Industrial Roofing: What are the Different Types?

industrial roofing, roof types, Industrial Roofing: What are the Different Types?

Industrial Roofing: What are the Different Types?

When it comes to picking roofing materials, there’s a ton of different choices. Each one comes with its own set of pros and cons. While roofing all accomplishes the same goal of keeping the structure underneath protected, the needs of a homeowner and that of an industrial location are different. Some types of roofing are used in both applications, and others are found primarily in industrial applications.


Below are some different types of roofing you’ll want to consider in either a new build, or a renovation of your facility.


TPO: Thermoplastic Polyolefin


If you are looking for a material that is durable, but cost-efficient, TPO might be for you. It’s a single-ply membrane that is made of layers of ethylene-propylene rubber and a filler of either talc carbon or fiberglass.


It can be attached using specialized anchors, or directly adhered to the roof through tar mop or adhesive. It is also possible to use it in built-up roofs. If fire resistance is a concern, be sure to opt for a TPO membrane that has been treated with retardant and is UL listed.


These membranes are reported to have a generous 30-year lifespan, and are relatively easy to install, making them a great choice for many commercial property owners.


While there are some fantastic advantages to using TPO, one downside is that this type of technology is really new. With only about 10-15 years of use, it’s a little hard to know if it will actually last for 30 years.


Another reported disadvantage is that it appears to break down a little faster in areas of the country that are especially hot. Ask a roofer who is experienced in TPO installation if it’s the right choice for you.


Thermoset or EPDM Roofing


EPDM is similar to TPO in that it is a single-ply membrane. One of the major differences between these two is that EPDM is usually black, rather than light-colored. It’s one of those least expensive roofing material types at $4 to $8 per square foot.


It’s resistant to fire, cold, UV, acid, and chemicals. Not all of these may apply in your installation, but it’s good to know it can handle just about anything you throw at it! Now, while it is durable to conditions, it is more susceptible to damage from things like hail, branches being blown in a storm, or even workers walking on the roof with improper footwear.


Concerned about the temperature of your building and having a black EPDM roof? Despite the material being black, it can be modified with white acrylic paint so that the sun is reflected and your building will stay cooler.


Because of the risk of cracking from objects, you’ll want to very carefully get up and take a look at the roof a few times a year. Check for cracks or blisters and if you notice any problems, contact an expert roofer like Horizon right away.


Built-Up Roofs:


This is one of the oldest styles of roofing in the United States. The style became popular for commercial roofing about 50 years ago. These roofs typically are made up of several different layers.


First, there’s a bitumen layer usually of asphalt or coal art. On top of that, layers of tar fabric or fiberglass are put down. Then on the very top, there’s a layer of gravel or aggregate. The many layers make these types of roofs waterproof, fire-resistant and durable. It’s also a fairly cost efficient option to consider.


Every style of roofing has some disadvantages. One is that water can pool in certain areas. Another is the potential for cracks or blisters to develop.


Easy preventive maintenance is key. A qualified roofer should head up at least every couple of years to check for blisters, split joints or water pooling. If you stick to this preventative maintenance, your roof can last for decades!


Asphalt Shingles


Don’t overlook this tried and true option for commercial buildings. It’s extremely important where aesthetics are a concern. You’ll have a wide choice of colors and styles. On sloped roofs, shingles are a great choice.


Shingles can last up to 30 years, so this is a great choice for long-term durability. One factor that you need to consider in the predicted lifespan is the quality of the shingles themselves. Stay away from 3 tab shingles, which are the most affordable, but are extremely susceptible to wind.


Architectural or designer shingles are more expensive, at close to $100 per square, but they have an extremely high level of wind and hail resistance.
Spray Polyurethane Foam Roofing


This type of roofing, also called “SPF”, is sprayed on as a liquid. It then expands into a foam, which then dries and hardens into a rigid, solid layer.


The primary advantage of SPF is its energy efficiency. This efficiency is measured in an index called the “R Value,” and SPF delivered one of the highest R levels per inch of any roofing material.

Installation of SPF is actually fairly easy and straightforward. It can actually be applied over much of the existing roof, which means the cost is reduced greatly.


What’s great about SPF is that the foam is flexible enough to accommodate the expansion or contraction of the structure. This reduces cracks and splitting. If any cracks do appear, it’s actually possible to simply recoat and renew the foam for at least some time.


Metal Roofing


This venerable choice is used on many buildings around the country. Like shingles, you can choose various colors and materials to get the look you like.


Durability is also a huge plus for metal roofs. It can stand up to high winds and inches of snow. It’s one of the best choices for fire resistance. Want even more durability in your metal roof? Have it coated to increase UV, rust, and water resistance.


Metal roofs do have their share of disadvantages. One of the biggest is noise. The sound of a metal roof during rain or hail can be fairly deafening. Compared to asphalt or shingles, the noise can be nearly 50 decibels higher. If you have a noisy factory underneath it might not be a concern, but if you are trying to operate a call center, you may want to consider a different option.

Horizon Roofing – serving the Orange County, CA area – is your reliable local roofing contractors. We specialize in residential roofing and commercial roofing and have been in the industry for over a decade. We have excellent reviews and look forward to serving your need.


Call us on(714) 328-1967, email us at, or contact us here today.

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