This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but commercial roofing and residential roofing systems are not the same. Not only do commercial and residential roofs often serve different purposes, they have different materials and installation processes. One of the main distinguishing features of commercial and residential roofs is actually the slope, so we may compare the two by referring to low slope and steep slope roofing systems.
Commercial roofs most often comprise low slope roofing systems, and these can be defined by those roofs with a slope of 14 degrees or less. On the other hand, steep slope roofing systems are greater than 14 degrees and utilize shedding materials so that water runs off the roof. Still, you may have noticed that some residential roofs would fall into the category of low slope and some commercial roofs are steep slope, and you’d be right. There are no hard and fast rules for all roofs, but there is a general trend for commercial roofs to be flat and residential roofs to be pitched.
Ultimately, the main goal of a roof, whether commercial or residential, is to protect a building structure and the contents of that structure from the elements. Nevertheless, the form and function of these types of roof can still vary significantly. For example, residential roofs are typically designed with aesthetics at the forefront; a pitched slope is more visible and adds an extra element to the overall appearance of the house. Roofs are selected specifically for how they look, and you’re likely to notice that in some geographic regions particular types of residential roofs are more common. This is often a result of design trends more than the actual function of the roof.
On the other hand, commercial roofs tend to be larger, heavier, and more expensive to install, repair, and replace. Because of their size, sloped roofs are less practical. As a result, they tend to be flat and do not have a pitch to help divert water and require different materials to prevent water from entering the building structure. Moreover, commercial roofs often have different structures in order to serve their commercial or industrial purposes. Indeed, appearance or aesthetic are considerably less important factors when designing a commercial roof.
Regardless of the roofing project you are working on, you need to make sure you hire a professional roofer with experience and expertise in the specific type of structure you are working with. Commercial roofs require very different skills for installation than residential roofs. Similarly, commercial roofing projects will usually require more manpower, different tools, and specific materials. When contacting potential contractors, you’ll quickly learn that the most important piece of information they need from you is whether you have a commercial or residential roofing project.