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As a commercial building owner, you will eventually face the prospect of a roof repair or replacement. If work on the roof is coming up, you have probably wondered what materials are available, and which ones work best for your building? The most common commercial roof materials include the following:

  • EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
  • TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin)
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • SPF (spray polyurethane foam)
  • Asphalt rolls

Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of each material and pick the right option for your commercial structure.


Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing is also known as rubber roofing. EDPM roofing is very economical. It is both inexpensive and far easier to install than other options. EDPM is also lightweight, which makes reenforcing the roof deck unnecessary. High quality EPDM roofs last up to 20 years.

However, EPDM roofing has some drawbacks. It is less aesthetically pleasing than other roofing types, and its black color absorbs the heat, resulting in additional stress on the air conditioning system. Lighter colors are also available and are highly recommended in hotter climates. EPDM is also less durable, so chances are good you will need to repair some punctures after a strong storm.


A thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roof is also highly economical. In some cases, this option may be cheaper than EPDM. It has a white color, which is a huge advantage in warm climates. TPO roofs also use heat-welded seams, which makes them less prone to leaks.

TPO roofing systems have no built-in fire resistance, so retardants must be added for safety. Like EPDM, this type of roofing material has some weaknesses that may lead to frequent repairs. Because the top layer is laminated, the roof is prone to shrinking, cracking, crazing and deterioration.


Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a plastic material. When used in roofing, it is composed of two layers of PVC with polyester reinforcement between the layers. Additives are also included to make the material stable under UV light and flexible. PVC roofing is light weight and durable.

PVC roofing works best on flat or slightly sloped roofs, where it has a long lifespan. It also has resistance to moisture, fire, wind and chemicals.

SPF Roof

No, SPF does not refer to how long the roof can stay in the sun. It stands for spray polyurethane foam (SPF). This type of roofing is made from a plastic that changes from a liquid to a solid in seconds and then expands about 30 times its size as it dries.

Commercial building owners choose SPF roofing because it is highly sustainable. This type of roof can pay for itself in energy cost savings. A high-quality SPF roofing system also offers superior tensile strength and durability. Provided it has proper maintenance, an SPF roof can last 4o years and up.

There are not many drawbacks to an SPF roof. Mainly, the difficulty of installing and removing SPF roofs are the principal issues. If it is not applied properly, the spray foam loses its durability. Hiring a roofing contractor with experience in SPF roofing installation is essential.

Asphalt Rolled Roofing

Asphalt is usually used for roofs with a low slope. This type of roofing is very inexpensive and easy to install. However, it has a short life expectancy of about ten years. More maintenance and repairs may be needed, due to problems with the seams that hold the rolls together. In addition, asphalt roofing is not energy efficient, so higher utility bills can be expected.

Whichever type of roofing material you choose, you need professional installers to do the job right. Without proper installation, your commercial roof will be prone to cracks, leaks and poor durability. Every roofing installation is a little bit different, which is why the installation experts at MacDermott Roofing, Inc are so valuable.

For over 40 years, we have been providing commercial roofing installation, replacement, and repair throughout the Detroit area and are an Elite Master Contractor and leading expert of the Duro-Last Roofing System. With your new commercial roof installed by MacDermott Roofing you will enjoy a high-performing roofing system for years to come.