Ask any professional roofing contractor and they will tell you – commercial roofing and residential roofing are very different. They serve different purposes altogether sometimes, use different materials and installation techniques, and have their own unique maintenance requirements as well.
The most obvious difference between commercial and residential roofs comes down to the slope. Commercial roofs are typically built in Canada and the United States using low slope roofing systems – this is any roof with a slope of 14 degrees or less. Meanwhile, residential roofing is built typically on steep slope roofing systems – that is, any roof with a slope greater than 14 degrees and that utilizes materials to accumulate water run-off. Despite these generalizations, take a drive around your local region and you will see commercial and residential properties that have the opposite style of roof than is dictated here. This is perfectly possible. There are no real rules or limitations when it comes to roofing. Commercial properties may not necessarily have a low slope roofing characteristic – though most do.
The biggest goal for a roof is to protect a building’s structure and the contents inside. Typically, residential roofs may be designed with more of an aesthetic approach, adding curb appeal. For commercial properties, this is not as important per se. Design trends don’t really come into play when building commercial roofing systems. Instead, commercial roofs face a different set of challenges in navigating size, weight, and expenses. The installation, repair, and replacement of commercial roofs is challenging for many properties. This is in part why they are so often flat. Flat roofs are able to accommodate larger sizes and heavier weights better than sloped roofs. That said, because of their flat nature, commercial roofs require different materials to prevent water from gathering. There may be additional considerations that need to be made, depending on the commercial or industrial environment. This makes aesthetic less a priority and practicality far more important. Needless to say, commercial roofs can be endlessly more complex.
At the end of the day, whether it’s a residential roof or a commercial roof, ensuring that the needs of a property are addressed and that a proper installation has been completed is key. Hire a professional roofing contractor with experience in your region handling the exact kind of roof you want for your property. This is the best way to ensure that there are no unexpected complications or surprises along the way. By selecting an experienced, knowledgeable contractor, they should be able to perform a successful install.
Remember, there are different specializations and skillsets for different roofing projects and materials. Be sure to ask questions prior to settling on a contractor to ensure they have the knowledge required in your specific roofing system.
The differences between residential and commercial roofs have been outlined here briefly. Speaking with a professional roofing contractor, if you have specific concerns about your residential or commercial property, they may be able to help. Depending on the property, climate, and location, there may be different materials or systems to recommend. The more information you have on what roofing system is best suited to your needs, the more informed the decision you can make.