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Roofing Differences

Many people believe that all roofs are the same, but the truth is that roofs can be grouped into two types which are residential and commercial roofs. These two types have many differences, especially in their colors and sizes. They also differ in their uses. For example, you can't place a roof designed for a restaurant on your house.

Awareness of the differences between commercial and residential roofing is essential because it will come in handy when you need a roof replacement or roof repairs for your home or a commercial building. Apart from size and color, commercial and residential roofs differ in many other aspects, including installation, design, roof material, maintenance requirement, and cost.

This article will take you through the differences between residential and commercial roofing. Before proceeding with these differences, here are some key things you should know about commercial and residential roofs.

Commercial Roof And Residential Roof Defined

Commercial roofs are installed on newly existing roofs or on newly constructed buildings. These buildings are primarily commercial properties like restaurants, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, etc. There are different kinds of commercial roofing services, which include roof ridge pointing repair, re-roofing, cementitious waterproofing, torch-on membrane, acrylic polymer coating, and more.

On the other hand, residential roofs are designed to be installed on homes and other types of residential properties. This type of roof also comes in different styles and is made from different materials. These roof materials include wood shingles, slate tiles, metal roofing, composition shingles, and clay tiles. They also come in different styles, and the options include flat roofs, gable roofs, and frame roofs.

Residential Vs. Commercial Roofing

Even though they are both designed to serve the same purpose, which is for shelter and protection, it's worth noting that they have fundamental differences. We'll outline these differences below:


Roofing cost is generally higher for more significant buildings, which is why in most cases, commercial roofs tend to be more expensive than residential roofs. It's important to note that commercial roofs are generally larger than residential ones. This is another reason why you can't install a commercial roof on an average-sized home.

In addition, a commercial roof usually requires more equipment, tools, and materials for installation. Commercial roofs are mostly flat or slightly sloped, usually requiring more maintenance and inspections.

Installation process

Both roofs also differ in how they are installed. The installation process for residential roofs is generally more straightforward. Sometimes, a homeowner may require solar panel installation on their roof, but this is also easy and quick. With residential roofing installation, the only possible obstacle is a flue or chimney.

The solution to this problem is roof flashing, which is a thin material designed to stop water and insects from entering the chimney. Flashings also come in handy for homes with skylights and vents. This ensures that water runs on the side and into the shingles instead of the roof deck.

It's different with commercial roofing because their installation is only possible with the help of an expert or someone that understands areas like airflow systems, smokestacks, and external piping.

Materials used

It's easy to spot differences when you look at residential and commercial roofs for the first time. This is because they are made from different materials. On commercial properties, the materials mainly include single-ply membranes and metal panels. There are also commercial roofs with nearly flat or flat membranes.

However, that's not the case with residential roofs, as they are usually designed with a steep slope. When choosing materials for your roof, one key thing to remember is the material's lifespan. This should be a top priority, especially for commercial roofing. You also need to pay attention to the function of the building.

With residential roofs, the decision lies mainly on the homeowner's preference. This is in addition to other factors like durability, budget, what they want it to look like, and maintenance frequency.

In some cases, you can use the same materials for both settings. The standard options for this are thatched terracotta tiles, pebble, glass, timber-clad, corrugated metal, cedar tiles, steel roofing, solar tiles, and clay or ceramic roofing tiles.


Residential roofs and commercial roofs also differ in their structures. As mentioned earlier, commercial roofs are generally larger than residential roofs. This is because, in most cases, commercial buildings are more extensive, and as such, they will require roofs that match their size.

There are also other requirements to note, and this includes load and fixtures. The capacity of commercial roofs is generally more extensive, and this is due to the type of materials used in constructing them.


For emphasis, commercial roofs are larger than residential roofs. The only exception to this is when comparing a large mansion with a small commercial building. Even though commercial buildings have different sizes, they are more significant than residential ones.


We all want our homes to appear beautiful, and one of the first identifiable features of your home is the roof. This is why most homeowners use materials that are appealing and aesthetically pleasing.

That's not the case with commercial buildings, as they don't need to be aesthetically pleasing. This is because the roofs of commercial buildings aren't so visible, and no one pays attention to the type of roof on a commercial building.


This is also a factor that sets these two roofing types aside. Commercial roofing requires more maintenance due to its large size, which can be expensive. You'll need to regularly check the gutters with commercial buildings to ensure they are clean. Debris and other particles can accumulate on the roof, causing a blockage.

Another thing to note is that harsh weather conditions can disintegrate the roofing materials on commercial buildings. This is another reason why they require regular and frequent checks.

On the other hand, residential roofs offer a greater level of flexibility. This is because they are generally smaller. In addition, their structure makes it easier for homeowners to scan the roof and identify damages. Unblocking gutters is also easier on residential buildings than on commercial buildings.

Additional Distinguishing Factors To Know

Roofing companies usually charge more for commercial roofing than residential roofing. The critical thing to note is that a roofer working on residential roofs can also work on commercial roofs and vice versa. Before you install a roofing system, one of the critical things to consider is the climate condition in your region. This is particularly important for commercial buildings.

The focus for residential buildings is mostly on aesthetics, while with commercial roofs, the focus is mainly on the roof's functionality. In addition, residential roofs usually have a water-shedding feature, but that's not the case with commercial roofing systems. So, if you're unsure which type of roofing you need, it is best to contact roofing experts. These experts are familiar with all aspects of roofing.

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