A school with metal roofing.

Schools are arguably one of the most important buildings in our society. After all, they house our future.

So they need the best, safest roofs possible. The type of roof that won’t let you down no matter the weather conditions and reliably last year after year. If you’re looking for the best roofing system for a school, make sure it goes above and beyond the other commercial roofing options.

Let us walk you through which flat roofs can give your school district the safety and security your building needs to educate the next generation.

What School Buildings Need From Their Roofing Materials

A school is more than just another commercial building. Closing down for emergency roof repairs is about more than losing money – it means a priceless loss of time spent learning. In today’s classrooms, with their jam-packed schedules and urgent test goals, it’s often impossible to make up that kind of time without extending the school year. Proper roof maintenance lets you get the most out of your roof so you can hold off on fixing any major roof problems until the summer.


School roofing needs to last throughout the year – which means it needs to be durable. It needs to be able to withstand severe weather conditions such as snow and high winds, withstand penetrations and mildew, and be fire-resistant.

The school year is a busy one, and it’s nearly impossible to take time off to have a roofing contractor make emergency repairs.

Long Lifespan

A school is an important asset to the community – but funds are often tight from year to year. A school roof replacement can be costly and it can take quite a bit of time. While you may want to cut costs and go with a cheaper roof, it’s better to go with a longer-lasting option; it’s the best way to save money and time in the long run.

Energy Efficiency

Speaking of saving money – it’s no secret that energy costs for schools are high. A large student body means high heating and cooling costs. Upgrading your school’s existing roof to a roofing membrane that’s resistant to UV rays and provides high-quality insulation could lower your electricity bill and free up funds for what matters most – students’ learning.

Choosing the Best Roofing Material For a School

There are a lot of options when it comes to materials for flat or low-slope roofs, so it can be hard to know which is the best for your school system. Selecting the right material for your roofing project takes time, information, and guidance.

What may be the best roofing material for one school district, may not be the best for another – but some are likely going to be the top contenders, no matter where you live or what your school’s situation is.

Popular Flat Roofing Materials

There are a few options on the market that offer suitable durability and energy efficiency for schools. Below, we’ve listed some of the best of them and their typical lifespan and price per square foot.

Slate Roofing

Slate roofs are made from natural stone. They’re durable, fire-resistant, and low maintenance. When properly maintained, they can last over 75 years.

Slate has natural insulating properties, and its reflective nature can deter UV rays, making it energy efficient. The upfront cost for installation can be expensive, however, ranging from $600 to $1,200 per square foot.

Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)

TPO is a single-ply roofing membrane that’s a popular commercial solution. They have a reflective surface, helping reduce heat absorption and increase puncture and stress resistance.

It has an average lifespan when it comes to roofing materials and can last 20 to 30 years with proper care. It’s a more affordable option when it comes to installation, costing anywhere from $5 to $9 per square foot.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

EPDM is a synthetic rubber roofing membrane. It’s ideal for areas with heavy temperature fluctuations, as it can withstand these without cracking or breaking.

Like TPO, it’s resistant to UV rays and reflective, so it can help you cut down on energy costs. Its lifespan is also similar to TPOs and can last from 20-30 years. On average, it costs between $4 and $8 to install.

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen blends the strength of traditional asphalt shingle roofs used by residential homeowners with enhanced polymer modifiers that increase its durability.

It’s great at withstanding severe weather, and there are options for reflective surfaces if you’re looking for UV protection and heat absorption. Like EPDM and TPO, this roofing solution lasts 20-30 years with regular maintenance and costs around $4 to $8 to install.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC roofing is durable and a popular choice for industrial applications due to its resistance to chemicals. While that’s likely not a worry for your school, it’s also extremely waterproof thanks to its heat-bonded or chemically-bonded standing seams.

Like other popular choices, it has a reflective surface that cuts down on cooling costs. It also has an average lifespan for a flat roof and can last over 20 years with proper maintenance. It costs on average anywhere from $6 to $10 per square foot to install.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

BUR has been used for over a century and is one of the oldest roofing solutions still on the market. It’s especially fire-resistant and durable and can withstand extreme temperatures. It’s made up of multiple layers, which makes it one of the most waterproof roofing options. Like others on the list, it has a reflective coating that can reduce energy costs. While it’s one of the cheapest options, costing only $3 to $7 per square foot to install, its lifespan is comparable to other roofing systems. With proper care, it can last 20 to 30 years.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are one of the best options when it comes to flat roofing systems. They’re comparable in lifespan to slate roofs and can last up to 100 years with proper maintenance. They’re fire-resistant, provide UV protection, and can weather extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, hail, and snow. They’re also especially resistant to mildew and moisture damage, and easy to repair.

If you’re looking for the long-lasting durability of a slate roof at a fraction of the cost – a metal roof is your best bet. While it can last for a century, it only costs about $7 to $12 per square foot to install.

The Best Roof Comes From the Best Contractor

If you want your roof to last, get quality roofing services done by quality contractors. Improper installation can greatly reduce your roof’s lifespan and lead to costly repairs.

We know how important it is that your school has a reliable roof. If you want the best roofing system for a school for your own district, contact us today. We not only offer warranty-backed workmanship, but asset management services that will keep you on top of your new roof’s health.