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Home Improvement

The Difference Between Residential Roofing and Commercial Roofing

2 Mins read

Both commercial and residential roofs protect the items and people beneath them, but they have major differences in design, materials, and how they’re maintained. All roofs need excellent installation by experienced contractors who understand the differences between residential and commercial expectations and requirements for their roofs. Some roofing products are made differently; therefore, a contractor must draw the lines for what they need when handling either a resident or commercial project. Here are some differentiating factors between residential and commercial roofing to better understand.

The Difference Between Residential Roofing and Commercial Roofing


Commercial structures are designed to be far bigger than residential buildings. Therefore, the roof must be built to handle the extra size of a bigger area. Another difference is that roofs for residential buildings are able to have a steeper slope than commercial ones. Steeper slopes are easy to install, and it prevents debris deposition that can damage the shingles, gutters among other things. Commercial roofs have flat or slightly sloping designs like in factories, restaurants, shops, or warehouses. The roof surface can harbor different items like industrial pipes or AC blowers. It can also have several openings for skylights, blower outlets, and smokestacks. Residential roofs might only have solar panels with openings for vent stacks, skylights, or chimneys.

Roofing Materials

The roofing materials for either commercial or residential roofs differ depends on the climate and weather conditions, the cost of those materials, especially for large areas or more intricate projects, and the design of the building the roof is going to cover. Therefore, the roofing contractor you hire must decide on the materials needed on a certain roof based on things like budget and what would work best in the area you live, especially during times when the weather can be a little more extreme. Many residential roofs are done using asphalt shingles because of their easy installation and cost-effectiveness. The residential roofs also entail plywood nailed to the rafters to develop roof decks. A residential roofer then installs an underlayment for protection before adding shakes, tiles, or shingles.

Commercial roofs are covered with tar, gravel, bitumen, single-play materials like TPO and PVC among other roofing structures. Commercial roofs have different layers like reflecting coating, decking, and insulation. The combination layers are defined by the roofing type used. Commercial roofing comes with diversified options, unlike residential ones.


Commercial structures occupy vast spaces; therefore, roof maintenance can be more demanding. The gutters should be frequently cleaned over the winter because more blockage can happen because of the accumulating debris. Harsh weather conditions can disintegrate your roof shingles, and so repeated checkups should be done. Residential roofs demand less expensive maintenance of their smaller sizes and easier inspection for damages. You can unblock the clogged gutters and replace the broken shingles.

Roofing may seem similar for commercial and residential projects, but differences in design, materials, maintenance and the cost involved draw the line. Commercial roofs are flattened to cover vast premises while residential roofs are smaller and highly sloping because they cover a smaller space beneath. Materials used for these roofs differ based on the design. Also, roof maintenance for residential homes is easier than for commercial properties.

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