Williams Roofing and Construction Inc.

The average lifespan of a commercial roof ranges from 10 to 40 years

Commercial roofs are usually quite large and need to support heavy loads, which means that the type of material used plays a big part in how long the roof actually lasts. 

Because of how expensive and long-term an investment in a commercial roof is, it’s important to understand the different materials and types of commercial roofs to determine which is right for your building. 

In this post, we’ll go over some of the most common kinds of commercial roofs, and the different factors to consider.

Keep reading to learn more.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Commercial Roof

Many considerations go into choosing the right commercial roof type. For example, the available budget for the project, the slope of the roof, the type of business, and the climate it’s located in. 

The roofing professional you work with should be able to walk you through the different options to find the right roofing solution for you. 


Cost is, of course, one of the main factors to consider when choosing a roof. The different materials and types of specialized roofs available all come with various costs for both the initial installation and any required maintenance.

Make sure you understand your budget and what you can afford when choosing a roof.


There are some significant differences in function and durability between different types of roofing. Especially when it comes to the lifespan of the roof.

Does the structure of your building require a lightweight material? Are you in an area that frequently experiences severe weather or high winds? Answering questions like these can help to point you towards the right type of commercial roof.

Energy Efficiency

In recent years there has been a big push towards increased energy efficiency. The roof of a building can play a big part in the overall efficiency of the building. 

Being energy efficient is better for the planet, but also comes with financial and other benefits for you. Higher energy efficiency comes with savings on your heating and cooling costs, and can also come with tax incentives from your local government. These incentives aren’t the same everywhere, so be sure to check for any in your specific area.

PVC Roofing

Polyvinyl chloride or PVC roofing is a lightweight single-ply roofing that is usually white. Because it is white instead of black, it is able to reflect the heat from the sun rather than absorb it. This makes it great for energy efficiency because it helps to stabilize the internal temperature of the building.

PVC roofs are also highly durable. Their seams are stronger than some other types because they’re heat-welded rather than simply glued down. PVC roofs are relatively good at expanding and contracting with a building, and they are resistant to damage from water, fire, high winds, and UV rays.

They are also resistant to damage caused by oils and animal fats, which makes them excellent options for restaurants that use a lot of grease and oil in their cooking.

They have a 20 to 30-year expected life span, and can even be customized with a logo or different color options depending on the brand used.

Built-Up Roofing Membrane

Built-Up roofing or BUR is a roofing system made by laying alternating layers of tar or asphalt with some kind of strong fabric material, with the top layer then being composed of either rocks or gravel.

You will need to work with your roofing professionals to determine the right amount of layers for your building, which will impact both the cost and durability of the roof. It is estimated that each layer adds roughly 5 years to the expected lifespan. 

These types of roofs are very durable and are typically less expensive than other available options. They require little maintenance and also are easier to walk on in all kinds of weather because the gravel provides a lot of traction.

There are no seams to allow leaks, but if a leak does occur somewhere in the system it can be more difficult, and costly, to find and fix it. These roofs can also be very heavy depending on the type of gravel or rocks used in the top layer. Be sure your building can support it before deciding on this type of roofing.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is one of the most common types used in commercial roofing because there are many different metal material options. For example:

  • Aluminum
  • Tin
  • Copper
  • Corrugated Galvanized Steel

These materials all come with strong fire resistance and a 40-60 year lifespan. You also may have the option of integrating a solar power or snow removal system directly into the roof.

Metal roofs are both attractive and energy efficient. With the different metals available you have more options for what you want it to look like. And because of how metal reflects heat back instead of absorbing it, they are more energy efficient than some.

However, metal can corrode easily, so they require a protective surface layer to be added to help avoid this damage. It is also critical to keep with the proper maintenance to keep metal roofs in good condition.

Spray Foam Roofing

Spray foam roofing is a specialized roofing that uses spray polyurethane foam or SPF to create a waterproof, long-lasting, and energy-efficient roof. It is sprayed on as a liquid and then expands into a foam before finally hardening into a solid layer.

This is a very lightweight option, and can even be applied right over an existing roof. This eliminates removal costs and helps to limit waste. 

However, this roof requires good weather for installation. It can’t be snowy, icy, or rainy, or else the foam won’t cure properly. It will also need to be inspected once or twice per year.

Know the Different Types of Commercial Roofs 

Having a strong roof on your commercial building is critical in maintaining safe conditions and an attractive appearance. By learning about the different types of commercial roofs you can begin to decide which type is right for your particular building.

If you’re in the Springfield Illinois area and are ready to move forward with a roofing project or want your questions answered by professionals, we can help! Request a free estimate today!

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Springfield, IL

4225 North Peoria Road
Springfield, IL 62702

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