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What are the Different Types of Commercial Metal Roofs?

May , 2023 | 8 min. read

By Johnny Girard

Are you looking to install a commercial metal roof but don't know which type is best for your building? Would you like to understand the advantages and disadvantages of commercial metal roofing? Before you invest.

If you nodded yes to either of these questions, then this article is for you.

We understand that a commercial metal roof is a large investment. One that you want to make the right decisions so you get the best return on your investment. No worries, our family at RoofCrafters has been installing commercial metal roofs for 3 decades. We’re well-versed in commercial metal roofing and want to share our expertise to help you make the best decision.

So in this article, we’ll cover:

  • The different types of commercial metal roofs
  • The average lifespan of these metal roofs
  • The advantages and disadvantages of metal roofs 

By the end of this article, hopefully, you'll have a better understanding of commercial metal roofing and be better equipped to make a well-informed decision.

Let’s dive right into the types of metal roofs.

What are the Different Types of Commercial Metal Roofs?


Commercial multi-family building with a galvalume screw-down metal roofGalvalume Multi-Rib Screw-Down Metal Roof

With several different types of commercial metal roofing systems, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. We want to start by covering the most popular roof systems. The most common types installed on commercial buildings include:

  • Standing seam: This type of metal roofing system has raised seams that run vertically up the roof. The panels are typically made of steel or aluminum and are attached to the roof deck with hidden clips and fasteners.
  • R-panel or multi-rib panels: R-panel or multi-rib roofing has a ribbed design and is made of steel. It's a cost-effective option and easy to install, making it a popular choice for commercial and industrial buildings. Has exposed fasteners. (screw-down roof)
  • Trapezoid panel: Trapezoid metal roofing is a type of standing seam metal roofing. The panels are trapezoid in shape, they’re wider at the bottom and narrower at the top. The shape of the panel provides better water drainage and allows for better thermal expansion and contraction.  It’s a popular choice for roofing low-slope roof structures.
  • Corrugated metal: Corrugated metal roofing has a wavy, ribbed design and is made of steel or aluminum. It's lightweight, durable, and inexpensive, making it a popular choice for industrial and agricultural buildings.
  • Metal shingles: Metal shingles are designed to mimic the look of traditional shingles, but are made of metal. They can be made of aluminum, steel, or zinc, and can be more expensive than other types of metal roofing.
  • Stone-coated steel: This type of metal roofing has a layer of ceramic coated stone granules on top of the steel panel. It gives the appearance of traditional shingles  but is more durable and long-lasting than traditional shingles.

long commercial trapezoid metal roof on a commercial buildingGalvalume Trapezoid Metal Roof

Each type of metal roofing is suitable for different types of buildings and climates, and the best option will depend on the specific needs of your building and your budget. After a thorough inspection of the property an expert commercial roofer would be better prepared to make recommendations. 

How Long Do Commercial Metal Roofs Last?


The lifespan of a commercial metal roof can vary depending on the type of metal installed. The quality of installation and preforming routine maintenance will play a huge factor in the lifespan. On average, a metal roof can last between 20 and 50 years.

  • Standing seam metal roofs, made of high-quality aluminum, steel, or galvalume can last over 50 years with proper maintenance.
  • R-panel and Corrugated metal roofing systems can last between 20-25 years. 
  • Stone-coated steel and metal shingles roofs can last for 50 years.

up close photo of a red standing seam roof with a chimney and 2 sun-tunnel skylightsPre-Painted Standing Seam Metal Roof

Proper maintenance is key in extending the lifespan of a commercial metal roof. This includes regular inspections and repairs. Including cleaning gutters and downspouts, and removing debris and vegetation from the roof.

blue-gray metal shingles on a 2-story hip and gable-style roof up close Stone Coated Metal Shingles

It's important to note that the longevity of a metal roof will also depend on the quality of the installation. A metal roof that’s installed right will last longer than one that hasn’t been. Finding and hiring a contractor with experience with metal roofing systems is a must.

What are the Advantages of Commercial Metal Roofing?


Commercial metal roofing systems have several advantages that make them a popular choice for commercial and industrial buildings. Many of our clients elect to invest in a metal roof over the less expensive asphalt shingle options. Some of the main advantages of metal roofing include:

building on a lake with aluminum metal roofMill Finish Standing Seam Metal (Galvalume)

  • Durability: Metal roofs are known for their durability and can last for several decades with proper maintenance. They are resistant to fire, wind, and impact, making them a good option for areas prone to severe weather.
  • Energy efficiency: Metal roofs can reflect a significant amount of the sun's heat, which can help to reduce cooling costs in the summer. Some metal roofing systems are coated with a specialized material that can reflect even more heat from the sun.
  • Lightweight: Metal roofs are lightweight compared to other roofing materials, which makes them easy to install and less likely to put stress on the building's structure.
  • Low maintenance: Metal roofs require very little maintenance, making them a cost-effective option in the long run. They are resistant to rot, mildew, and pests and can be easily cleaned with a hose.
  • Environmentally friendly: Many metal roofs are made from recycled materials and are also recyclable at the end of their lifespan. Metal roofs are also known for their long lifespan, which reduces the need for frequent replacements.
  • Variety of design options: Metal roofs come in a variety of colors, styles, and finishes, which can enhance the aesthetic of a building and add to its curb appeal.

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Overall, commercial metal roofing systems are a durable and cost-effective option that can last for several decades, while providing energy efficiency, low maintenance, and eco-friendly benefits.

What are the Disadvantages of Commercial Metal Roof Systems?


While commercial metal roofing systems have many advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider. It's important to understand any disadvantages before investing in any roof system. Some of the main disadvantages of metal roofing include:

  • Cost: Metal roofs can be more expensive than other types of roofing, especially if you choose high-end materials or a more complex installation.
  • Noise: Metal roofs can be noisy during heavy rain or hail, which may be a concern for some buildings.
  • Dent and scratches: Metal roofs can be dented or scratched, which can affect their appearance and longevity.

Standing seam metal roof oil canningOil Canning on a Standing Seam Metal Roof

  • Expansion and contraction: Metal roofs are subject to thermal expansion and contraction, which can cause them to warp or crack over time. Often called  "oil-canning ." This can be particularly problematic in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Installation: Installing a metal roof can be more challenging and time-consuming than other types of roofing, and it requires specialized equipment and experienced professionals.
  • Compatibility: Metal roofs may not be compatible with certain types of insulation or flashing, which can increase the cost and complexity of the installation process.

Commercial metal roofing systems can be a durable and cost-effective option, but it's important to weigh the potential disadvantages and consider your specific needs before making any decisions.

Next Steps: Hiring a Commercial Metal Roofer 


Choosing the right type of commercial metal roof is an important decision. It requires careful consideration. Including the specific needs of your building, budget, and local climate conditions. We covered the different types of commercial metal roofs, their advantages, and disadvantages.

Commercial metal roofing systems are a durable and cost-effective option that can provide a variety of benefits.  Yet, it's important to weigh the potential drawbacks, such as higher cost and noise concerns, before making a final decision. We also believe that choosing the right contractor to install the roof is just as important as the metal itself.

At RoofCrafters, we have 30 years of experience installing commercial metal roofs. We can help you choose the best option to protect your investment once we understand your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about our metal roofing services and how we can help you with your commercial roofing needs.

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Johnny Girard

At RoofCrafters, our mission is to provide job opportunities for others to thrive and grow while making a meaningful impact within our communities.