Friday, December 8, 2023

The Most Common Commercial Roofing Materials for Rhode Island Businesses


One of the most important components of a business structure is the roofing material. Business owners in Rhode Island must ensure that the material they select complements the structure’s beauty while also providing comfort, efficiency, and longevity.

These are some common commercial roofing materials:

  • EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
  • Thermoplastic Polyolefin Roof (TPO)
  • PVC or polyvinyl chloride roofing
  • SPF (A spray polyurethane foam)
  • Asphalt Rolled Roofing

What Is the Most Popular Commercial Roofing Material?

Commercial buildings have a variety of roofing options; however, the following are some of the most common for commercial roofing in Warwick:

  • Metal Roofing
  • Modified Bitumen Roofing
  • Thermoset Roof Membrane
  • Green Roofing
  • Spray-on Roofing
  • Shingle

Among all of them, shingles are more commonly applied on commercial buildings, particularly those with steep rooflines. Shingles are available in various materials, including asphalt, architectural, slate, plastic, and ceramic, and they’re useful because they’re simple to install, inexpensive, and adaptable. 

What Are Most Commercial Flat Roofs Made Of?

Flat coverings are made of various materials that keep the house dry and preserve a comfortable microclimate. Among them are:

  • Primers and mastics ensure that joints are properly sealed, and waterproofing is added.
  • Bituminous covering system.
  • Drainage system.
  • PVC membrane to create a durable and reliable waterproofing layer.

What Is the Difference Between TPO and EPDM?

Cost, durability, maintenance, ease of installation, and energy efficiency may all decide which roofing system to use. Based on these criteria, below are some significant differences between TPO and EPDM:


EPDM roofs are the least expensive single-ply roofing membrane. Roofing membranes made of TPO are more expensive than EPDM roofing membranes. It is best to spend more money and invest in a thicker membrane, regardless of your choice. EPDM and TPO roofs that are thicker perform better and stay longer.


EPDM roofing is known for its long lifespan. EPDM roofs, made of a rubber mixture, have been around for decades. It is a long-lasting roofing material resistant to ultraviolet light, ozone, oxidants, and extreme weather. In colder areas, an EPDM membrane will outperform a TPO membrane.

TPO glue has nearly four times the strength of EPDM glue and taped seams, and it’s made to last as long. Different TPO membranes work differently due to constant adjustments and advancements in the formulation. TPO reacts poorly to ponding water, causing splits and cracks, and it does not have a high thermal and solar overload resistance. 


A correctly placed EPDM membrane will not require much maintenance at the beginning of its service life. Unlike TPO, however, EPDM seams are coated with an adhesive, rendering them susceptible to falling apart. It means that an EPDM roof will require care to stay in good shape in the long run. TPO membranes require more maintenance than EPDM membranes. Welding new materials to a TPO membrane is difficult because compounds lose their flexibility and thus their thermoplastic characteristics as they age. 


 A TPO roofing membrane is more difficult to install than an EPDM rubber roof. EPDM installation does not necessitate any special tools, but TPO requires hot air welding. It makes TPO roofing membrane installation more difficult and expensive and requires specific skills. While a novice roofing contractor may successfully install an EPDM membrane, a TPO roof should only be installed by an expert contractor. Improper installation will almost always result in leaks, necessitating costly repairs or replacement.

What Is Bitumen Roofing?

Modified Bitumen roofing is an asphalt-based cousin to Built-Up-Roof (BUR) roofing designed for low-slope or “flat” roof structures. Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems are built to survive exposure to adverse weather conditions. It’s one of the most trusted flat roofing systems on the market today, with five levels of protection.

What Is PVC Roofing?

PVC is a single-ply roofing material made of polyvinyl chloride (or, in layman’s terms, plastic). It contains less oil and petroleum than TPO or EPDM. PVC is a surprisingly tough material. Because PVC is so strong and durable, it may be installed by heat welding the seams instead of using adhesive or a taped seam like other membranes. This type of installation allows a PVC roof to expand and contract with the structure. Solvent welding can seal PVC, and adhesives attach it to metal flashing and other components.

Chemicals, water leaks, UV radiation, and fire are all protected by this tough material. PVC is resilient to sun damage and discoloration due to its cool reflecting qualities.

What Is the Most Popularly Used Type of Roofing Material?

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in today’s homes. Its popularity relates to it being the cheapest roofing option available.

Asphalt shingles and other components make up most of an asphalt roof. The beautiful thing about asphalt roofs is that you can choose from various shingles depending on your budget and desired style. According to Forbes Advisor, you can spend between $2 and $6 per square foot for asphalt shingle installation.


When choosing a commercial roofing system, numerous options are available for your Rhode Island business. Contact experienced roofing professionals to help you decide on the best solution.