What Are the Main Differences Between a Commercial and Residential Roof?

What Are the Main Differences Between a Commercial and Residential Roof?


Commercial and residential roofs do equally important work: They protect the people and objects in the buildings beneath them. Although they share some basic similarities, major differences exist as well.

Construction of Residential and Commercial Roofs

Residential roofs are typically steep-slope and constructed primarily with asphalt, slate, or cedar shake shingles. Some homeowners opt for tile or metal shingles as well.

Commercial, industrial, and institutional roofs are typically flat roofs, which range from old-style built-up roofs to modified single-ply. Because of their flat surfaces, these types of roofs can often serve as locations for gardens or solar panels. Commercial roofs tend to be much larger than residential roofs, and special consideration is required for the weight of the mechanical equipment often located on them.

Commercial roofs are generally more expensive than residential roofs, in part because of overall square footage but also due to the specialized tools and equipment required for safe, high-quality commercial roof installation and maintenance.

Maintenance of Residential and Commercial Roofs

Residential and commercial roofs both require attention, but often of differing amounts. All building owners, particularly those in areas that see a lot of tree debris, should ensure that gutters are clear and downspouts are open, as built-up debris can lead to ice damming or blockages. If downspouts open to the ground, owners should also make sure that exit points are clear so that water can move freely away from the building. If a building owner is unable to remove debris from gutters and downspouts, most professional roofing contractors will be able to do this for them.

Owners of both types of buildings should periodically check the condition of their roofs. Commercial building owners can take a walk around on the roof, note any potential issues, and contact a professional roofing contractor to handle them. Residential building owners, however, 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 amiss, an experienced roofing contractor can inspect the roof and make the necessary repairs to prevent further damage.

Unlike most residential roofs, commercial roofs require regular inspections and preventative maintenance. In addition to ensuring that gutters and downspouts are clear, a professional roofing contractor will identify problems of all sizes before they become much larger problems. 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.

One more thing all building owners should watch for: critters. Animals such as raccoons and squirrels can wreak havoc on any type of roof. They look for an entry point where they can push up a soffit or damage a flashing, and if they get inside they can cause tremendous damage.

Whatever type of roof you have, you should always work with a professional roofing contractor that specializes in your particular type of roof. Find an expert who can provide the best possible advice and service, and your roof will keep you—and everything else under your roof—protected from the elements.

Commercial, industrial, and institutional roofs require special care. Trust your roof to the experts. Contact Ridgeworth Roofing today.