Differences Between Commercial and Residential Roofing


The roof of a building has one main job: to protect the inside of a building from harsh weather elements. But there are many different types and each serves a specific purpose. As well, there are significant differences between roofing for residential and commercial buildings. 

Knowing the difference between the two roofing types can give you knowledge on which one you will need for your residential or commercial buildings. Some people buy the wrong type of roofing, which ultimately ends up not getting used because the roofing will not fit the building’s roof. 

Different Roofing Materials

One of the major differences between commercial and residential roofing is the type of materials. Usually, the two would vary depending on specific noticeable differences, including:

Roof Type: A commercial building’s roof usually has a flatter roof surface because of the several systems, such as HVAC, and plumbing, installed at the top of the roof. Technicians and workers pass through the roof access hatch to fix several systems, and they cannot do that with a sloped roof, so it’s only plausible that a commercial building’s roof is mostly flat. 

A residential building doesn’t need a flat roof most of the time unless homeowners prefer constructing a rooftop for them to use. However, houses without a flat rooftop have a sloped roof because it helps redirect water into the house’s gutters with ease. The sloped roof also provides the homeowners an attic to use as storage. 

Weather Conditions: Commercial buildings usually need a roofing material to protect them from harsh weather conditions, such as high heat, cold, or heavy rain. Usually, contractors use asphalt on flat roofs because they extend or contract depending on the weather, ensuring that the roof’s internal structure never morphs. 

However, residential buildings don’t need maximum weather protective features on their roof. Most residential building roofs can function efficiently with steel roofs, which are excellent on sloped roofing. Metal roofing also provides good cold and heat insulation, ensuring everyone inside the house doesn’t have to feel too hot or cold. 

Costs: Commercial buildings need a specific type of roofing that can provide the best features. Some examples of expensive roofing materials are Thermostat (EPDM) Roof Membrane and the Built-Up Roofing (BUR) Membrane. A commercial building’s roof is more costly than most residential houses, which means the costs could go higher. 

Residential buildings function well without spending too much money on the best type of roofing. Most of the time, homeowners buy asphalt or wooden shingles, which are inexpensive roofing materials that can provide essential qualities to achieve effective comfortability inside the house. 

If you want to lower the costs even more, you can find recyclable roofing materials like recycled shingles. Manufacturers can create roofing shingles from recyclable materials, including asphalt, wood fiber and plastic.

The Amount of Maintenance Required

Another element that separates commercial and residential roofing is the amount of maintenance that each requires. 

Commercial Building Maintenance: Roofing contractors need to inspect and maintain commercial building roofs every six months. They also have a dedicated roofing contractor that makes scheduled visits to the building without the building owner to call them unless it’s an emergency. Any damage to the roof can potentially cause extensive damage to the commercial building, which also means expensive repairs. 

Residential Building Maintenance: On the other hand, homeowners need to hire a roofing contractor to maintain or inspect their roofs twice a year. It’s also an inexpensive service since most roofs of houses are not that wide or extensive. The inspections often last for a few minutes, and homeowners can determine the condition right away. The homeowners can also do the roofing inspections, which saves them more money. 

The number one enemy of roofing is mostly weather because of how it’s always out in the open. It’s also the reason both residential and commercial building owners look for sustainable roofing materials to ensure it doesn’t cause damage to the environment when roofing contractors decide to replace them in the long run. 

Residential buildings use shingles on their roof because of its wood material, making it easier to recycle when replacing damaged shingles. On the other hand, some commercial buildings prefer planting a green roof, especially in urban cities where there aren’t too many plants around. 

The Complexity of the Installation

Since most commercial buildings have more expansive roofs, the time it takes to do the installation is longer. It also takes multiple roofing contractors to do the installation if the commercial building owners want them to finish the job faster. 

But when installing a residential building’s roof, a single roofing contractor can finish it within a few days because of how easy it is to install the roofing. The only time roofing contractors will have difficulty with the installation is if the house is tall. Still, they usually have no issues doing it because of their safety equipment and years of experience. 

Don’t forget to discuss with your contractor about choosing what type of roofing will work best. Whether it’s a commercial structure or a residential building, it’s best to talk to a professional because they know everything about choosing the proper roofing. 

Author Bio:

Chris Jackson is an experienced Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry. He is currently employed by Best Access Doors, an access door supplier in the US and Canada, and has been working for the company for more than 12 years now. His area of expertise is on Negotiation, Roofers, Sales, Project Estimation, and Facility Management (FM)

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