Commercial Roofing: Things You Should Know About Roofing Materials & Installation Options

Skywalker Roofing Company
Commercial Roofing: Things You Should Know About Roofing Materials & Installation Options
March 14
By Luke Wilson | Roofing

What is Roofing?

Before we talk about commercial roofing, let’s back up a step and ask a simpler question first. What is roofing, anyway? The roof is simply defined as the top envelope of any building. What function does a roof serve? The roof exists to cover a structure and protect its contents from the elements, provide insulation, and help structurally support the building itself. Modern roofs can be constructed with a variety of slopes and materials, and often add aesthetic value or other specific functionalities depending on their specific design.

What’s the Difference between Commercial Roofing and Residential Roofing?

The differences between commercial roofing and residential roofing mainly revolve around slope, scope, and scale. Residential roofing is typically designed to cover houses or other smaller-scale buildings used as primary living spaces. Residential roofs are commonly pitched, meaning they have some degree of slope. The greater the slope, the more easily rain, snow, and debris can flow off the roof and be channeled away from the building. Asphalt shingles are the most popular material for covering residential roofs in America, but there is a wide variety of other materials that are also commonly used, including composite shingles, tile, slate, wood shakes, and metal.


Commercial roofing, on the other hand, is often designed to cover buildings of a much larger scale. High-pitched roofs are uncommon for such large structures, as they are more expensive to build and are less practical for wide roof spans. Large commercial facilities usually have either flat or low-slope roofs for that primary reason. Flatter roofs are not as common for residential buildings, except in some areas that have very dry climates. The other exception to that rule is metal roofing; a metal roof can be installed for residential roofing purposes with a lower slope than that which is required for shingles or other common residential roof materials.

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What’s the Best Design and Material to Use for a Commercial Roof?

There isn’t one simple answer to that question, as it really depends upon the size of the commercial building you want to cover, which benefits and functions you want for your roof, and the budget you have to work with. Most commercial customers opt for a low pitch or flat roof. These roofs are generally cheaper and easier to install, but they also carry greater potential for leaks and require more frequent inspections. As a general rule, the flatter the roof, the more maintenance that tends to be required.


Here are some of the most commonly-used materials for commercial roofs:

  • EPDM Roofing: EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. It’s a synthetic rubber material commonly used in commercial as well as some residential structures. It’s available in three levels of thickness, each designed for increasingly greater longevity. One advantage to rubber roofing is that repairs are usually quick and inexpensive.
  • PVC Roofing: PVC is a plastic recognized for its affordability and durability. PVC is resistant to chemicals, making it ideal for commercial or industrial facilities, as well as restaurants or other buildings with grease traps on the roof. If properly installed, a PVC roofing system can last 20+ years and requires only a minimal amount of maintenance.
  • TPO Roofing: TPO (short for thermoplastic polyolefin) is one of the more popular commercial roofing materials in use, thanks to its reasonable cost and reliable durability. TPO roofing is now the fastest-growing segment of the US single-ply roofing industry and is resistant to dirt, bacteria, algae, and debris buildup. Among the different ways to install TPO, a heat welder is a preferred method.
  • Metal Roofing: Metal is always a sound choice for roofing, whether for commercial or residential applications. Metal roofs can be installed at almost any preferred slope. While metal roofing is more costly than some commercial roofing materials, it’s also easier to clean, maintains its appearance longer, and can last a lifetime with minimal care.
  • Flat Roofing: In addition to single-ply and metal options, modified bitumen and buildup roofs are also still popular, low-cost choices for commercial roofs. Buildup roofs are made with layers of roofing felt, asphalt, bitumen, and tar, and usually covered with a surface of crushed stone. Modified bitumen starts with a buildup roof and then adds polymer-reinforced layers or cap sheets.



The Importance of Commercial Roof Maintenance

Your home is not the only structure that needs roof maintenance. Just like your home’s roof, the roof on your commercial building occasionally needs some TLC, too. In fact, since most commercial roofs are flat or no slope, they typically require more frequent inspection and routine maintenance. Many times, commercial building owners or managers don’t pay enough attention to their roof, and this often results in premature roof failure that could’ve been avoided. If you have the ability to walk your commercial roof yourself, it’s a good idea to give it a once-over with the change of each season to see any noticeable signs of wear and tear. Better still, schedule a professional commercial roofing contractor to make routine inspections. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the longer you can make your commercial roof last, the happier your CFO will be!

Do I Need a New Commercial Roof, or Can My Roof Be Repaired?

If you have a commercial roof in place that’s already seen a few years of service, you may be asking another important question right about how – do I really NEED a new roof, or are the minor roofing problems I’m facing now something that could actually be repaired instead? Most roofing contractors will automatically steer you towards getting an entire roof replacement, when in fact a skilled repair is all you may need. It’s worth your time to look around for a reputable commercial roofing contractor who can help you objectively assess all your options, including offering repair services when possible.


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Why You Should Choose Skywalker Roofing for ALL Your Commercial Roofing Needs

Skywalker Roofing is a name you can trust for commercial roofing. No matter which roofing material you choose for your new commercial roof or commercial roof replacement, having a proper, professional installation in the first place is the biggest deciding factor in determining your roof’s longevity. Skywalker is proud to treat each and every commercial client as if they were Skywalker’s ONLY client, and they’ve been operating that way for over 15 years. Skywalker Roofing has steadily grown through their commitment to excellent work ethic, superior craftsmanship, and unbeatable customer service, and they still believe that quality matters more than quantity.


Another thing that sets Skywalker Roofing apart is the fact that they don’t just put on new commercial roofs or replace existing roofs; they also offer full commercial roof repair services. Skywalker is happy to come out and do a full, free assessment of your commercial roof and then sit down with you to discuss what they discover in their inspection. If repairs are a viable option for your commercial roof, Skywalker is happy to provide estimates for both repair and replacement options. And if you choose to partner with Skywalker for commercial roof repair, Skywalker also provides a two-year warranty for any repairs they conduct.


Skywalker Roofing is your BEST commercial roofing solution in the NC Triad, NC Triangle, and Roanoke, VA areas – but don’t just take their word for it. Check out Skywalker Roofing and read the reviews shared by their customers and clients themselves. Give Skywalker Roofing a call today at +1 (336) 627-5596 and let them show you why Skywalker is THE best local contractor for all your commercial roofing, residential roofing, roofing, insulation, windows, drywall, and siding services!

Luke Wilson

Luke Wilson

Owner - Skywalker Roofing

Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.

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