Industrial Roof Types:

Make the Right Choice

There are many types and styles of industrial roofs, each offering its own set of considerations, including durability, energy efficiency, and weather resistance.

With the selection of your commercial roofing materials and roofing systems affecting your facility’s longevity, structural integrity, and energy efficiency, it’s a decision that carries a lot of weight. With so much riding on your choice, it really comes down to choosing an industrial roof type that fits your specific needs.

Established in 1977, Bigham Taylor Roofing has emerged as a leading force in industrial roofing and waterproofing across Northern California and Northern Nevada. Collectively bringing decades of experience in industrial roofing, their continued success stems from their unwavering commitment to quality, service, and value. Experts in all aspects of industrial roofing, BT’s team can help you make a decision on your roof that delivers a return on your investment now and into the future.

In this article, we explore the diverse types of commercial roofing available and uncover the key considerations for ensuring your industrial roof not only shields your business from the elements but also stands as a durable and efficient cornerstone of your commercial infrastructure.

Common Industrial Roof Types and Their Characteristics

When it comes to commercial buildings, selecting the appropriate industrial roof type is one of the most crucial decisions you can make.

With commercial roofing systems helping to define the structural integrity and performance of the facility, it’s important to know the roofing options available and how each can cater to your specific needs.

There’s no shortage of commercial roofs you can choose from; it all comes down to selecting the one best suited to you. Flat roofs, common in commercial settings, offer versatility and easy maintenance, while metal roofing systems provide durability and weather resistance, ideal for long-term performance. Thermoplastic roofing, like TPO and PVC, on the other hand, boasts energy efficiency and resistance to chemicals, making it suitable for industrial applications.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the characteristics of each commercial roofing system:

Metal Roofs:

Metal roofs are renowned for their durability, longevity, and versatility, making them a popular choice for industrial roofing. Typically constructed from materials like steel, aluminum, or copper, these roofs offer exceptional resistance to harsh weather conditions, including rain, snow, and high winds. The inherent strength of metal provides stability, ensuring the roof can withstand the test of time with minimal maintenance.

Metal roofing systems are also popular due to their energy efficiency, with the ability to reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption. This quality not only contributes to a more comfortable indoor environment but also enhances the overall sustainability of a building.


Some common metal roof types include:

  • Standing Seam Metal Roof: Features vertical seams that interlock to provide durability and weather resistance.


  • Metal Shingle Roof: Resembles traditional shingles but is made of metal for added durability and energy efficiency.


  • Metal Corrugated Roof: Known for its strength, durability, and ability to shed water efficiently.

Single-Ply Membrane Roofs:

Lightweight and flexible by nature, single-ply membrane roofs are a popular choice for industrial applications due to their excellent resistance to UV rays, weathering, and chemicals.

The single-ply design simplifies installation, reducing labor costs and minimizing disruptions to ongoing operations. The reflective surfaces of some single-ply membranes enhance energy efficiency by reducing heat absorption, contributing to a cooler building interior.


Some common single-ply membrane roof types include:

  • TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) Roofing: Offers energy efficiency and resistance to UV radiation.
  • EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) Roofing: EPDM roofing is known for its durability and ease of installation.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Roofing: PVC roofing offers chemical resistance and is fire-resistant.

Built-Up Roofing:

Built-up roofing, also known as tar and gravel roofing, is a traditional and durable choice for industrial applications. It often features multiple layers of asphalt or bitumen, alternating with reinforcing fabrics like fiberglass or felt.

BUR roofs offer excellent waterproofing and weather resistance. The gravel surface provides protection against UV rays and helps to dissipate heat. BUR systems are known for their resilience against foot traffic and mechanical damage, making them suitable for high-traffic industrial areas.

Modified Bitumen Roofing:

Modified Bitumen Roofing is popular for industrial roofing due to its flexibility and durability. Composed of asphalt reinforced with modifiers like APP (Atactic Polypropylene) or SBS (Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene), this roofing material exhibits excellent elasticity, making it resistant to cracking and extreme temperature fluctuations.

The combination of reinforcement and asphalt ensures strong waterproofing capabilities, making it suitable for industrial environments where weather resistance is paramount. The reflective surface options also contribute to energy efficiency by reducing heat absorption, ultimately enhancing the overall performance and longevity of the roofing system.

Green Roofs (Vegetative Roofs):

Green Roofs, or Vegetative Roofs, are an innovative and sustainable choice for industrial roofing designed to support living vegetation. The system typically includes a waterproofing membrane, drainage layer, soil, and a variety of vegetation that offer various environmental benefits.

Green Roofs enhance insulation, reducing energy costs by regulating temperature extremes and improving a building’s energy efficiency. They also absorb rainwater, reducing stormwater runoff and minimizing the risk of flooding. The living vegetation acts as a natural air filter, improving air quality and mitigating the urban heat island effect.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing:

Known for its versatility and cost-effectiveness, Asphalt Shingle Roofing is a popular choice for industrial roofing and is commonly used for industrial buildings with sloped roofs.
Affordable and easy to install, these roofs consist of individual asphalt shingles, typically reinforced with fiberglass or organic materials.

Available in various colors and styles to suit different architectural preferences, they provide effective waterproofing and UV protection, contributing to the roofing system’s durability.

Roof Tiles:

Roof Tiles are a classic and durable option for industrial roofing, known for their aesthetic appeal and longevity. These tiles are commonly made from materials like clay, concrete, or slate, offering a variety of choices to suit different architectural styles.

Roof tiles provide excellent insulation and are resistant to fire, rot, and insect damage. They also have a long lifespan, making them a sustainable and eco-friendly choice.

Slate Roofing:

Known for its natural beauty and durability, Slate Roofing is a premium and aesthetically pleasing choice for industrial roofing.

Offering excellent resistance to fire, rot, and insect damage, one of its key advantages is its remarkable longevity, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly option.

Composite Roofing:

Composite Roofing is a durable, versatile, and energy-efficient roofing type typically made from a combination of asphalt, fiberglass, and recycled materials.

These roofs are known for their resilience against various weather conditions, including UV exposure, wind, and hail, and often mimic the appearance of traditional roofing materials like wood, slate, or tile, providing aesthetic flexibility. They also tend to be lightweight, reducing the strain on the building’s structure.

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Roofing:

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) roofing is a versatile and energy-efficient solution in industrial roofing that provides excellent insulation, helping to regulate temperature and reduce energy costs. This material is applied as a liquid, expanding into a seamless foam layer that adheres tightly to the roof substrate.

The seamless application eliminates seams and joints, minimizing the risk of leaks and water infiltration. Its reflective surface enhances energy efficiency by reflecting sunlight and reducing cooling costs. SPF roofing can also be applied to various roof shapes and surfaces, making it suitable for complex industrial structures.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Each Roof Type

Each industrial roof type has distinct advantages and drawbacks that you need to consider when deciding.

From the sleek durability of metal roofs to the eco-friendly appeal of green roofs, each option presents a unique set of characteristics.

We break down the key benefits and drawbacks so you can make an informed decision tailored to your specific roofing needs.

  1. Metal Roofs:
    • Benefits: Long lifespan, durability, energy efficiency, and recyclability.
    • Drawbacks: Initial cost, the potential for noise during rainfall, may dent with heavy impact.
  2. Single-Ply Membrane Roofs:
    • Benefits: Lightweight, cost-effective, flexible installation, reflective surfaces for energy efficiency.
    • Drawbacks: Vulnerable to punctures, may have a shorter lifespan than some alternatives.
  3. Built-Up Roofing (BUR):
    • Benefits: Excellent waterproofing, long lifespan, UV-resistant.
    • Drawbacks: Heavyweight, labor-intensive installation, the potential for leaks in seams.
  4. Modified Bitumen Roofing:
    • Benefits: Affordability, flexibility, durability.
    • Drawbacks: Application complexity may not be suitable for all climates.
  5. Green Roofs (Vegetative Roofs):
    • Benefits: Energy efficiency, improved insulation, environmental benefits, aesthetics.
    • Drawbacks: High initial cost, maintenance requirements, weight load concerns.
  6. Asphalt Shingle Roofing:
    • Benefits: Cost-effective, variety of styles, easy installation.
    • Drawbacks: Limited lifespan, may be prone to wind damage.
  7. Roof Tiles:
    • Benefits: Aesthetic appeal, durability, fire resistance. 
      • Drawbacks: Heavyweight, may require additional roof support, higher cost.
  8. Slate Roofing:
    • Benefits: Elegant appearance, fire resistance, long lifespan.
    • Drawbacks: Heavy, expensive, requires specialized installation.
  9. Composite Roofing:
    • Benefits: Variety of styles, durability, lighter than some traditional materials.
    • Drawbacks: Moderate lifespan, potential for color fading.
  10. Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Roofing:
    • Benefits: Seamless insulation, energy efficiency, lightweight.
    • Drawbacks: Requires professional application, the potential for degradation in UV exposure.

Key Factors to Consider When Selecting an Industrial Roofing System

When selecting the ideal industrial roof for a commercial building, it’s essential to consider various factors to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Some of the key factors to consider when selecting your roof system include budget, climate, and building type. Here’s why:


Budget is a pivotal factor when selecting an industrial roof due to its direct impact on the scope of available roofing materials and systems. The financial constraints of a project will significantly influence your choices in terms of the type and quality of roofing materials you can afford.

Understanding your budget allows for a realistic assessment of the available options, enabling you to balance cost-effectiveness and long-term durability.

When creating your budget, it’s crucial to consider the upfront costs of materials and installation and the potential long-term maintenance and repair expenses. By aligning the roofing choice with the allocated budget, you can make strategic decisions that meet both financial constraints and performance requirements, ensuring a sound investment in your commercial property.


Climate plays a crucial role in selecting an industrial roof as it directly impacts roofing materials’ performance, durability, and longevity. Different climates expose roofs to varying environmental conditions, such as temperature extremes, precipitation levels, and UV radiation.

For example, areas with high rainfall may benefit from roofing systems that offer superior water resistance, while regions with intense sunlight may require materials with enhanced UV protection.

Understanding your local climate ensures that the chosen industrial roof can withstand the specific challenges posed by weather conditions. When you consider your climate, you also have the advantage of selecting materials that provide effective insulation against temperature fluctuations, contributing to energy efficiency and reducing heating or cooling costs. By tailoring the roofing system to the climate, you can optimize the resilience and performance of your industrial roof over time.

Building Type

The type of commercial building is also significant, with considerations for its design, size, and purpose. Different commercial roof types and systems may better suit different commercial buildings based on their unique requirements.

For instance, the roofing needs for a large-scale manufacturing facility might prioritize durability, structural support, and insulation to protect valuable equipment and ensure a comfortable working environment. On the other hand, a commercial office building might prioritize aesthetic appeal, energy efficiency, and potentially incorporating green roofing solutions for environmental considerations.

Understanding the specific demands of your building type helps tailor the industrial roof to meet your needs effectively. Whether it’s accommodating heavy machinery loads, providing space for rooftop installations, or adhering to specific design aesthetics, the building type plays a pivotal role in determining the most suitable roofing solution for optimal performance and longevity.

By carefully weighing these factors, you can make an informed decision to install a robust and efficient industrial roof tailored to your specific needs.

The Role of Professional Consultation in Making the Right Roofing Choice

From metal roofs to flat roofs, low slope roofs, and more, trying to select the industrial roofing type best suited to you can be a complex and overwhelming decision.

Professional consultation can remove the stress from the decision and help ensure that the chosen roof is perfectly tailored to your specific needs. Expert roof consultants, like the ones at Bigham Taylor Roofing, possess a deep understanding of the diverse industrial roofing options available and the expertise to evaluate your building’s unique requirements.

Professional consultation provides valuable insights from analyzing the environmental factors and climate considerations to assessing the budget constraints and desired longevity of the roofing solution. This collaborative approach helps property owners navigate the complexities of industrial roofing, ultimately leading to the installation of a durable, efficient, and cost-effective roof that aligns seamlessly with their goals and priorities.

Make a Roofing Choice that Counts

Choosing the right industrial roof is a decision that significantly impacts the longevity, energy efficiency, and overall performance of your facility. With various roofing types available, each presenting unique benefits and drawbacks, seeking professional consultation is paramount.

A roofing expert can assess factors like budget constraints, climate considerations, and building type to guide you toward the optimal solution for your specific needs. Their expertise ensures that your industrial roof meets your immediate requirements and stands the test of time, providing a reliable and durable solution for your commercial building.

Master Certified by leading manufacturers, BT Roof for personalized roofing solutions is here to help you select the industrial roof perfectly suited to your needs.

The first thing we build is relationships. The longevity, growth, and success of Bigham Taylor Roofing over the past 45-plus years are thanks to our relationships with property owners and managers, roofing consultants, and general contractors. We deliver transparency and honesty to foster solid and long-lasting relationships.

How Can We Help? Let’s talk about your roofing needs, and let the team at BT deliver roofing solutions you can rely on.

The first thing we
build is relationships

The longevity, growth, and success of Bigham Taylor Roofing over the past 45-plus years are thanks to our relationships with property owners and managers, roofing consultants, and general contractors. We deliver transparency and honesty to foster solid and long-lasting relationships.