Choosing the right roofing system can be a critical decision for your commercial or industrial property. Understanding the different types of commercial metal roofing and industrial metal roofing systems available is, therefore, paramount. These roofing solutions are not only durable but also offer unparalleled aesthetic appeal.

In this guide, we’ll provide a deep dive into these systems, discussing their unique characteristics and benefits, to help you make an informed choice.

What are the different types of commercial metal roofing by material?

When it comes to commercial metal roofs, the material used significantly influences the roof’s durability, aesthetic, and cost-effectiveness. Each metal brings unique attributes to the table, affecting its suitability for different climatic conditions, architectural styles, and budgetary requirements.

With this in mind, we need to delve into the intricacies of various types of metals commonly utilized in commercial roofing systems. We also need to explore the cost considerations associated with installing a new roof, with a particular focus on the Wisconsin new roof cost. This information will equip you with actionable insights to make an informed and cost-effective decision for your commercial building.

If you want more information on how commercial metal roofing stacks up against other types of roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, check out our comparison guide on metal vs shingle roofing.

If you’re in Wisconsin and we just like to chat to our team about your commercial options, please get in touch with us.

1. Commercial aluminum roofing

Aluminum roofing on a commercial building

Aluminum is a popular choice for commercial roofing due to its impressive corrosion resistance, light weight, and environmental sustainability. This metal roofing material is especially suitable for coastal areas due to its resistance to salt corrosion. An aluminum roof can last between 40 to 70 years, depending on installation quality, local weather, and maintenance.

In terms of cost, the average price per square foot is around $2.15 to $7. While this is higher than most other metal roofing types, it’s a long-term investment that pays off in durability, little to no maintenance costs, and energy efficiency.


  • Protective oxide coating that guards against rust.
  • Lightweight nature can reduce the need for additional structural support.
  • Recyclable and often contains recycled materials itself.
  • Reflective properties can reduce energy costs by keeping buildings cooler.


  • The initial installation cost can be higher than other roofing materials.
  • Without proper insulation, aluminum roofs can be noisier than others during rain or hail.
  • Aluminum is softer than steel, making it more susceptible to denting.

2. Commercial copper roofing

Copper, renowned for its distinctive aesthetic and superior durability, is one of the oldest materials used in roofing. Commercial copper roofing is highly durable and can last for over 70 years, making it an exceptional long-term investment. Moreover, as copper ages, it develops a unique greenish patina that bestows an inimitable charm.

However, one of the biggest drawbacks of copper roofing is its cost. It’s the most expensive roofing materials on the market, with prices averaging between $20 to $40 per square foot. This high cost often makes it a less preferred choice for some Wisconsin shingle roofers, who may opt for more cost-effective materials.

With that said, if you’re looking for a roofing material that offers unparalleled durability, aesthetic appeal, and environmental consciousness, copper is an excellent choice.


  • Once-in-a-lifetime investment.
  • Distinctive patina adds character and beauty.
  • Highly resistant to fire, enhancing safety.
  • Completely recyclable, reducing the environmental impact.


  • Most expensive roofing material.
  • Expands and contracts with temperature changes, which can lead to loosening of fasteners over time.

3. Commercial steel roofing

Commercial steel roofing on a commercial building

Steel is an incredibly versatile and popular choice when it comes to commercial roofing due to its strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Compared to other commercial roof types, this material is particularly well-suited for large commercial or industrial buildings, thanks to its ability to withstand heavy loads.

One of the defining characteristics of steel is its impressive longevity. With proper installation and maintenance, a commercial steel roof can last between 40 and 70 years. This durability is due in part to steel’s resistance to fire, wind, and hail damage. Additionally, most steel roofs are coated with a protective layer of zinc or a zinc-aluminum alloy to enhance their corrosion resistance.

From a cost perspective, steel roofing fares well. The average cost per square foot ranges from $10 to $21, making it a budget-friendly choice for many business owners. However, it’s essential to note that steel roofs can be susceptible to rust if the protective coating is compromised.


  • Withstand harsh weather conditions and last up to 70 years.
  • Often made from recycled materials and are fully recyclable.
  • Durable and long-lasting solution at a budget-friendly price.
  • Various styles and finishes to suit different architectural styles.


  • Can be noisy during heavy rain or hail if not properly insulated.
  • Susceptible to rust if the protective coating is compromised.

4. Commercial tin roofing

Coated with an alloy of tin and lead, tin roofs were popular among historic buildings, especially in urban environments. Over time, however, the lead is often replaced by a coating of tin and zinc to reduce health hazards.

Tin roofs can last between 40 and 50 years, depending on the quality of installation, local weather conditions, and maintenance routines. They are highly durable, with excellent resistance to damaging weather elements like wind, rain, and hail. The average cost per square foot for commercial tin roofing varies widely, from $10 to $26, depending on factors like the quality of materials, installation costs, and location.


  • Known for their durability, able to withstand harsh environmental conditions.
  • Worthwhile long-term investment.
  • Require minimal maintenance, saving on long-term expenses.
  • Environmentally friendly.


  • Prices can be higher than other metal roofing materials.
  • Installing tin roofing can be complex and requires skilled professionals.

5. Commercial zinc roofing


Zinc is renowned in the roofing industry for its remarkable durability, longevity, and sustainability. A natural material, zinc boasts of an impressive lifespan that can extend up to 100 years, thanks to its self-healing properties. It possesses the ability to recover naturally from scratches and physical damages, hence maintaining its aesthetic appeal over decades.

However, zinc roofing can be expensive, with costs ranging from $14 to $21 per square foot. Moreover, installation requires professional expertise, as incorrect installation can lead to issues such as water leakage.

Pros :

  • Can last up to 100 years due to self-healing properties.
  • 100% recyclable, making it an excellent choice for eco-conscious decision-makers.
  • Minimal maintenance.


  • Zinc is a premium roofing material and the cost reflects this.
  • Incorrect installation can lead to water retention and leakage.

6. Metal shingles and tiles

Metal shingles and tiles offer a unique blend of aesthetics and functionality, combining the durability of metal with the classic look of traditional shingles or tiles. Available in a wide range of styles, colors, and finishes, metal shingles and tiles can complement various architectural styles, making them a versatile option for commercial buildings.

The durability of metal shingles and tiles is remarkable, given their resistance to fire, wind, and hail. With proper maintenance, these roofs can last for 50 years or more. Moreover, these materials are lightweight, reducing the structural burden on the building.

However, the cost of metal shingles and tiles can be a deterring factor. On average, they can cost between $6 to $14 per square foot. Moreover, the installation process of metal shingles and tiles can be intricate and requires a professional touch to ensure proper fitting and to avoid leaks.


  • A look of traditional shingles or tiles with the durability of metal.
  • Resistant to fire, wind, and hail, with a lifespan of 50+ years.
  • Reduces structural stress on buildings.


  • More expensive than some other types of metal roofing.
  • Complex installation process requires professional expertise.

If you know which metal you want for your commercial roof, get in touch with our team for a free quotation.

Styles of metal roof for commercial building use

Each style of metal roofing for commercial buildings comes with its own unique aesthetic appeal and functional advantages, making it well-adapted to specific architectural and climatic needs. As you’ve seen, the advantages of commercial metal roofing far outweigh the disadvantages, and that metal roofing is a highly customizable and versatile option for any commercial building.

Of course, it’s essential to consider the style and design of your building before choosing a metal roofing option. You want to ensure that the roof complements and enhances the overall look and feel of your commercial property.

1. Hidden fastener (standing seam) commercial metal roof panels

standing seam metal roof panels on a commercial property

Hidden fastener panels, also known as standing seam metal roofing panels, are one of the most popular types of commercial metal roof panels.

These panels are characterized by their long, linear design and raised interlocking seam which conceals the fastening system. This design not only provides a sleek, modern aesthetic but also offers superior weather-tightness, making them ideal for commercial buildings in regions with extreme weather conditions.

Standing seam panels are available in a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum, and copper, and can be finished in an array of colors to suit the architectural style of the building. Despite being a more expensive option compared to exposed fastener panels, standing seam panels are often chosen for their longevity and minimal maintenance requirements.


  • Sleek look.
  • Superior weather resistance.
  • Can last up to 60 years with proper maintenance.


  • More expensive than other types of metal roof panels.
  • Installation can be more complex due to the hidden fastening system, requiring a professional installer.

2. Exposed fastener

Exposing fastener systems is a common and cost-effective method used in sheet metal commercial roofing. These systems are characterized by the visibility of the fasteners or screws used in installing the metal roofing panels. Exposed fastener metal roofing provides broad coverage and easy installation, making it a prevalent choice for commercial and industrial buildings.

This roofing style typically involves overlapping metal panels fastened directly into the roof deck or framing below. The fasteners become part of the design and aesthetic of the finished roof and are available in a variety of colors to match the roofing material.

While this roofing style can be highly cost-effective, care must be taken during installation to prevent potential issues such as over or under-driving the screws. Additionally, because the fasteners penetrate the surface of the roofing material, they can become potential points for water ingress, and thus may require regular maintenance to replace worn or damaged washers and ensure a watertight seal.


  • Generally less expensive than other roofing styles.
  • Quick and straightforward installation process.
  • Can withstand harsh weather conditions.


  • Fasteners can become potential points for water ingress, requiring regular maintenance to ensure a watertight seal.
  • Contact points may be visible, which can impact the overall appearance of the roof.

3. Commercial corrugated metal roofing

corrugated metal roof on a commercial property

Commercial corrugated metal roofing is a durable, cost-effective option well-suited to the needs of commercial buildings. Characterized by its unique, wavy design, corrugated metal roofing provides excellent strength-to-weight ratio, making it a resilient choice against extreme weather conditions.

Corrugated metal roofs are typically made of steel, with a galvanized or galvalume coating for added protection against corrosion. They are available in a variety of colors and finishes, offering flexibility in terms of aesthetic appeal. This type of roofing can also be installed relatively quickly, as the large, corrugated panels cover a wide surface area.

However, as with any roofing option, there are a few cons to consider. The corrugated design, while beneficial for durability and drainage, may not appeal to all stylistic preferences. Additionally, the exposed fasteners in corrugated roofs may require regular maintenance to ensure water-tightness and prevent rusting over time.


  • excellent resistance to wind and impact damage.
  • Less expensive than some other types.
  • Quick installation.


  • Distinctive wavy design may not suit all architectural styles.
  • Exposed fasteners may require regular upkeep to prevent potential leaks or corrosion.

4. Metal shingle

Metal shingle roofing offers the classic look of traditional shingles with the durable longevity of metal. This versatile roofing option is available in a variety of styles, textures, and colors to mimic materials such as wood shake, slate, or terracotta, offering a striking aesthetic appeal for commercial buildings.

Metal shingles are often made of steel or aluminum and feature interlocking panels that create a weather-tight seal to protect against harsh weather conditions. In addition, the metal composition provides superior fire resistance, adding an extra layer of safety compared to traditional shingle materials.

Metal shingle roofing typically costs more than other metal roofing options due to its complex installation process. Additionally, while the longevity of metal shingles is a significant selling point, they may require periodic maintenance to ensure their appearance and performance hold up over time.


  • Variety of styles and colors.
  • Excellent weather and fire resistance.
  • Can last up to 50 years or more.


  • Typically more expensive than other metal roofing options.
  • May require periodic maintenance.

5. Metal tile


Metal tile roofing is a high-quality roofing option that combines the aesthetics of traditional tile roofing with the durability and strength of metal. These tiles are typically made from steel or aluminum and are designed to resemble traditional clay, slate, or concrete tiles.

One of the key benefits of metal tile roofing is its long lifespan. With proper care and maintenance, a metal tile roof can last for 50 years or more. In addition, metal tiles often come with anti-rust and UV-resistant coatings, ensuring they retain their visual appeal over time.

However, the initial cost of installation is higher due to the material’s premium nature. Additionally, while metal tiles are durable, they can be prone to denting from hail or other heavy impact.


  • High-end aesthetic appeal.
  • Resistant to extreme weather conditions, rust, and UV damage.
  • Simple installation process.


  • Cost can be higher than other metal roofing options.
  • Prone to denting from hail or other heavy impact.

6. Stone-coated steel

Stone-coated steel roofing is an innovative roofing option that offers the durability and longevity of metal with the aesthetic appeal of traditional roofing materials. The steel core provides strength and resistance against severe weather conditions, while the stone coating gives the roof a textured, natural appearance similar to wood or slate.

Stone-coated steel roofs are typically lightweight, which facilitates easier and faster installation. They also exhibit excellent fire resistance properties and are environmentally friendly, as most of the material can be recycled at the end of its life span.

However, this type of roofing tends to be one of the more expensive metal roofing options due to the complex manufacturing process associated with applying the stone coating.


  • Fits in well with various architectural styles.
  • Strong resistance to harsh weather.
  • Easier and faster to install, reducing labor costs.


  • One of the more expensive metal roofing options.
  • Occasional cleaning needed to maintain its appearance.

If you’re still confused about which type of metal and roof design best suits your business, please get in touch with our team.

Other commercial metal roofing systems

To confuse matters even more, there are more specialist commercial metal roof systems that may be suitable:

  • Integrated solar panels
  • Cool roof coatings
  • Specialist ventilated roofs

Which are the best commercial metal roofing types?

In the end, the best industrial metal roof and commercial metal roof types are ones that align with the users’ needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences.

Architectural styles, geographical location, budget, and specific needs play a heavy part, so it’s impossible for there to be a single best option.

What we can say is that Prairie Exteriors is your premier resource for top-quality Wisconsin metal roofing. Our extensive experience and commitment to excellence ensure that you benefit from the best solutions tailored to your unique needs.

Call us today to schedule a consultation or request a free estimate. Let us help you find the perfect metal roofing option for your commercial building!

Prairie Exteriors is dedicated to providing top-tier metal roofing services to a wide range of locations within Dane County:

MadisonFitchburgSauk City
Sun PrairieMiddletonPortage
DeforestPrairie du SacStoughton
Recent Posts
2-story house with a metal roofselective focus of grey shingles on rooftop of building