Roof structure,construction

Finding the best option for your commercial roof is not always easy. There are more than a few roofing options to consider and each has its own benefits.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide comparing commercial metal roofing to spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing, two very common options for commercial roofing. We hope it makes your life a little easier and provides you with some important information along the way.

Keep reading to learn more.

SPF vs. Commercial Metal Roofing: What’s the Best Choice for Business?

You’re probably wondering about the costs involved with both roofing options and which material provides better protection (along with lifespan). So, let’s take a look!

Metal Roofing

If you’re considering building a metal roof, you’re not alone. Metal is the oldest type of roofing system used for commercial applications. It’s durable, attractive and virtually maintenance-free.

Most metal roofing uses corrugated, galvanized steel or aluminum, and adding an additional layer of protection in the form of special coating will help prevent rust and protect the roof against harmful UV rays from the sun.

As with any material, there are some pros and cons to keep in mind before you decide that metal roofing is right for you.

Pros of Metal Roofing

Perhaps the most important factor to consider about metal roofing is the design quality. It’s also extremely stable and energy efficient…not to mention recyclable.

Metal panels are also fire resistant and have one of the longest lifespans of any roofing material.

Cons of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is susceptible to water damage via seams and small ponds that may form on your roof. Often, when a metal roof needs to be replaced, it requires a full overhaul of the roof because the frame is difficult to work with. Beyond that, metal roofing can be noisy during storms that produce wind, hail or rain.

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Roofing

SPF is a material used for commercial roofing that is literally sprayed on in the form of foam. It creates a solid layer on top of an existing roof.

SPF technology has been in use since the early 1960s for all types of applications, including residential, industrial and commercial.

Let’s see how it stacks up against your needs.

Pros of SPF Roofing

SPF roofing is very energy efficient, providing moisture, air and thermal barriers. It’s seamless and waterproof with no joints or seams. And, most importantly, SPF is environmentally friendly, since it can be laid right on top of existing roofing systems without the need for waste.

Cons of SPF Roofing

SPF roofing requires full-time maintenance. You should have it checked by a professional at least once every other year. Also, it only comes in two colors, white and gray.


The installation of these two types of roofing material is quite different. Metal roofing installation takes longer but can be installed in almost any weather. SPF roofing shouldn’t be installed on a windy day.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing can be installed on top of your existing roof which will save time and money in lieu of tearing the old roof off and starting from scratch.

Your contractor will install a frame and trusses to fasten the metal roof. Then they will install the insulation.

There are a few different options for insulation, as well. You can choose from the following materials:

  • Spray Foam
  • Roofing Felt
  • Bubble Insulation
  • Fiberglass
  • Rigid Board

Once the insulation has been installed, the metal panels can be placed. Your contractor will cut the panels to size and attach them to the frame with screws allowing some overlap on the edges to cover the insulation. Finally, the joints of the roof will be sealed with flashing.

SPF Roofing

With SPF roofing, the existing roof will need to be prepared. The SPF can be sprayed directly on top of the old roof, but first, it must be cleared of any contaminants, dirt, gravel or dust.

Once the roof is prepared, your contractor will spray the foam, which expands to form a solid surface. When the SPF is dry, it will be coated with a layer of acrylic or silicone embedded with granules for texture.


Depending on your budget, the overall cost could also have an effect on which roofing material you choose. If you want to save wherever you can and still get a great roof, you may want to consider SPF over metal.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing runs anywhere from $5 to $10 per square foot for the average commercial roof. This includes materials and installation for a typical roofing system. The style and type of metal panels chosen for your project will also determine the pricing scale.

(Keep in mind that steel is more costly than aluminum.)   

SPF Roofing

SPF roofing runs anywhere from $4 to $7 per square foot for an average roof size of 20,000 square feet. This includes installation, labor, and materials.

(Keep in mind that this pricing is gauged on an average thickness and building structure.)

Final Thoughts

Choosing between commercial metal roofing and SPF ultimately boils down to preference. Both materials are installed to last for many years and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Weigh your decision carefully to determine what matters most for your roofing needs.

Before you go, check out this post that details some essential questions you should always ask your commercial roofing contractor before a project is started. It may help you while you’re getting quotes, too.

If you’re ready to have your new roof installed or you have more questions, feel free to contact us! We are family owned with over 50 years of experience.