When it comes to commercial roofing, selecting the right design is crucial for ensuring durability, functionality, and aesthetics. The right roof design not only protects your investment but also adds to the overall appeal of your commercial property. As a leading roofing company in Calgary, we have taken the initiative to guide you through some of the best commercial roof designs, each with its own unique pros and cons.

1. Commercial Level Roof

The commercial level roof, often referred to as a flat roof, is a popular choice for commercial buildings. This design features a minimal slope, allowing for a nearly flat surface. Despite its seemingly flat appearance, it is constructed with a slight slope to facilitate water drainage.


  • Cost-Effective Installation: Commercial level roofs are often cost-effective to install due to their simple design and fewer materials required.
  • Accessibility: The flat surface allows for easy access and maintenance, making repairs and inspections simpler and more efficient.
  • Versatility: Flat roofs are versatile, allowing for the installation of various rooftop equipment, such as HVAC systems and solar panels.


  • Drainage Challenges: Despite a slight slope for drainage, flat roofs can experience water pooling in certain areas, leading to potential leaks and water damage.

2. Slight Slope Roof

The slight slope roof design is an improvement over the completely flat roof. It incorporates a subtle incline to enhance water drainage and prevent water pooling. This design is a popular choice for commercial properties.


  • Improved Drainage: The slight slope ensures effective water drainage, preventing water accumulation and potential damage to the roofing structure.
  • Enhanced Durability: The incline helps distribute weight more evenly across the roof, promoting longevity and reducing the risk of leaks.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: The slight slope adds a visually appealing aspect to the roof, providing a more traditional look compared to completely flat roofs.


  • Limited Drainage Efficiency: In heavy rainfall, the slight slope may not provide sufficient drainage, potentially causing water accumulation.

3. Steep Incline Roof

Steep incline roofs, also known as pitched or sloped roofs, are characterized by a significant angle or slope. They are commonly found in commercial properties such as industrial buildings, churches, and retail centers.


  • Excellent Drainage: Steep incline roofs provide exceptional drainage capabilities, preventing water accumulation and minimizing the risk of leaks.
  • Snow and Debris Shedding: In regions with heavy snowfall, steep incline roofs allow for easy shedding of snow, reducing the load on the roof.
  • Enhanced Ventilation: The pitch in these roofs often allows for the installation of ventilation systems and attic space, improving energy efficiency and air circulation within the building.


  • Higher Construction Costs: Steep incline roofs require more materials and labor during construction, making them more expensive to install initially.

4. Architectural Continuous Seam Roof

The architectural continuous seam roof design is known for its sleek appearance and modern aesthetic. It features continuous seams, providing a visually appealing, uninterrupted surface.


  • Aesthetic Appeal: The architectural continuous seam design offers a clean, sophisticated look, enhancing the overall appearance of the commercial property.
  • Weather Resistance: The continuous seams ensure superior weather resistance, protecting the building from rain, wind, and other harsh weather conditions.
  • Low Maintenance: This design typically requires minimal maintenance due to its durable and reliable construction.


  • Cost and Installation: The continuous seam design can be costlier to install compared to traditional roofing options due to the specialized materials and skilled labor required.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Commercial Roof Design

Now that you know the different types of commercial roof designs, it’s time to make a choice. But to ensure you make an informed decision, here are key factors you need to keep in mind; 

  • Climate and Weather Conditions: Assess the local climate, including temperature variations, rainfall, snow, and wind patterns. Choose a roof design that can withstand and efficiently manage the prevailing weather conditions in Calgary.
  • Building Use and Occupancy: Consider the purpose of the building and how the roof design will support the activities within. Different businesses may have specific requirements, such as HVAC installations or rooftop access for maintenance.
  • Drainage and Water Management: Evaluate the design’s ability to manage water effectively, considering both regular rain and potential heavy downpours. Proper drainage mechanisms are crucial to prevent water pooling and structural damage.
  • Roof Load Capacity: Understand the load-bearing capacity of the roof and assess whether the design can support additional loads like HVAC units, solar panels, or snow accumulation in winter.
  • Energy Efficiency and Insulation: Opt for a design that allows for effective insulation, promoting energy efficiency and reducing heating or cooling costs. Consider materials that reflect solar radiation and minimize heat absorption.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Evaluate the maintenance demands of the design, including routine inspections, repairs, and cleaning. Choose a design that aligns with your maintenance capabilities and budget.
  • Aesthetics and Local Regulations: Ensure that the roof design complements the overall aesthetics of the building. Additionally, consider local zoning laws, building codes, and any aesthetic regulations that may influence your design options.

Let’s Find the Perfect Commercial Roof Design Together

Here at DiamondCut Roofing, we don’t just install and repair commercial roofs, we can also help you pick the perfect design. Over the many years that we have been in this industry, we have worked with many commercial roof designs. As a result, we’re well aware of the pros and cons of each. Together, we can identify the ideal roof that best suits your commercial property. What are you waiting for? Contact us today so that we can start brainstorming roof design ideas. 


What materials are commonly used for commercial roof designs?

Common materials for commercial roofs include single-ply membranes (e.g., TPO, PVC, EPDM), built-up roofing (BUR), metal roofing (standing seam or corrugated), modified bitumen, asphalt shingles, and green roof components. The choice of material depends on factors like durability, weather resistance, cost, and intended lifespan.

What are the benefits of a green roof in commercial roof design?

Green roofs, or vegetated roofs, provide numerous benefits for commercial buildings. They improve energy efficiency, reduce stormwater runoff, enhance air quality, provide natural insulation, create green spaces, and contribute to environmental sustainability by promoting biodiversity and reducing the urban heat island effect.

How can I ensure my commercial roof design is energy-efficient?

To ensure energy efficiency in commercial roof design, consider using reflective or cool roofing materials, proper insulation, and incorporating technologies like solar panels or a green roof system. Regular maintenance and inspection to identify and address any issues promptly are also crucial for maintaining energy efficiency.

Can a commercial roof design accommodate solar panels?

Yes, many commercial roof designs can accommodate solar panels. Flat roofs, in particular, are often ideal for solar panel installations. However, pitched roofs can also host solar panels, especially if they face the sun and have adequate structural support.

What are the maintenance requirements for different commercial roof designs?

Maintenance requirements vary based on the commercial roof design and material used. Regular inspections, cleaning, and addressing any damage or leaks promptly are common maintenance practices. Flat roofs may require more frequent inspections for pooling water, while pitched roofs may need gutter cleaning and shingle replacements.