What Is the Best Roofing Material for a Flat Roof

When choosing the best material for a flat roof, you must consider several factors. Each material has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to carefully examine your building’s needs before making a decision. Some of the most common materials for flat roofs on commercial buildings include spray foam roofing, EPDM rubber, PVC membrane, TPO membrane, and built-up roofing. These materials vary in durability, cost-effectiveness, and suitability for different conditions.

What Roofing Materials Are Best for Flat Roofs?

Commercial roofing material options vary. However, the best material for a specific application depends on its suitability for that particular environment. Let’s explore some commercial flat roofing options.


EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, is a synthetic rubber compound frequently utilized on low-slope flat roofs. Known as “rubber roofing,” EPDM roofing is recognized for its versatility and efficiency as a roofing option. EPDM may not be suitable for all commercial roofing environments. It tends to shrink and puncture easily as it ages. Additionally, black EPDM roofs absorb more heat, making them less energy-efficient than bright-white roofs.


The PVC (polyvinyl chloride) membrane is used in commercial and residential roofing for flat or low-slope roofs. It is similar to TPO in characteristics and installation process, with PVC being slightly more flexible and older than TPO. A PVC flat roof can last up to 25 years if properly installed.


TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) is a flexible roofing membrane that typically lasts 10 to 25 years. It is cheaper than PVC and relatively simple to install and maintain. This relatively new system was introduced in the early 1990s, and limited information is available on its long-term effectiveness.

TPO is known for being cost-effective and lightweight for flat roofing materials. However, finding experienced professionals for repairs can be challenging due to its newness. Additionally, TPO tends to show dirt quickly and may not be ideal for high-visibility areas.

Spray Polyurethane Foam

Spray polyurethane foam is a highly effective flat roofing system. It combines SPF insulation with a protective top coating. With proper maintenance, an SPF roof can last over 50 years. These roofs are great for insulation on low-slope flat roofs and offer excellent energy efficiency.

The type of roofing material you select is important. Let’s explore some details to weigh as you compare options with your roofing contractor.

How to Choose the Best Flat Roofing Material for You

When it comes to replacing a commercial roof and seeking a long-lasting solution that offers excellent protection, there are many factors to consider. Here are some details to compare as you make an informed decision.

  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Material lifespan
  • Ease of installation
  • Maintenance requirements

In addition to these factors, you will want to consider weather resistance. An affordable option isn’t helpful in the long run if you need to spend money repairing and replacing the roof. The type of material you select should be sustainable even as your location faces adverse weather conditions.

Why Spray Foam Roofing is The Best Choice for Flat Roofs

Spray foam is known for its energy efficiency, resistance to UV rays, chemicals, and punctures, and quick and easy installation. It can also provide excellent insulation properties, which can help reduce heating and cooling costs. Overall, spray foam roofs offer great durability, energy efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, even in extreme temperatures.

Unmatched Durability

Due to pooling water, flat roofs are particularly susceptible to leaks. Spray foam’s closed-cell structure creates a seamless, watertight barrier. No seams mean no weak points for water to exploit, preventing leaks and protecting your building’s interior.

Polyurethane is incredibly resistant to harsh weather. From scorching summers to heavy snowfall and even hail, spray foam roofs can withstand the elements for decades, offering superior long-term performance compared to other materials.

Energy Efficiency Champion

Flat roofs often lack proper insulation, leading to high energy bills. Spray foam boasts exceptional insulating properties, acting as a thermal barrier. It minimizes heat transfer in both directions, keeping your building cool in summer and warm in winter.

This results in significant savings on your energy bills and a more comfortable indoor environment year-round. Plus, unlike traditional roofing systems that require additional insulation layers, spray foam is a single-step solution. It simplifies installation, reduces labor costs, and eliminates the need for multiple materials.

Additional Benefits

Lightweight: Spray foam is surprisingly lightweight compared to traditional roofing materials, putting less stress on your building’s structure.

Low Maintenance: Polyurethane roofs require minimal maintenance, saving you time and money in the long run.

Environmentally Friendly: As far as green roofs go, you can’t get any better than spray foam. This single-ply membrane material has high insulating properties, which can contribute to lower energy consumption for cooling and heating. Additionally, some formulations of spray foam use recycled materials.

As you can see, spray foam roofing offers a winning combination of superior durability, unmatched energy efficiency, and a streamlined installation process, making it the best option for protecting your flat roof for years to come.

As you explore flat roof materials, we encourage you to consider All Florida Urethane for your spray foam roofing needs. Our team has over 60 years of experience in the roofing business. Contact us to schedule a time for an estimate.