Commercial roofing alternatives

In today’s commercial landscape, the shift towards sustainable, energy-efficient, and cost-effective roofing options is not just a trend—it’s a vital response to the pressing challenges of our era. As urbanization accelerates and climate change intensifies, the demand for green building practices has never increased. Traditional roofing materials, while time-tested, increasingly fall short of meeting the complex demands of modern energy codes and environmental goals. This pressing need has catalyzed innovation within the roofing industry, leading to the development and adoption of alternative roofing solutions. These roofing alternatives are not just designed to align with today’s sustainability and financial imperatives; they’re reshaping expectations, offering commercial properties the opportunity to significantly reduce their ecological footprint while enhancing energy efficiency and cost savings.

In the following sections, we unpack the benefits and considerations of various roofing alternatives, providing insights to help businesses make informed decisions in their quest for more sustainable and cost-effective roofing solutions.

Want to find out which roofing alternative is most viable for your business? Click here to find an American WeatherStar Approved Contractor near you.

Popular Roofing Alternatives for Commercial Properties

Before diving into the array of roofing alternatives available for commercial properties, it’s essential to recognize these buildings’ unique challenges and demands. From weather resilience and energy efficiency to sustainability and aesthetic appeal, the right roofing solution must tick multiple boxes to meet the needs of a commercial space truly. The evolving landscape of roofing technology has brought forth innovative options that address these requirements and offer enhanced durability and cost-effectiveness. As we explore these alternatives, consider how each aligns with your property’s specific needs, environmental goals, and budgetary constraints, ensuring your choice contributes to your business’s long-term success and sustainability.

1. Cool Roofing Systems

Cool roofing systems are at the forefront of roofing innovation, offering a pragmatic approach to reducing energy consumption and mitigating urban heat islands. By reflecting solar radiation, these roofs maintain lower surface temperatures, directly impacting a building’s interior climate. Applying reflective roof coatings is a straightforward, cost-effective method to transform existing roofs into energy-saving cool roofs. These coatings, available in various materials, including elastomeric and silicone-based solutions, reflect sunlight, are waterproof, and protect the roof, extending its service life.

2. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has evolved significantly from its utilitarian roots. Today’s metal roofs offer superior durability, energy efficiency, and a wide range of aesthetic options. Coatings applied to metal roofs can enhance their reflective properties, contributing to energy savings like cool roofs. Metal’s longevity and recyclability make it an environmentally friendly choice, appealing to businesses committed to sustainability.

3. Liquid Roofing Systems

Liquid roofing represents a versatile, innovative solution for commercial roofing. These systems are particularly advantageous for buildings with complex roof geometries, as the liquid coating can seamlessly cover irregular shapes and hard-to-reach areas, ensuring a watertight seal. The flexibility of liquid roofing systems allows for application over various substrates, including concrete, metal, and bituminous surfaces, making them a versatile option for roof refurbishment or new construction projects.

4. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing, commonly known as BUR, is a time-tested option that consists of multiple layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics that create a finished membrane. BUR is known for its robust durability and waterproofing capabilities, making it a reliable choice for areas with variable weather conditions. Its layered approach allows for high levels of flexibility in terms of insulation and thickness, catering to the specific needs of a property.

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5. Single-Ply Roofing

Single-ply roofing systems, including TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin), EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) membranes, offer a lightweight, flexible, and cost-effective roofing solution. These membranes are easy to install and provide excellent weather resistance and durability. Their reflective properties can also contribute to reduced cooling costs, making them a popular choice for businesses looking to enhance energy efficiency.

6. Modified Bitumen (Mod-Bit) Roofing

Modified Bitumen Roofing is an evolution of the traditional built-up roofing method, incorporating modern polymer technology to improve flexibility, durability, and temperature resistance. It’s typically applied in heated rolls to adhere to the roof surface, creating a waterproof layer that’s tough against weather and foot traffic. This type of roofing is particularly valued for its ease of repair and maintenance.

Recommended Reading: Modified Bitumen Roofing: The Complete Guide

7. Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Roofing

SPF roofing is a seamless roofing option made from a spray-applied polyurethane foam. This material expands to form a solid, insulating layer that covers the entire roof, filling gaps, seams, and cracks. It offers excellent insulation properties, reducing energy costs significantly. Its waterproof and lightweight nature makes it adaptable for various roofing needs.

8. Asphalt Shingle Roofing for Commercial Use

While more commonly associated with residential properties, asphalt shingles can also be used in commercial applications, especially on steep rooflines. They offer a cost-effective solution with a wide range of colors and styles. Modern, high-quality asphalt shingles are durable, with options designed for improved wind resistance and energy efficiency through reflective granules.

9. Solar Roofs

Solar roofing technology merges traditional functionality with solar panels’ renewable energy capabilities. This integration protects from the elements and turns roof spaces into power-generating assets. The advent of thin-film solar cells and integrated photovoltaic (PV) tiles has made solar roofs more aesthetically pleasing and easier to install. While the upfront cost can be significant, the long-term energy savings, combined with potential tax incentives and grants, make solar roofs an attractive investment for forward-thinking businesses.

10. Green Roofs

While ancient, green roofs have gained modern appeal for their multifaceted benefits. Beyond their aesthetic value, green roofs serve as living insulation layers, reducing heat transfer through the roof and improving thermal regulation within the building. They also contribute to biodiversity, create recreational spaces, and manage stormwater runoff, reducing the burden on urban sewer systems. However, implementing green roofs requires careful planning, considering weight load, maintenance needs, and initial costs.

Advantages of Roof Coatings as a Roofing Alternative

In a world where the demand for sustainable and efficient building practices is ever-increasing, roof coatings have emerged as a beacon of innovation in commercial roofing. These versatile solutions rejuvenate aging roofs and offer myriad benefits beyond mere reflectivity. Roof coatings are cost-effective alternatives to traditional and often costly total roof replacements; roof coatings embody the power of modern technology to enhance building durability, promote environmental stewardship, and streamline property maintenance.

  • Durability and Protection: Our advanced formulations are designed to shield roofs from harsh UV rays, moisture, and extreme temperatures, significantly extending their service life and preserving the building's integrity. This enhanced durability is a testament to the coatings' ability to revitalize existing roofing systems, reducing the need for expensive and disruptive roof overhauls.
  • Eco-Friendly Solutions: Committed to sustainability, our low-VOC coatings improve work environments and align with green building practices. By reducing the ecological footprint of roofing maintenance and construction, these eco-friendly options contribute to healthier indoor and outdoor environments, reflecting our growing emphasis on environmental responsibility.
  • Ease of Use: The straightforward application process of our coatings reduces labor costs and minimizes operational downtime. This efficiency makes roof coatings an efficient choice for any commercial property, emphasizing their role in enhancing operational continuity without compromising performance.
  • Energy Efficiency: Our coatings minimize heat absorption by reflecting sunlight, substantially lowering cooling needs and energy consumption. This attribute translates into significant cost savings and a reduced environmental impact over the roof's lifespan, offering long-term benefits beyond energy efficiency.

Our innovative roof coatings deliver a blend of resilience, sustainability, and cost efficiency, positioning them as an ideal solution for businesses looking to enhance their commercial properties. With a focus on supporting our clients through every step—from selection to application—we ensure that your roofing investment meets and exceeds expectations.

Ready to enhance your commercial roofing system? Contact an American WeatherStar representative to discover more about our solutions and how they can benefit your property.

Making the Right Choice Among Roofing Alternatives

Deciding on the best roofing alternative for your commercial space is more than just a practical decision; it’s a commitment to the future of your property. As we navigate through an era where sustainability and efficiency are paramount, the plethora of innovative roofing solutions available today offers a unique opportunity to align your property with these essential values. From the energy-saving benefits of cool roofs to the ecological advantages of green roofs, the renewable potential of solar roofs, the enduring nature of metal roofing, and the adaptability of liquid roofing systems, each option brings its own set of advantages to the table.

Roof coatings, in particular, have carved out a niche for themselves in this diverse marketplace. Their ability to breathe new life into existing roofs while enhancing energy efficiency and environmental sustainability is remarkable. With their sunlight-reflective capabilities, low environmental impact, and ease of application, these coatings present a compelling case for anyone looking to improve their commercial property’s roofing system efficiently and effectively.

Choosing the ideal roofing alternative is about understanding the unique needs of your property and balancing them with your long-term objectives. This decision is not just technical; it’s deeply personal to each property owner, reflecting their vision for the property’s role in a greener, more efficient world. Seeking advice from roofing experts can provide clarity and direction, helping you navigate the options to find a solution that meets your needs and resonates with your commitment to sustainability and efficiency.

Embracing a suitable roofing alternative enhances your property’s performance and longevity and contributes positively to the broader environmental landscape. It’s a decision that warrants careful consideration, guided by expertise and a clear understanding of your property’s requirements and goals.

Roofing Alternatives: Frequently Asked Questions

Cool roofing systems primarily reduce energy consumption by reflecting more sunlight and absorbing less heat than traditional roofs. This leads to cooler building temperatures, reduced air conditioning costs, and a decrease in urban heat island effects.

Green roofs provide a range of environmental benefits, including reducing stormwater runoff, improving air quality, increasing biodiversity by creating habitats for wildlife and enhancing thermal insulation. They also contribute to urban beautification and can extend the roof’s lifespan by protecting the underlying materials from UV radiation and temperature fluctuations.

While the initial installation cost of solar roofs can be higher than traditional roofing options, they offer significant long-term energy savings. The integration of solar panels helps generate renewable energy, reducing electricity bills. Additionally, businesses may benefit from government incentives and tax breaks, making solar roofs an attractive investment over time.

Metal roofing is highly durable, with a lifespan exceeding 50 years, reducing the need for frequent replacements. It’s also recyclable, minimizing waste sent to landfills. Metal roofs can be designed to reflect sunlight, improving energy efficiency and contributing to cooler building temperatures.

Liquid roofing systems are versatile and can be applied over various substrates, including concrete, metal, and modified bitumen. Their ability to form a seamless, waterproof barrier makes them suitable for buildings with complex geometries and numerous protrusions, providing a durable solution for roof refurbishment or new construction projects.

BUR consists of multiple layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics, creating a thick, durable membrane that offers excellent waterproofing and longevity. On the other hand, single-ply roofing involves installing a single layer of flexible membrane, such as TPO, EPDM, or PVC. Single-ply systems are known for their ease of installation, lightweight properties, and reflective surfaces that can improve energy efficiency.

Roof coatings can extend the life of existing roofs by providing additional protection against UV rays, moisture, and temperature extremes. They improve roof durability, offer energy-saving reflective properties, and can make maintenance easier and more cost-effective. Roof coatings are also an environmentally friendly option, as they can reduce the need for complete roof replacements and the associated waste.

Selecting the right roofing alternative requires considering several factors, including the building’s location, climate, energy efficiency goals, budget, aesthetic preferences, and maintenance capabilities. It’s also important to assess the roof’s existing condition and structure to determine the most suitable option. Consulting with roofing professionals can provide valuable insights and guidance in making an informed decision.


Exploring roofing alternatives offers various options, each bringing unique advantages to commercial properties. As the demand for sustainability, energy efficiency, and cost savings grows, so does the interest in innovative roofing solutions like cool roofs, green roofs, solar roofs, metal roofing, and liquid roofing systems. Roof coatings stand out for their versatility and economic benefits, enhancing commercial roofs’ performance and longevity.

Choosing the right roofing solution is crucial. It requires collaboration with experts who understand your property’s specific needs. This informed decision protects your investment and supports a sustainable, energy-efficient future. Businesses can make a meaningful impact by prioritizing these factors, ensuring their roofing choice aligns with their operational goals and broader environmental responsibilities.

Are you interested in discovering the perfect roofing solution for your business? Reach out to learn more about how our roofing alternatives can meet your needs for sustainability and efficiency.