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If you’re new to owning a commercial building – or even if you’ve owned one for years – having a basic understanding of your roof & different roofing options can be helpful knowledge to have. Many commercial roofs are flat, which means they often require more regular upkeep to stay water-tight. And when leaks are no longer repairable, it’s important to have them replaced as soon as possible to protect your building, and its contents, from water damage.

There are a few different commercial roofing options available today, and they each have their own pros and cons. Let us help you learn more about them so that, when the time comes, you’re better prepared for the replacement process.


TPO stands for thermoplastic polyolefin. This type of roofing consists of single-ply membrane sheets that are heat-welded at the seams. Not only is TPO lightweight, but it’s also extremely durable; it’s puncture-resistant, fire-resistant, and even reflects heat efficiently. The material is also able to expand and contract with changes in temperature, making it an appropriate choice for areas like ours that have cold winters.

When properly installed and maintained, TPO roofs can last 20 to 30 years.


PVC commercial roofing consists of two layers of PVC with a polyester reinforcement layer in between. The top layer has additives that help boost UV resistance, which helps extend its overall lifespan and reduce cooling costs in the summer. PVC roofs offer great longevity, with a lifespan of up to 30 years. It’s also chemical-resistant and lightweight.

This type of flat roofing comes in various colors, thicknesses, and widths. This means that, if your roof is visible, you can be more particular about the aesthetics.

Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems

A modified bitumen roof combines asphalt and a chemical polymer to increase flexibility. It can be applied in multiple layers, which can help boost the lifespan of the roof, and it’s appropriate for both hot and cold climates.

On the downside, modified bitumen roofs are known for making buildings warmer in the summer months, and for more frequent issues with pooling water. The average lifespan is 15 to 20 years, which means more frequent roof replacements for commercial building owners.

Built-Up Roofing Systems

The oldest, and probably most well-known, type of commercial roofing, built-up roofs consist of 3-5 layers of asphalt & ply sheets, also known as felt. While it is typically the least expensive option for commercial roofs, it also comes with drawbacks. Built-up roofs absorb heat, increasing summer cooling costs. They are also prone to issues like pooling, cracking, wavings, and blistering, which means more frequent inspections and repairs to prevent water damage.

Protect Your Business From Water Damage

At Avondale Roofing, we know how important it is to make sure your business is protected from water damage. That’s why we only install TPO and PVC on commercial roofs. These materials provide the best protection and longest lifespans, giving our customers peace of mind when it comes to protecting their assets.

Our highly experienced roofing experts have over 30 years of experience in installing and repairing commercial roofing systems. Our team can help any business assess whether or not their roof is able to be repaired, and make appropriate replacement recommendations when repairs are no longer an option. Contact us today to set up your Free Estimate. We proudly serve the Madison, WI area, Chicago, IL area, and beyond.