August 3

4 Main Differences Between Residential and Commercial Roofs

Homeowners or business owners do not always give much thought to roofing until there is a problem.  To the average person, there may seem to be little difference between a residential roof and a commercial roof. A trained and knowledgeable roofing contractor understands those differences.

The main function of both commercial and residential roofs is similar, in that they protect the people and objects in the buildings beneath them from the weather and other potential damage. However, there are major differences between them.

What Sets Residential and Commercial Roofs Apart?

While it may seem as though one roof is no different from than the next, quite the opposite is true. Each roof has a unique purpose, design, and identity which works to serve the structure it protects. Residential and commercial roofs have very different and particular needs based on their requirements.

residential commercial roofing

By understanding the key differences between residential and commercial roofs, you will be able to choose the best roofing system for your building. Here are 4 unique factors between the two types of roofs:

1. Slope Steepness

Many residential roofs have curb appeal due to their steep, slanted slopes. Having an attractive roof makes a home appear more desirable to the homeowner or a buyer. Residential roofs are visible and the options for homeowners are plentiful. The roof also doesn’t apply much pressure to the house because it covers a smaller area.

Commercial roofs are typically flat and normally above the line of sight, so appearance is less important. It usually has no slope and is not visible from the curb. Some commercial buildings have a slight, calculated slope to avoid pooling water and to allow rainwater to flow straight onto the gutters.

Most commercial roofing is designed for function. No consideration is given to decorative colors or patterns. Commercial roofs cover a larger surface area, therefore more pressure is applied to the structure.

2. Materials

Asphalt shingles, tiles, cedar shake shingles, and slate are the most common materials used in residential roofing. This is because each of these materials sheds precipitation easily on a steep slope.

Commercial roofs are often made from different metals, like galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, tin, and others. They can also contain composite materials like PVC, Thermoset roof membrane, and built-up roof membranes, composed with several reinforced layers.

3. Installation

Ultimately the slope and materials help decide a roof installation process. The differences in the surface areas determine the time it takes to install each type of roofing. Homes are smaller in size so a new roof can typically be done in one day.  For residential roofs, boards of wood are attached to trusses. Underlayment is installed, followed by the outer roofing material of choice.

Commercial roofing, on the other hand, involves installing material onto layers of metal and insulation. The amount of labor required also varies depending on the intensity of the installation process. Commercial roofs can typically take several weeks to be installed. Special tools, materials, or safety equipment may be required for a commercial job. This is generally because there are more steps and moving parts in place for a project of larger magnitude.

4. Maintenance

Residential and commercial roofs both require maintenance, but often of differing amounts. Residential building owners should conduct occasional visual inspections from the ground, looking for wind-damaged or missing shingles, particularly after a storm.

A homeowner should never go onto his or her roof, as walking on a sloped roof can be extremely unsafe. If something is out of place, an experienced roofing contractor can inspect the roof and make the necessary repairs to prevent further damage.

Commercial roofs also require regular inspections and preventative maintenance. Although it’s less challenging to walk on a flatter commercial roof, it’s still advisable to contact a professional to inspect any damages. Commercial building owners should also be aware of any rooftop mechanical equipment and ensure that mechanical contractors working on the roof don’t damage the roof while there.

The Professional Roofers for Both Commercial and Residential

Whatever type of roof you have, you should always work with a professional roofing contractor that specializes in your particular type of roof. Brian Dawson Roofing can inspect, maintain, repair or replace both residential and commercial roofs. 

You’ll see that you’ve made the right choice in choosing a roofing contractor with the experience, the reputation, and the ability to handle the most complex installations or repair. Whether you need a few minor repairs or a significant roof replacement, our team can get the job done in a timely and efficient manner.


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