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Commercial roofing is a serious investment. It’s important for you to understand the various types of roofs and what they entail before making your decision. This blog post will discuss each type of commercial roof and its benefits and drawbacks so that you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you. 

1. Asphalt shingles

Asphalt is the most common roofing material across the country, so it’s no surprise that it makes up 60% of all roofs. They come in a variety of styles and colors to fit any need. However, asphalt shingles are much less expensive than other materials, which has led many homeowners to use them. The downside is that they don’t last as long as other options tend to. They are designed to last about 20 years but it can be less depending on climate conditions and your location. It’s also very important to make sure you have an experienced installer because if not installed properly they will leak or warp which nullifies their warranty.

2. Metal roofing

Metal roofing materials are known for their durability, low maintenance, and good insulation. However, they are expensive to install because they require a crane or lift to put them up. They will last anywhere from 50-100 years depending on the type you choose. It is also important to note that metal roofs don’t come in many colors so if aesthetics is an important factor of yours this might not be your best option.

3. Clay/Concrete tiles

Clay/concrete tiles are aesthetically pleasing architectural features of Mediterranean homes for centuries. Although they can be made into any shape or color like other options, concrete tiles aren’t very common because they need to be handcrafted which makes them more costly than other options. They last about 70 years on average and can be used in climates that receive very little rainfall or snowfall throughout the year.

4. Flat membrane roofs

Flat membrane roofs are one of the least expensive roofing materials to install and maintain, which is why it’s a great option for small businesses. They are made of rubber-like material that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light, making them durable. If placed correctly they should last anywhere from 20-25 years, but if not maintained properly they may leak or tear easily which will require an expensive repair job down the line. They also come in colors so you aren’t stuck with just black. But because they don’t many ridges, they aren’t as strong as other materials.

5. Slate

Although slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials it can last up to 100 years if cared for properly. They are beautiful and have a classy look that many homeowners choose to take advantage of. It’s also very durable and has a variety of color options, but it does come with its own set of cons that you should take into consideration before making your choice. For example, slate roofs need to be repaired by a professional who has experience working with this type of material because incorrectly installed pieces could cause leaks or damage to the entire structure itself. If you hire a contractor for installation without experience you will not be covered under warranty which means you will be stuck with a very expensive headache.

6. Tile

Tile roofs are considered a staple of Spanish architecture because they take advantage of the clay available throughout the country. They look great and have been used for centuries, but require significant maintenance to ensure that they last as long as possible. They come in all shapes and sizes so you’re not limited by color options either which is always nice to see. However, tile roofs tend to leak after about 20 years if not properly maintained – this also means that you will have tons of leaks throughout those 20 years so it’s important to realize what type of maintenance your roof will need before making a final decision on whether or not it’s worth it to with this material.

7. Wood

Wood roofs have been used in some form or another since the beginning of time so they are a tried-and-true option that many people choose to take advantage of these days. They require a lot of maintenance but if you’re dedicated to doing it, wood can last for up to 30 years (depending on the type you choose). It is important to make sure your roof is installed by someone who knows what they are doing because improperly installed pieces will warp or rot over time which means an expensive repair down the line or having to install all new tiles altogether. You may be better off choosing any other material that lasts this long (within reason) simply due to how much work has to go into properly maintaining them before, during and after installation.

8. Copper

Copper roofs aren’t as popular as they once were because the price is much higher than other options, making it unfeasible for most homeowners and especially businesses. They look stunning though so if you have a high budget and want to create a sharp-looking aesthetic, this may be a good option to take a closer look at. The price comes from how difficult it is to install – there are many pieces involved which makes the entire process very time consuming – but the benefits of having copper on your roof far exceed those of other materials because it’s fireproof, weatherproof, extremely long lasting (it can last up to 50 years depending on maintenance), comes in various colors and is very durable. To keep the price manageable though, it’s important to install it correctly which means hiring a contractor who has experience working with copper (or other metal roofs).

9. Aluminum

Aluminum roofs are popular throughout the commercial industry because they are easy to install and take advantage of all the benefits that aluminum brings. It has high durability, fire proofness, weather proofness and comes in colors so you’re not stuck with just black or gray – although those are definitely the most common options. When properly installed, aluminum doesn’t require much maintenance either so you won’t be spending your weekends up on your roof fixing leak after leak if everything goes off without a hitch during installation. However, the biggest drawback is that aluminum can corrode if exposed to salt which means it’s not a good option for coastal areas or regions that get a lot of snow and rain.

10. Zinc

Zinc roofs are a popular commercial roofing option because they require very little maintenance over time, making them a favorite among contractors who have to deal with roofs on a regular basis. It requires no painting or varnishing so once it is properly installed there isn’t much work to be done in terms of upkeep which is always nice to see from an outside perspective. They also come in various colors so you’re not stuck with just black or gray – although those are definitely the most common options. Zinc has been known to corrode when exposed to salt (which is why it’s not a good option for coastal areas) but with proper installation, this shouldn’t be an issue.

11. Plastic Polymer

Plastic polymer roofs are becoming more popular throughout the commercial industry as time goes on due to how inexpensive they are compared to some of the other options out there. The downfall, however, is that they can only last up to 20 years so you have to weigh the short lifespan against how cheap they are when making your final decision on whether or not this is right for your business. They also require very little maintenance over time which makes them extremely cost effective in the long run – just make sure that whoever installs them knows what they’re doing and doesn’t cut any corners.

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12. Plastic Polymer Modified

Plastic polymer modified roofs are the new and improved version of standard plastic polymer roofs which means you can get all the pros of having a commercial roof installed without any of the cons. What does this mean for you and your business? It basically translates to higher durability, better fireproofing, more color options and longer lifespan. It is important to note that the price is slightly higher than standard plastic polymer roofs but it’s well worth it in terms of quality. If you want your roof to last as long as possible while still staying within budget, this may be just what you need.




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Helen is a real estate agent. She specialises in apartment buildings and has been working for Brick Real Estate located in Springfield, Massachusetts for almost five years. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College before completing her Master's degree at the University of Connecticut. It was after this that she took up office work with several local brokers including one of the largest commercial real estate companies in New England. However, after four years of desk-based work she decided to move back to where she grew up and become a residential broker instead; this way she could spend more time outdoors and less behind a desk or computer screen. Helen also works as a yoga instructor during the weekends because her current job can be quite demanding and strenuous on her body, especially her back. She also enjoys yoga because it is a great way to relieve stress and stay relaxed at the same time.

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