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4 Kinds of Commercial Flat Roofs That Last

| 6-minutes Read

When it comes to commercial properties, having a durable and long-lasting roof is essential for protecting your investment and ensuring the safety of occupants. With various types of commercial flat roofing systems available, property owners and business owners need to know which options offer the best combination of durability, longevity, and cost-effectiveness. In this guide, we’ll explore four kinds of commercial flat roofs known for their durability and lasting performance. From traditional options to innovative solutions, understanding these roofing materials will help you make informed decisions for your commercial property.

Inside this blog:

  • The 4 popular types of commercial flat roofs to consider
  • Features + benefits for each type of roofing system

Keep reading to learn all about commercial flat roofs and determine which one is the right choice for your property.

1. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)


Built-Up Roofing, or BUR, is one of the oldest and most traditional flat roofing systems used in commercial buildings. It consists of multiple layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics, such as fiberglass or polyester, alternated with layers of bitumen-saturated felts. The layers are built up to create a durable, waterproof membrane that withstands weathering and foot traffic. BUR roofs offer several advantages:

Proven Performance

BUR roofs have a long track record of performance and reliability, with some lasting 20 to 30 years or more with proper maintenance. This proven track record gives property owners peace of mind knowing that their investment will provide lasting protection for their building.

Fire Resistance

The multiple layers of bitumen and gravel surfacing provide excellent fire resistance, making BUR roofs suitable for buildings with strict fire safety requirements. This fire resistance is especially important in commercial and industrial settings where fire hazards may be a concern.


While the initial installation cost of BUR roofs may be higher than some other options, their long lifespan and low maintenance requirements make them a cost-effective choice over time. With fewer repairs and replacements needed, property owners can save money on roofing expenses in the long run, making BUR roofs a wise investment for commercial and industrial properties.

2. Modified Bitumen Roofing


Modified Bitumen Roofing is a popular choice for commercial flat roofs due to its versatility and durability. It is composed of asphalt-based sheets reinforced with fiberglass or polyester, modified with rubber or plastic polymers to enhance performance. Modified bitumen roofing offers several benefits:


The rubber or plastic modifiers added to the asphalt make modified bitumen roofing systems more flexible and resistant to temperature fluctuations, reducing the risk of cracking and splitting. This flexibility allows the roofing material to expand and contract with changes in temperature, enhancing its durability and longevity.

Easy Installation

This type of roof system can be installed using various methods, including heat welding, cold adhesives, or self-adhesive sheets, making it suitable for different building structures and configurations. This versatility in installation methods allows for quicker and more efficient installation, reducing labor costs and project timelines.

UV Resistance

Many modified bitumen products come with UV-resistant coatings or granules to protect against sun damage, prolonging the life of the roof and reducing maintenance requirements. This UV resistance helps prevent premature aging and deterioration of the roofing material, ensuring long-term performance and durability.

3. Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

Single-Ply Membrane Roofing is a lightweight and cost-effective option for commercial flat roofs. It consists of a single layer of synthetic polymer or rubber membrane that is mechanically attached, adhered, or ballasted to the roof substrate. Single-ply membrane roofing offers several advantages:

Energy Efficiency

Some single-ply membranes are available in light colors or with reflective coatings that help reduce heat absorption, lowering cooling costs and improving energy efficiency. This not only benefits the environment by reducing energy consumption but also saves businesses money on utility bills in the long run.

Low Maintenance

Single-ply membrane roofing requires minimal maintenance and is resistant to mold, mildew, and algae growth, making it an attractive option for property owners looking to minimize upkeep. With less time and effort spent on maintenance tasks, property owners can focus on other aspects of their business or property management responsibilities.

Quick Installation

The lightweight nature of single-ply membrane roofing makes it easy to transport and install, reducing labor costs and disruption to building occupants during the installation process. This means businesses can resume normal operations more quickly, minimizing downtime and potential revenue loss.

4. Green Roofing Systems

Green Roofing Systems, also known as vegetative or eco-roofs, are gaining popularity in commercial construction due to their environmental benefits and aesthetic appeal. These roofs incorporate layers of vegetation, soil, and drainage systems to create a living, growing ecosystem on the roof surface. Green roofing systems offer several advantages:

Environmental Benefits

Green roofs help reduce urban heat island effect, improve air quality, and provide habitat for wildlife, contributing to a healthier and more sustainable urban environment. Additionally, they absorb rainwater, reducing the risk of urban flooding and stormwater runoff.

Energy Efficiency

The vegetation and soil layers act as natural insulation, reducing heat transfer and energy consumption for heating and cooling, leading to lower utility bills and improved indoor comfort. This can be especially beneficial for commercial buildings striving to achieve green building certifications and meet sustainability goals.


While the initial installation cost of green roofs may be higher than traditional roofing systems, their extended lifespan and reduced maintenance requirements can result in long-term cost savings and increased property value. With proper maintenance, green roofs can last 40 years or more, providing a durable and sustainable roofing solution for commercial properties.

🏗️ Is Flat Roofing Right For Your Commercial Property?

Choosing the right flat roofing system for your commercial property is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration of factors such as durability, longevity, maintenance requirements, and budget. By understanding the characteristics and benefits of different roofing materials, property owners and business owners can make informed decisions that meet their specific needs and goals.

Whether opting for traditional options like BUR and modified bitumen or exploring innovative solutions like single-ply membranes and green roofing systems, investing in a quality roof is essential for protecting your investment and ensuring the long-term success of your commercial property.

Get in touch with our team of roofing contractors at Premiere Roofing & Gutters for any questions or concerns about the roof that hangs over your home’s head. We’re excited to help bring your next roofing vision to life! 

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