What Is The Difference Between Commercial and Residential Roofing?

What Is The Difference Between Commercial and Residential Roofing?

Not every roof is built the same, but even if we are talking about different classes of roof, there are still commonalities. Whether you are installing a commercial or residential roof, there are a wide range of materials and even styles from which you can choose. Another similarity amongst all roofs is the fact that damage can pose a significant risk to your building and its contents, not to mention the fact that roofing repairs can be costly. Nevertheless, there are some fundamental differences between residential and commercial roofs. So what is the difference between commercial and residential roofs? To answer this question we must consider roofing materials and design.

Materials and Style

There are some materials that are common to both residential and commercial. For example, each type of roof may feature asphalt or another type of shingle such as slate, tile, ceramic, or wood shakes. Moreover, there are metal roofing options for both commercial and residential design, and you probably would not be surprised to learn that there are commercial and residential examples of solar or built-up roofs. Still, there are some basic differences that distinguish commercial from residential roofs.

First and foremost, commercial usually have a flat slope while residential are much steeper. Moreover, the size of commercial roofs is generally much greater and this places different demands on the roofer. In fact, in many cases roofing specialists will focus most of their work on one or the other; while not impossible, it is less common to find a roofing professional that specializes in both commercial and residential design. That being said, some roofing companies employ experts with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to effectively offer both types of roofing repair or replacement to potential customers.


As mentioned, commercial roofs tend to feature a low slope, and in many cases they are entirely flat. On the other hand, residential are generally have a much steeper pitch, and their smaller size means there are different installation factors to consider. For example, flat typically require more frequent repair, and without proper maintenance they can be more susceptible to leaks. However, the materials and design of commercial roofs mean that pitched are not usually an appropriate choice. For example, commercial usually need to be able to hold more weight than a residential roof, and this difference can make maintenance and repair more costly or challenging.

Other Differences

In most cases, residential roofs are easier to install, repair and maintain. The majority of these kind of roofs have few fixtures, and contractors will only have to deal with a chimney and a few vents. On the other hand, commercial roofs usually have smoke stacks, air flow systems, and other elements of external piping that can make roofing work more complicated.


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