Commercial Buyers Guide: Roof Types, Materials, and Cost

roof types

If we sprung a quick quiz on the lifespan of major items throughout your property, you’d probably be able to tell us the age of your water heater, air conditioning unit, and maybe even ductwork or refrigerator.

How confident would you be if we asked about the roof right over your head and everything you just mentioned or if we told you that different roof types have different lifespans?

It’s true. The roof that is ensuring that your entire property’s structure doesn’t come crashing down on your head has an expiration date. If it was already there when you moved in, that date may be coming really close to expiring.

The good news is, you can beat the clock. Reroofing in advance of that expiration date is a smart and savvy move. You’ll inevitably save money because you can take your time to explore materials, contractors, and trends without rushing to fix havoc that Mother Nature caused during a storm or other “weather event.”

Press pause on the roof time clock and read on to get the best proof about a new roof.

Should You Mingle with Shingle?

Shingles can be an attractive, old-timey option for roofing, but you’ll need to ask yourself (or your contractor) some questions before you order the supplies.

First, which type of shingles are best for your property? There are two main kinds but they’re very different:

  • Fiberglass weigh less (making them more easily moved by the wind)
  • Asphalt is sturdier and stays in place better than fiberglass, but has lower fire rating

Interestingly, fiberglass shingles have more asphalt than asphalt shingles do, according to the University of Wisconsin-Extension program!

Heavy Metal

Dallas and Fort Worth residents who have been banging their heads over high air conditioner and electricity bills may find metal roofing replacement a real cool breeze.

Organizations such as the Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative recommend metal roofs for warmer climates such as the South specifically because of their cooling properties.

Metal reflects up and away from the home instead of pushing the heat down into it, reducing energy use.

Other benefits of metal roofing:

  • Long life
  • Lightweight materials
  • No need for routine maintenance (though periodic inspection is always a good idea!)
  • Impact resistant
  • Sustain extremely high wind guests
  • Fire, spark, and lightning resistant

Eco-conscious property owners may also be pleased to know that many metal roof components (steel and aluminum) are made from recycled materials. And when it comes time to replace again, much metal roofing can be recycled (again!).

This may not even become an issue for many owners, as metal roofing has an estimated life of 50 or more years (some sources go as high as 70 years!), the highest of all the material options.

Other Roof Types

It should come as no surprise that there are as many different types of roofs as there are types of buildings!

What may be news to you is that you don’t have to stick with the same roof as what’s currently on your property, or even what you’ve been used to your whole life.

You can go completely new and the wide range of roofing types include:

  • Slate
  • Copper
  • Tile
  • TPO
  • BUR

Is Slate Great?

Just about every one of these roof types will have pros and cons, from aesthetics (how the roof is going to look – and remember, you may be looking at what you choose for 50 years!) to pricing.

In the looks category, many property owners are drawn to slate.

And no, not because of the “clean slate” association, though it does wash off beautifully after a rainfall!

Slate’s looks spread far and wide because you have so many roofing choices with it. You get to choose colors (yes, you can indeed have a purple, green, or red roof – or a roof that is a swirl of purple, green, and red), but you also get to choose size and thickness as well.

No property owner ever wants to think about a fire, but a slate roof may give you a little more peace of mind, as this material is highly fire resistant.

Hooked on slate?

Well, wait.

Once property owners select slate, it can be a let down to realize that slate is very much NOT a D-I-Y type of material.

Have no worries, though, as help is available.

Because of its weight (800 to 1,500 pounds per square), slate isn’t exactly something a person who isn’t extremely experienced in roof types can handle.

Fortunately, there are experienced roofers who can help you with that weighty burden.

An experienced roofing team will also know the ins and outs of slate, which can be tricky to install.

A Penny for Your Roof?

If your first thought of a copper roof is to look overhead at a ceiling of pennies, copper roofing may just blow your mind.

Copper roofs have been providing shelter for decades (literally – they last a very long time!).

Their durability means an excellent return on your investment and the freedom from having to think about another reroofing project. After all, we often see pennies in the road, having been run over by vehicles that are thousands of pounds, not even looking one iota worse for the wear!

Worried about your roof shining bright like a new penny?

There are so many options to copper roof types, including protective coating, laminated finishes, and copper alloys that come in colors such as “Architectural Bronze,” “Cartridge Brass,” “Commercial Bronze,” and “Nickel Silver.”

A copper roof is fairly low-maintenance too. Once you set it, you can forget it.

Tile Is in Style

If matching your neighbors matters, or you prefer to choose roof types that are gaining in popularity, the Tile Roofing Institute thinks tile will really go the extra mile.

Choice of tile roofing is exceeding other materials in most common material chosen, says the organization, in part due to their ability to resist just about everything Mother Nature throws down upon them (including hail, rain, and fire).

Reroofing candidates who are making these developments for property resale value may want to pay attention here: the Institute notes that a tile roof may help a home sell faster and for more money, including more credits upon appraisal.

One other benefit of tile is that while you may choose to reroof entirely in tile, should something happen, tile lets you replace it individually. One tile cracks, you or your contractor can remove it and replace that tile.

Not so much with massive sheets or other custom-melted materials.

A Little Alphabet Explanation

Every field seems to have its set of acronyms, but you don’t have to drown in alphabet soup to understand a couple common roof types.

TPO stands for thermoplastic polyolefin and is becoming a popular choice for commercial buildings (not so much residential just yet, but give it some time).

TPO is optimal because it fights off some of the most common “baddies:” ozone, chemicals, and ultraviolet rays.

According to Missouri S&T, you can actually enjoy heightened efficiency with a TPO roof because it reflects heat from the sun, meaning you need to run your internal systems less during the colder months.

Also part of the roof types acronyms is BUR, which stands for built-up roofing.

This sounds very DIY, doesn’t it?

It can be, but it’s also an option to explore with your experienced and knowledgeable roofing specialist.

Built-up roofing is something of a hodge-podge activity, where the roof is built layer by layer to fit exactly the roofing space, with expert sealing to ensure complete watertight coverage.

Reroofing this way may require many different materials, including coal tar pitch, tarred felts, gravel, slag, asbestos or volcanic rock, crushed brick chips, and inorganic fiber.

A Word on Weather

Why is it so important to choose a roofer who knows your area, rather than some call center in the middle of nowhere that dispatches crews who may not even live nearby?

One word: Rain.

OK, another word: Humidity.

We who live in Dallas and Fort Worth know these words really, really well.

And we think it’s important to choose roof types that match the type of weather we see the most in our homes and buildings and even help to shield us from whatever Mother Nature brings.

Roof types are NOT one size fits all.

So your roofing specialist shouldn’t be either.

You want someone who understands that one year in Dallas can go from a low of thirty degrees in January to a sweltering 95 in July.

And there really isn’t a time when it’s NOT raining here, is there?

So you are going to want a shelter that, well, truly provides shelter!

A yearly report from the US Climate Data site shows that average precipitation in Dallas ranges from 2.32 in January (our driest season) to 4.88 in October (incorporate some waders into your Halloween costume!).

One way you can ensure you’re choosing a local expert is to ask your prospective contractor for references.

You can either ask outright for local/in-town references or wait and see what’s provided. No locals? Take a pause, start your search over, and ask some neighbors, colleagues, or friends and family.

Roof Types Risks

No matter the roof types you’re considering, there are risks involved when you take on the project yourself, including these that the University of Minnesota advises about:

  • Chemicals in roof tar can cause nausea and headaches
  • Roof tar chemicals can contribute to DNA changes in human fetal cells (pregnancy risk)
  • Increased risk of certain cancers, leukemia, and tumors
  • Aggravation to existing issues such as asthma and bronchitis

That’s why working with a roofing professional is an actual health benefit.

Not only do experienced roofers know the best roof types for your property, they know how to keep you and the other building residents protected using the top of the line materials, substances and solvents, blowers, etc.

In the age of the internet, one mistake and your property can become the laughing stock of the neighborhood (or the entire world wide web) in an instant.

It happened in Dallas in 2016 when the local NBC affiliate put a commercial business on blast when its roof partially caved in.

You may also remember when our home team suffered a great injury to its very home – the caving in of the Dallas Cowboys’ Field House in 2009.

In that case, there were injuries, plus an immense amount of finger pointing, blaming the wind, building load, and engineering failures.

Take a few moments to Google “bad roofs,” “ugly roofs,” or “roof failures” and you’ll get an idea why talking to a professional is a great way to stay out of the limelight.

Of course, once you choose roof types and have your ideal option installed, you may want to start showing it off.

Raise the Roof

So, are you ready to raise your roof?

Raise the quality of your existing structure by reroofing it.

After all, your home or commercial building needs a solid structure and why not start from the top?

And why not start WITH the top?

Contact the best reroofers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area by clicking here and telling us a little bit about your roofing project. You can send us a short note via our online form requesting services and information or email us pictures of your existing structure.

Don’t worry, we’ve seen it all.

We not only know roofs, but we know the area, too! And we’ve got the video!

Check us out here on the news, talking about a major storm that took hold of Denton back in 2014. Watch us on video, then give us an email or call and let us help you choose through the many roof types for the best one for you.