Roofing Styles

Flat Roofs

Commercial flat roofs are not entirely flat, with about a 10-degree incline, and have architectural influence from Egyptian, Persian, and Arabian styles. These roofs are more cost-effective than other roof types simply because they require less material, which generally means a quicker installation. Flat roofs tend to be stronger than pitched-roofs.  They offer a bit of diversity because the even surface enables use for installing solar panels, roof gardens, roof pools, and decks.  There are several color options, but white is the most common color used because of its light-reflecting and energy-saving properties.

Maintenance is the easiest with a flat roof since it is accessible to workers.  Workmen can efficiently walk around to perform drain cleaning.

Although the roof is at a slight angle, the largest issue is draining.  Large amounts of water can accumulate, which deteriorates the roofing material.  This concern can be alleviated by installing automatic siphons for ponds in the center point of the roof because it acts as a vacuum for water that was never drained.

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Low-Sloped Roofs

Typical of factories, apartment buildings, and industrial buildings low-sloped roofs usually slope at ¼ to ½ an inch per foot.  This roofing is very similar to flat-roofs but has a slightly larger slope. The 3 components of this roof are the roof membrane, installation, and deck.  This style is effective for water runoff, so this option would be suitable for Florida business owners. Low-sloped roofs are easier to maintain and safer for workers when compared to pitched roofs.

Like flat roofing, low-sloped roof installation, maintenance, and repair are relatively easy to carry out.  Both flat and low-sloped roofing are installed with the same materials: rubber rolled roofing, EPDM, TPO, bitumen, and modified bitumen.  The only disadvantage is that snow can build up quickly, adding heavyweight that the roof has to withstand. Luckily, this isn’t an issue in Naples, Florida.

This is a picture of a Inspecting a roof.

Pitched Roofs

Pitched roofs are more commonly used for homes, though commercial businesses use them as well.  The steep angle of the roof is what makes this style the most effective for avoiding rainwater collection.  All water and snow run off the steep slope. This essentially means that there is less opportunity for damage and less need for maintenance compared to the other styles.

If the roof does need repair or maintenance, however, it is difficult for workmen to navigate on the roof.  More safety precautions are needed. 

Commercial Roofing Materials


Metal roofing is great for the environment, energy-efficient, and weather-resistant.  The best quality though is the durability this material provides — metal roofs can last up to 70 years.  Because of the long lifespan that metal roofs provide, they save you money on maintenance and replacement. For years, metal roofing had a plain sheet metal with grooves appearance.  You have probably seen exactly that on barns, sheds, and warehouses. Today, metal roofing can emit whatever aesthetic you desire in whatever architectural style you have.

This is a picture of a metal roof system.

Typically made up of copper, steel, or aluminum, metal roofing can be configured into many shapes.  This material can even mimic the look of shingles or tiles.

Metal will save you money in the long-run because it does not need replacement or excessive maintenance.  It is lightweight and light reflective, which diverts heat away from the building. This roofing prevents the spreading of wildfires and they are recyclable when it eventually is time for a roof replacement.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

This roofing material option is most commonly used on low-slope roofs.  This roof is made up of layered reinforcing fabric, bitumen (asphalt), ply sheets, and aggregate (stone or gravel).  The layering ensures the roof is a continuous sealed surface.

It is estimated that built-up roofing lasts between 15 to 30 years, but can last up to 40 years.  This material is great for warmer climates. They are fire-resistant, waterproof, and have ultra-violet light protection.  The installation process can be painful in terms of time and money, but once it is installed, there is little maintenance needed.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Membrane

PVC is the most popular roofing material used commercially.  It is designed for strength and durability — it is required for roofing membrane to at least withstand 200 pounds per inch, but can typically muscle 350 pounds per inch.

This material has a life expectancy of 20 years requiring little maintenance.  It is resistant to chemicals, which is a necessity for manufacturing facilities.  PVC is wind and fire-resistant. It can self-extinguish fires and has endured category 3 hurricanes.  The membrane is designed to remain watertight and is environmentally friendly.

Modified Bitumen

Bitumen roofing, also called torch down roofing, is a combination of asphalt and filler substances that can be applied to the roof in both hot and cold temperatures.  This material has a lower lifespan relative to the other material options, requiring replacement after 10-15 years. The asphalt bonds any seems on the roof together, which prevents leaks.  Bitumen’s quality durability reduces the chance of cracks. It is also weatherproof.

There are several disadvantages in the use of this material.  Because the surface is black, it attracts heat making the building require more air conditioning, ultimately using more energy.  It also holds water after a rainfall, which ages and damages the roof. It is durable when installed correctly.

Concrete Tile

Although this material is less frequently used for commercial buildings, they are attractive and durable.  Typically made of tinted concrete, terra cotta, or fired clay, this material is heavy and expensive. Concrete tiles are versatile because they come in any shape and size.  It is vital to have a strong foundation beneath the tiles so that the weight of the tiles can be structurally supported. 

This material has the longest lifespan with the ability to last over 100 years.  These tiles have the ability to withstand harsh weather conditions and they will never decay.  Additionally, tiles are environmentally friendly and can be recycled. They require low maintenance — only for repair if a tile breaks. 

Concrete tiles do cost a lot.  They can even be 3 times as expensive as an asphalt roofing system.  Installation is long and tedious and can break under heavy pressure like a fallen tree.

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Commercial Roofing Options

There are a lot of styles and materials available, but you can choose according to your budget.  Longevity is worth the investment and will pay off in the long-run. At Tornado Roofing Company, we will work with you and your budget to install whatever roof suits your needs.  We orient ourselves around saving you time, money, and stress. We strive towards providing the highest quality and have been for 20 years, so let us help you protect your business. If you’re looking for the most reliable and highest quality roofing contractor in South Florida, give Tornado Roofing a call today.