Types of Industrial Roofing

Types of Industrial Roofing

Industrial construction is a different animal. The scale of the buildings, the variations in design, and the specific functions all require special thought and care in the planning phase. Part of that planning relates to roofing. When a building is so specialized, it typically needs a particular set of metrics for its roof.

Because of that, there are many different types of industrial roofing. They come in all kinds of designs and colors, and you need to know the basics to have any hope of getting the best roof for your commercial building. This overview covers the five most common industrial roofing materials and what makes them special.


Metal roofing shows up a lot in industrial construction. Metal roofs are strong, versatile, and often very affordable. It’s easy to see the benefits of this kind of roof. But there is one pressing concern. You don’t want a roof that will rust in the rain.

As a solution to this, metal roofs come in variations designed to do well against the elements. The most common metals in the industry are various types of treated steel. Galvanized and Galvalume steels have an outer layer that is very resistant to rust. Stainless steel is mixed in a way that it will never rust, and a few less common steels use treatment layers after installation to battle water.

If you’re willing to spend a little more money, aluminum is a great metal choice. It’s still extremely strong, but it won’t rust and can handle other sources of corrosion well too.

Going up in price, you can get a copper roof. While it costs considerably more money, copper roofing is known to last in excess of 50 years. There are some historical copper roofs that are multiple centuries old.


Built-up roofing gets its name from the construction style. Multiple layers are involved in the construction, so the final form is built up from the initial layer of roofing. The top layer is the traditional tar and gravel that is so common among commercial roofs, and this is probably the most popular roofing choice among commercial buildings.

The built-up style makes the final roof heavy but adaptable. It can handle heavy weights on top, and because it uses gravel on top, it’s great for making the space of the roof usable. This is one of the two best roofing styles for a commercial roof that will have a lot of foot traffic, and that’s one of the reasons it is so popular.


Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) is a relative newcomer to the industry. It has been around for more than 20 years, but has only seen a dramatic rise in popularity in the last decade. That’s mostly because it took a lot of roofing contractors time to master the new materials and techniques.

TPO is now one of the most popular options for commercial roofing for a couple of reasons. First, it is an incredibly resilient material. It’s great at resisting punctures. It’s entirely waterproof, and it holds up well against a wide range of chemicals.

Most of all, TPO is great against UV. It reflects enough UV that it can significantly lower cooling costs for a commercial building, and that makes it appealing.


Thermoset (EPDM) was the industry standard for single-ply roofing before TPO cut into its market share. This is another of the most robust commercial roofing options out there. It’s easy to install and repair. It’s also good against UV light and completely waterproof.

It’s basically a rubber roof. If you aren’t worried about chemical resistance, EPDM is better in terms of installation and maintenance costs. Because of that, it is usually more cost-effective than TPO.

When you’re choosing between TPO and EPDM, the better choice will depend on the specific needs of your commercial building and roof.

Modified Bitumen

Modified Bitumen is similar to built-up roofing in that it uses multiple layers. Modified Bitumen is a two-ply system. With the extra layers, it has great tensile strength. It’s not quite as affordable and simple to install compared to built-up roofing, but it’s stronger on top than its primary competitor. Because of the raw strength, it’s the other of the two best roofs for heavy foot traffic.

There’s a great roofing material for every industrial building. You simply need to find the right tools for the task at hand. If you want more help with that, contact Paradigm Roofing in DFW and Collin County. We can discuss your needs and help you make a plan that is sure to work. When you’re ready, we’ll install your roof to the highest standards.