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Commercial Roofing v/s Residential Roofing: Stating the Difference
Home Improvement

Commercial Roofing v/s Residential Roofing: Stating the Difference 

Since the old age, no matter how far a man would venture for food, at nightfall, he would search for shelter to protect him from predators as well as the weather. Whether it is a cave or a tent made of leaves, human survival relied on their protection and safety. Fast forward to modern times, a man finds solace in a building made of bricks and stone, and a roof becomes more than protection.

The roof became an essential structure of a building. Not only does it protect the interiors from the harsh weather elements. But a top also adds to the aesthetics of a building (remember the snow-covered roofs in all the Christmas greetings). Many repurpose their roofs as a rooftop garden, organizing rooftop parties, or installation points for HVAC and heating ducts.

For a layman, a roof is a roof, but for a commercial roofing contractor, a roof can be a residential roof or commercial roof. Considerable differences are not restricted to where the roof is installed.

In this article, we shall be looking into the key differences that set residential and commercial roofings apart from each other.


In addition to protection from weather elements, aesthetics and purpose are two criteria for designing a residential roof. As we stated earlier, many people tend to convert their rooftops into functional gardens or specialized sit-outs to organize parties. Since residential roofs are easily visible from the line of sight, people tend to choose colorful tops to increase the visual appeal and make it desirable. To maintain the aesthetics, the discreet roof gutters and drain pipes don’t compromising the functionality. Homeowners also choose sloping roofs over a flat roof as it makes cleaning easy. The area below the slope can be utilized as an attic.

Commercial roofs, on the other hand, cover a large area compared to residential roofs, and purpose precedes aesthetics. Hence commercial roofs tend to be slightly sloped or completely flat surfaces. Moreover, since they are way above the line of sight, commercial roofs are generally used as a holding place for all HVAC units, chimneys, communication satellites, or solar panels. The foot traffic on commercial roofs is significantly low as it is only accessed for service and maintenance.

Materials used

Depending on the type of roof, the quantity and the type of materials changes. Since most commercial roofs are flat or near flat in shape, it observes more damage from the weather. The reason is that a commercial roof gets the most exposure to direct sunlight and weather elements such as snow, rain, and hail. So, additional materials are used for protecting the top layer.

Commercial Roofing VS Residential Roofing

Additionally, the placement of heavy equipment such as HVAC outlets and chimney vents means you need to have a more substantial base to bear the additional weight. Heavy machinery generates heat, and unless it is discharged safely. It can severely affect the strength of your roof structure and support beams. Even the shingles around the vents need to be heat resistant to avoid buckling or shearing.

In residential roofing services, depending on the slope of the roof, you need support beams, adhesive asphalt sheets, shingles, gutters, and drain pipes as the base materials to have a functional roof. Depending on the weather of a specific location, you may also need to add insulation or waterproofing to prevent the seepage.

Maintenance Needed

Irrespective of the type, constant maintenance is required for increased longevity of your roof. But the steps taken for roof repair or maintenance are different for residential and commercial roofs. As mentioned earlier, commercial buildings tend to be taller, and since the tops are flat, they are more susceptible to damage from exposure to harsh sunlight and radiation. So, you need unique materials to either absorb the radiation or reflect it.

Also, any leaks would mean changing a lot more of the support structure around the leak as they may also be compromised. When a roof is replaced, it would mean that all adjoining smokestacks, air conditioning ducts, or external piping should be removed before the process could be begun. With so much to consider, emergency roof repair requirements are generally common for commercial roofs. As any compromise to the waterproofing layer would result in water damage to the structure.

Compared to commercial roofing maintenance, residential roofs need less maintenance. In residential roofs, the most common repairs required are blocked drain pipes for gutters and broken shingle replacement. Since the ceilings are generally sloped, any repairs may take time but not much compared to any commercial roofing repairs.

Skills Needed

Working on sloped roofs means you cannot put excessive weight on the shingles while conducting roof repairs. The most common roof repair botch-ups are attempting DIY roof repairs or hiring unskilled roofing contractors. In addition to proper safety measures, any inspection, repairs, or maintenance on your residential roofs requires skilled contractors. And workers who can isolate the problem without incurring additional damages (and eventually repair costs).

Conducting repairs on commercial roofs also requires skilled workers who can work on the roof repairs. Without needing to shut down the building or stalling the work going inside the building. When working on commercial roof repairs. The workers need to work around obstacles such as external piping, smokestacks, cooling and heating installations, communication equipment, etc. Commercial roofs are more comfortable to inspect but time-consuming to repair, whereas residential roofs are complex to inspect.

Wrapping Up

Irrespective to the roof type, your roofing contractor charges you based on the following three criteria:

  • Size
  • Function
  • Design

Also, whether you have a residential or a commercial roofing project, look for professionals that have extensive experience. In the roofing industry as they can give the best solutions. A skilled roofing contractor like Farha Roofing would consider all the different challenges and potential critical zones. On your roof before working on repairing or replacing anything to ensure a leak-proof and intact top for years to come.

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