SPF roofing:

  • The cost is comparable to other roofing systems
  • It’s highly energy-efficient
  • Offers exceptional durability and waterproofing
  • Is made from environmentally friendly materials

SPF roofs can last over 50 years with proper maintenance and remain a top choice for many commercial properties.


Concrete Tile

Concrete tile roofs are also a popular option for commercial buildings. They are heavy and durable, making them resistant to the elements.

The main downside of using concrete tiles is that they can be expensive and difficult to maintain. Commercial property owners who want to maintain a modern look may find that the price tag (and wear and tear) can be a big turn-off. 

This option is not ideal for an owner seeking a low-maintenance solution.

If properly maintained, they can last as long as 50 years.


Membrane Systems

Membrane systems are a highly popular option for commercial roofs. They consist of sheets of rubber or other synthetics.

Rubber roofs are popular on commercial buildings because they are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and can last for decades if properly maintained. Rubber roofs consist of layers of rubber with coatings on top that can include acrylic and polyurethane.

They are lightweight and flexible, making them less prone to cracking and deterioration than heavier options like concrete tile or asphalt and gravel. Commercial rubber roofs also do not require the same amount of energy for heating and cooling as most other materials, making this a popular choice for larger buildings.

They can last for over 40 years if properly maintained.


Built-up Roofing

Also known as “tar and gravel roofs,” built-up roofing has been used for commercial roofs for more than 100 years in the US. Commercial roofing companies install built-up roofing by alternating layers of asphalt and supporting materials onto your roof. 

Built-up roofing is seamless and highly waterproof. This is an important benefit given that water intrusion is the cause of 40% of building problems

The number of layers you get will impact the lifespan and durability of your roof. 

This type of material can last up to 40 years.


Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is another time-honored material choice for commercial roofs. 

Although it is more expensive than some of the other options, metal roofing can stand up to snow and high winds and is highly fire-resistant. 

Metal roofing can often be installed over an existing roof, which can decrease replacement costs. 

Metal roofing is also often made out of recycled material. 

One major drawback of metal roofing is that the sound of rain and hail will be amplified. This shouldn’t be a problem for most buildings that don’t have office staff or customers though.

Metal roofing also has a long lifespan of up to 60 years.



If you’re opting for a high pitch roof, shingles can be an economical option. Commercial roof shingles come in a variety of colors and styles, making them popular with commercial property owners seeking to add curb appeal while keeping costs relatively low.

Shingles roofs are also fairly durable and easy to conduct spot repairs on when needed. 

Shingle roofs usually last up to 30 years.


Benefits of Hiring a Commercial Roofing Company

It’s necessary to hire a professional when it comes time to replace your commercial roof. Commercial roofs are complicated and require specialized tools, equipment, and experience. Commercial roofing companies have the necessary expertise to complete large projects quickly and efficiently without damaging other surrounding areas or disturbing occupants in nearby buildings.

Roofs will generally be large enough that property owners cannot afford to take on the job themselves. Commercial roofing companies will be able to offer more competitive pricing for larger projects.

Let’s explore some of the benefits commercial roofing companies can provide property owners.


Full-time employees

One of the most significant perks of working with a commercial roofing company is having properly trained, full-time employees working on the project instead of fly-by-night contractors. Commercial roofing isn’t a small task, and it’s important to have a manager or foreman on-site at all times supervising the process.

A good commercial roofing company will be able to provide experienced managers who know how to complete every aspect of the job from beginning to end. This reduces liability for property owners by ensuring that the job is done properly.



When it comes to selecting a commercial roofing company, choose one that can work within your budget. Property owners who cannot afford to take on the task of replacing their own roof can select a qualified roofing company and pay for the project with pre-approved financing options.

Commercial loan rates can be lower than consumer loan rates, so it’s important to do your research and compare financing options before making a final decision.


Use of effective tools

Commercial roofing companies will already have the tools necessary for completing large, complex projects. Commercial roofing companies will have a complete set of tools including ladders, scaffolding, and safety equipment. Most property owners won’t have these types of equipment on hand at all times.

More importantly, experienced roofers know how to use these tools without causing damage to surrounding structures or injuring passers-by.



Safety should always be a priority with any roofing project. Commercial roofers are trained to use proper safety precautions while working on all types of roofs.

Commercial roofers should never be standing on your roof after dark and should take extra precautions when working during inclement weather. Good companies will also take the safety of other building occupants or passers-by into consideration before beginning any work on your property.

You should choose a commercial roofing company that employs experienced roofers who know how to work safely and properly use all of their tools, especially when it comes time for them to be on your roof.


The Bottom Line

Roofs are essential to the integrity of most buildings, so it’s important to hire a professional who can do the job right. You should work with a commercial roofing company that has the tools, knowledge, and experience needed for completing large-scale projects correctly. 


Work with a Professional Commercial Roofing Company Today

Not sure which is the best roofing option for you?

AR Roofing & Remodeling can help. 

We’re experienced in the replacement, installation, repair, and maintenance of commercial roofs in Southwestern PA. 

Based out of Uniontown, we can travel as far as Pittsburgh to help with your roof.

Contact us today to discuss your needs.

About AR Roofing & Remodeling

AR Roofing & Remodeling is an experienced, highly rated roofing company in Uniontown, PA. If you’re looking for roofing services in Fayette County, give us a call at (724) 550-3064 and we’ll be happy to help!

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