4 Common Commercial Roof Types

March 1st, 2024 BY First American Roofing

Are you in the market for a new commercial roof or maybe just curious about the options out there? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’re going to break down four of the most common commercial roof types so you can make an informed decision for your building. Let’s dive in!

Inside this blog:

Keep reading to determine which commercial roof type you’ll choose to protect your investment and keep your business running with a solid roof over its head!

1. Flat Roofs: The Workhorse of Commercial Buildings


First up, we have flat roofs. These are like the trusty sidekick of commercial buildings, offering a straightforward and cost-effective roofing solution. Here are some key points about flat roofs:


Flat roofs are often less expensive to install and maintain compared to other types of roofs, making them a budget-friendly option for businesses looking to save on roofing expenses. Additionally, their simple design can reduce labor costs during installation.


They provide ample space for HVAC units, solar panels, and even rooftop gardens, allowing businesses to optimize their rooftop space for various purposes such as energy efficiency initiatives or creating outdoor recreational areas for employees. This versatility can enhance the overall functionality and value of the building.

Regular Maintenance Required

Flat roofs do require regular maintenance to prevent water pooling and drainage issues, which can lead to leaks and structural damage if left unaddressed. Routine inspections and maintenance tasks, such as clearing debris and ensuring proper sealing, are essential for prolonging the lifespan of flat roofs.


Common materials used for flat roofs include EPDM rubber, TPO, PVC, and modified bitumen, each offering different advantages in terms of durability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. It’s important to carefully consider the specific needs and conditions of your building when selecting the appropriate roofing material to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

2. Pitched Roofs: Classic and Timeless

Next on the list, we have pitched roofs. These are the classic sloped roofs you see on many residential homes, but they’re also popular for certain commercial buildings. Here’s what you need to know:

Aesthetic Appeal

Pitched roofs offer a more traditional and aesthetically pleasing look compared to flat roofs, adding a sense of charm and character to commercial buildings that may be particularly desirable in certain architectural styles or historic districts. Their steep slopes can create a striking silhouette that enhances curb appeal and leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

Water Drainage

Their slope allows for effective water drainage, reducing the risk of leaks and water damage by directing rainwater away from the roof and down into gutters and drainage systems. This efficient water management system helps to preserve the integrity of the roof structure and prevents moisture-related issues such as mold growth and deterioration of building materials.

Higher Construction Costs

Pitched roofs can be more expensive to construct due to the additional materials and labor required, including framing for the steep slope, underlayment, and flashing. The complexity of installation and the need for skilled laborers can also contribute to higher upfront costs compared to flat roofs.

Despite this initial investment, many businesses find the long-term benefits of pitched roofs, such as improved durability and enhanced aesthetics, to outweigh the higher construction costs over time.


Common materials for pitched roofs include asphalt shingles, metal, clay tiles, and slate, each offering unique advantages in terms of durability, aesthetics, and longevity. Asphalt shingles are a popular and cost-effective option, while metal roofs provide excellent durability and energy efficiency. Clay tiles and slate offer unmatched beauty and longevity but come with higher upfront costs.

Choosing the right material depends on factors such as budget, climate, and desired aesthetics.

3. Metal Roofs: Durability and Longevity


Now, let’s talk about metal roofs. Metal roofs are known for their durability and longevity, making them a popular choice for commercial buildings. Check out these metal roofing perks:


Metal roofs can withstand harsh weather conditions, including rain, snow, and high winds, providing reliable protection against the elements for decades to come.

Long Lifespan

With proper maintenance, metal roofs can last 50 years or more, saving you money in the long run and offering peace of mind knowing that your roof is built to last for generations.

Energy Efficiency

They’re also energy-efficient, reflecting sunlight to keep your building cooler and reducing your energy bills, making them an environmentally-friendly choice that can contribute to sustainability efforts.

Variety of Styles

Metal roofs come in various styles, including standing seam, corrugated, and metal shingles, allowing you to customize the look of your building to match your architectural preferences and create a unique aesthetic that stands out in the neighborhood.

4. Green Roofs: Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Last but not least, we have green roofs. These eco-friendly options are gaining popularity for their sustainability benefits. Here’s why you might want to consider a green roof for your commercial building:

Environmental Benefits

Green roofs help reduce urban heat island effect, improve air quality, and provide habitat for wildlife, making them a valuable addition to urban environments seeking to enhance sustainability and biodiversity.

Energy Efficiency

They provide natural insulation, reducing heating and cooling costs throughout the year, while also extending the lifespan of the roof membrane by protecting it from temperature fluctuations and UV radiation.

Stormwater Management

Green roofs absorb rainwater, reducing the strain on stormwater systems and mitigating flooding, thereby helping to alleviate pressure on municipal infrastructure and minimize the risk of water-related damage to buildings and surrounding areas.

Installation Considerations

Green roofs require careful planning and installation to ensure proper drainage and structural support, as well as selecting appropriate plant species suited to local climate conditions, ensuring the success and longevity of the green roof system.

❔Which Commercial Roof Type Will You Protect Your Investment With?

Choosing the right commercial roof type for your building depends on various factors, including budget, aesthetic preferences, and environmental considerations. Whether you opt for a flat roof, pitched roof, metal roof, or green roof, make sure to consult with roofing professionals to determine the best option for your specific needs. Your roof plays a crucial role in protecting your building and everything inside it, so choose wisely!

Contact our pro roofers at First American Roofing today for top tier customer service and high quality craftsmanship. We’re excited to hear your questions and help bring your roofing vision to life!