Call us 24/7
Watch our company video

Commercial Roof Types: Common Roofs For Commercial Buildings

February 16th, 2023

Last updated: June 9th, 2023

Though commercial roof types come in many forms, there are some common designs and materials that tend to be used on commercial roofing. Over the years, people have tended to opt for the same types of roofing on their commercial buildings as they try to find something that is affordable, but also long-lasting. Though eventually, you may find yourself requiring commercial roof repair services, getting something that will withstand weather conditions and provide peace of mind for years is always preferable.

In this guide, we delve into the different types of roofing for commercial buildings, with a particular focus on some of the roofing materials.

Flat Roofs – Popular For Commercial Buildings

Before we dive into the materials and types, we should explain a little about why the commercial buildings of the UK tend to have flat roofs (or potentially low-sloping ones). In a home or residential space it is much more likely to find a pitched roof.

Flat roofs are usually preferred in a commercial setting as they are affordable and simple to install, making them a popular choice for commercial landlords. They are not dangerous, but they can suffer if the weather is bad, particularly if rain should build up on the surface. A low slope can help with this as well as quality guttering.

If a roof is pitched it can be more vulnerable to extreme winds and lightning, too, so there are a few different benefits to having a flat or low roof on your commercial building.

Types of Commercial Roofing

Let’s now explore some of the common types of roofing for commercial spaces.

Metal Roofing

A metal roof is usually relatively lightweight as well as being available in a multitude of colours and looks. Some of them may pitch slightly and this can help avoiding problems with vandalism or even graffiti. The sort of metals used can vary, and usually come in the form of cladding or sheeting, as well as potential metal tiles.

These roofs tend to be hard-wearing so it means that they won’t be susceptible to as many design problems, but they can rust over time and this can bring its own set of problems. A quality coating is required.

A lot of the designs use standing seams, which are flexible and good if you have a curved design on your roof. They tend to have a couple of panels of metal sheets and can be put together and installed in relatively good time. The durability and flexibility means they remain very popular.

Single Ply Systems

Single ply are made using membranes that have synthetic polymers in a variety of different designs, and can even be made to look like other materials. You can get a roof that looks metal even if it is not.

The reason this is so popular is that it is pretty robust and good in adverse weather, plus it is good when it comes to insulation, keeping the heat within the building and meaning you don’t spend over the odds on your heating. These designs can be welded easily just using hot air and are also good for awkward designs and shapes of roof, because they are so flexible and versatile.

Felt and Reinforced Bitumen

These systems are very strong, but can also be flexible enough to install in a variety of different spaces and do a good job of keeping the heat in. There are different ways to create and layer these systems, which are called RBM (Reinforced Bituminous Membranes). Often, the felt is attached to the surface by using a gas torch and melding it with the materials of the roof, keeping it in place. Other cold methods bond it by attaching the roof mechanically.

Liquid-Based Polyurethane Roofs

These simply use a polyurethane coating that can be used over the top of a substrate to make a waterproof roof, and it can even be installed without the use of heat, so no gas or heat sources are needed. The bases that are used can vary, and you can use metals as well as asphalt. This is a very solid option for waterproofing, so if you expect the area to be exposed to a lot of water then this could be the best choice for you.


There are many different ways you can approach a roofing repair or replacement, and choosing which is best for the environment you are in is essential.

Need help with your roofing in Yorkshire? Our team of trained and accredited roofers are always safe and secure in how they approach repairs, and will be able to carry out any necessary repairs quickly, so that your business can get back to normal as soon as possible.

Working across Yorkshire, we cover North YorkshireWest YorkshireEast Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and offer a fast, efficient response time to all breakdowns and repairs. Contact us today for all plannedreactive maintenance or emergency call out. Call 01423 226578 or get in touch to see how Robinsons Facilities Services can help.

Regular industry news and company updates, delivered straight to your inbox.

  Information on how we handle your data is contained in our Privacy Policy