Commercial roofers installing a durable single-ply roofing system.

As a business owner, you need to make sure your commercial roof will withstand the elements and last for years to come. But, with so many roofing options on the market, it can be tough to know which material is the most durable.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the most durable types of roofing materials, so you can make an informed decision about which option is best for your business.

Deciding on the Best Roofing System

Before you start talking to contractors, there’s some information to consider that will help the entire process go smoothly.

    • What does your business do?

The type of roofing system you get depends on what happens inside your building. A shoe factory has different heating and cooling needs than a school or residential roofing.

    • Consider your climate.

Do you live in a drier climate that’s prone to wildfires? Slate tiles, concrete tiles, asphalt shingle roofs and metal are all fire resistant. If you live in a snowy climate, metal roofing materials should be considered because as the sun heats the metal, snow will fall off.

    • Do you need an underlayment?

This is the part of a roofing system that’s underneath the roofing material, keeping the roof deck dry.

    • Have a general understanding of building codes.

Consider contacting your local government or fire department to ask about local and state regulations. For example, some areas restrict wood roofs (ie. wood shingles and wood shakes), which can be both redwood and cedar shake roofs.

Single-Ply Membrane

If you’re considering options for a flat roof, EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, is one of the most popular roofing materials for commercial buildings. It’s a rubber-based material  and an extremely durable single-ply roofing system. Even better, EPDM is easy to install, it’s cost-effective and lightweight, all of which make this option ideal for commercial buildings in areas prone to high winds or even seismic activity. In fact, it’s ranked among some of the best roofing materials, with favorable costs per square foot.

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), another kind of rubber, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are also cost-effective, single-ply membrane options for commercial flat roofs.

EPDM, PVC and TPO are also available in white, which helps to reflect the sun’s UV rays and make your commercial building more energy efficient.

Metal Roofing

For a long-lasting roof option on a pitched (sloped) roof, a standing seam metal roof can be a great choice. Metal shingles/panels are usually treated so that they’re corrosion-resistant, which makes metal an ideal material for commercial buildings that have to withstand harsh weather conditions year-round. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for energy efficiency, whether you’re a commercial building owner or a homeowner. While metal roofs can be more expensive to install, the initial cost is balanced out with the system’s energy savings and lifespan (metal systems can last up well over 50 years with proper maintenance).

Clay Tile Roofs

Also utilized for pitched roofing systems, eco-friendly clay tiles, like terracotta or Spanish-style, are pricey and difficult to install but often extremely popular in hot climates. Clay tile roofs have a lot of curb appeal, and these heavy architectural shingles are also resistant to insects, fire and rot. Similar to metal roofing, while clay’s upfront costs may be higher than other commercial roofing options, in the long-run, you’ll likely save money because of their longevity and durability.

Built-Up Roofs/Modified Bitumen

Built-up roofs, or BUR systems, consist of layers of asphalt and felt that are applied over a roof deck. Modified bitumen roofs (which are closely related to BUR roofing), are made of polymers (rubber or plastic) and asphalt. Both BUR and modified bitumen are low-maintenance roofs that are highly fire resistant with a lower average cost over their lifespan. They are time-tested and proven commercial roof solutions, with BUR systems having been used on buildings for over 150 years.

Other Durable Materials to Consider

While the above mentioned systems are typically the most popular, there are also some other products that you may be able to consider, depending on your type of business and location.


With proper maintenance, fiberglass board – or FRP roofing – can last 30 years or more. Unfortunately, if your commercial building is located in an excessively hot climate, fiberglass may not be the best option and roof costs can be expensive.

Slate Roofing

Installation costs can rack up with slate, which is extremely heavy. And while natural slate shingles can last for decades, they are also fragile. If you have gutter issues, for example, the repair team has to be extra cautious not to crack the slate. Installation can also take longer.

Choose a Reputable Contractor

It’s important to vet roofing companies when looking for anything roof-related. Start with checking the company’s credentials. How well-known are they in the community? Are they suggested by other businesses? Local recommendations can tell a lot about roof installation teams. The more work the company has performed, the better the roofers know and understand the impact of potential weather conditions.

Is the company bonded and insured? This protects you, the customer, in the case of an accident on your property. Check to see if warranties are offered on their work or the roofing products that are used.

Also, some roofing contractors are more environmentally conscious than others. If environmental impact is an important factor to you, then ask about the roofing products they use, and discuss how they incorporate green and sustainable practices into their work.

TEMA Roofing Can Help!

If you have questions after reading about some of the most durable roofing materials, TEMA Roofing Services is here to guide you.

Whether it’s obtaining a quote for repair or looking for an entire new commercial roof, contact TEMA. Our experienced roofing professionals handle everything you need related to commercial roof restoration, maintenance and new roof installation.