The Pros & Cons Of Three Popular Commercial Roofing Systems

Roofing Tips

Commercial Roofing Systems

Commercial roofing systems come in a wide variety of materials. The most popular systems are, Built-Up Roofing (BUR), Modified Bitumen Systems, and Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO). 

With each type of commercial roofing material comes different advantages, as each will have a different cost, life-span, and different strengths and weaknesses. If you’re looking to find the right commercial roofing material, check out our list of pros and cons below:

BUR Roofing

Also known as Built up Roofing, this type of roofing consists of alternating layers of fabric and asphalt and is finished with a topcoat of gravel.


There are several perks for using BUR commercial roofing systems.

  • Toughness

    These layers combined make BUR resistant to a variety of weathering elements, such as wind, fire water, and even UV rays. Unlike rubber commercial roofs that crack easily, BUR is extremely resistant to damage because of its strength in layers. It requires very little maintenance and remains a cost-effective roof to maintain. All of these points save you from spending too much on roof repair and replacement in the long run.

  • Go Green

    BUR is also good for energy efficiency through temperature control, as the layers are resistant to UV-ray damage and heat. This can save you costs on energy bills, because you won’t need to spend tons of money on air conditioning and ventilation systems.


As with anything, there are also a couple of downsides to BUR commercial roofing systems.

  • Time is Money

    Owing to its multilayered materials, installation can be a slow process and it sometimes involves dangerous fumes. A lengthy installation process usually means that installation costs can be high, as cost of labor becomes pricier.

  • Weathering

    Although this is a tough form of commercial roof system, it can still be susceptible to wind and water damage, depending on the blend of materials and success of installation.

  • Crack Repair

    Finding a crack in rubber is easy, but finding a crack in a gravel-covered, multilayered surface can be extremely difficult. This makes repairs sometimes difficult to do. It is wise to hire a professional roofing contractor to inspect your roof for you, as you may not be able to correctly identify a problem without the necessary years of experience in roofing.

Modified Bitumen Systems

Similar to the BUR, this is also a multilayered roofing system, but differs from the BUR in that it has added durability and tensile strength.


Modified bitumen roofing systems also come with a lot of benefits.

  • Strength

    Like BUR, its durability lets it to withstand fire, water, wind and UV ray damage. Its modified layers also help protect against extreme weather, such as hailstorms, snowstorms or hurricanes.

  • Speedy Installation

    The install process is quicker than original BUR, as the layers come prefabricated, making installation a quick and easy process. This means that cost of labor is relatively low, with less time spent on layering.


What about the downsides to modified bitumen commercial roofing systems?

  • Lifespan

    Despite its toughness, it is not the longest lasting roof, with an average life span of 10-15 years. The lifespan largely depends on quality of installation.

  • Leak Trouble

    Like BUR, it is also extremely difficult to find a leak, owing to the many layers that make up the material.

  • Safety Risk During Installation

    The hot-applied bitumen can provide a nasty smell during installation and can also pose a safety risk to those around.

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) 

This material consists of a blend of polypropylene and rubber ethylene-propylene.


Let’s take a look at the upsides that come with purchasing a TPO commercial roofing system.

  • Energy Costs & Temperature Control

    This material reflects UV-rays, protecting your home from excessive heat and UV-ray exposure. This lowers energy bills, as the effective heat deflection prevents the need for air conditioning or additional ventilation measures.

  • Resistance

    TPO is flexible, durable and resistant to a wide variety of chemical weathering, such as UV rays, mold dirt build-up, mildew, and corrosion.

  • Flexibility

    Its versatile application makes for easy shaping, which means installation is quick and cost effective, even if you need to include protrusions such as chimneys.


Of course, there are a few negatives to consider when thinking of installing a TPO commercial roofing system.

  • Lamination

    The top layer of TPO is laminated, which can come with its own problems. Over time, lamination can be prone to shrinkage, cracks, which in turn can affect roof exposure.

  • Thickness

    Some buyers believe that thicker layers of TPO will make the roof tougher or long-lasting, but in reality, it has no effect on the durability of strength.

  • Seams

    TPO uses rolls of membranes, with each membrane having a thin width in shape. This means that it requires many seams to keep it in place. Because of the large number of seams, membranes can loosen over time if seams weather and break, which makes your roof prone to leaks.

Commercial Roofing Services In Pompano Beach

The more you know about the different kinds of roofing material, the more-informed decision you can make. Maintaining a flat commercial roof requires the right knowledge and expertise, so If you are wondering which type of commercial roofing system is best for you, do not hesitate to contact a professional roofing contractor at AABCO Roofing Corp.

Call us today at 954-426-8500 and count on us to cover you!

Spread the love