Difference Between Commercial and Residential Roofing

Whether it’s a residential property or a commercial, the roof plays a crucial role in shielding the building from rain, hail, snow, and wind. But while the terms “commercial” and “residential” roofing may seem self-explanatory, many factors set them apart from one another. This article aims to unravel the key difference between commercial and residential roofing, including materials, design, and maintenance considerations. So read on to learn about the difference between commercial and residential roofing.

Commercial and Residential Roofing: The Main Differences

There are some significant differences between commercial and residential roofing, including the following:

Roofing Design 

A key difference between commercial and residential roofing is their design; Commercial roofs are generally more flat than residential. Take an example of office building roofing; the design of these buildings typically follows a similar approach to commercial roofing.

Commercial roofing involves a flat or low-slope roof of ¼ inch per foot but with a larger surface area compared to residential roofing. Since office buildings tend to be larger and have more complex shapes, additional layers of insulation and waterproofing are necessary to prevent any leaks or damage.

commercial roofing

On the other hand, residential roofing is designed to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the property while providing insulation and protection from the elements. Residential roofs are typically steep-sloped, with a minimum slope of 4:12, allowing proper drainage. This slope ensures water runs off the roof quickly, preventing damage to the roof and the building’s structure.

residential roofing

Roofing Materials

The difference between commercial and residential roofing is evident in the type of materials used. For commercial roofing, materials such as TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin), PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), and metal are often chosen. These materials are more durable, energy-efficient, and can withstand the weight of HVAC systems and other equipment.

On the other hand, residential roofing typically uses shingles, tiles, or metal. These materials are more visually appealing and complement the home’s overall design. Residential roofing is also designed to provide insulation and protection from the elements, but they are less durable than commercial roofing materials.


Another difference between commercial and residential roofing is the way they are constructed. Commercial buildings require a different roofing system than residential buildings because of their size and design.

Commercial roofing systems are typically installed in sections to accommodate the building’s size, while residential roofing is installed in one piece. Commercial roofs are generally much larger than residential ones and require more material and labour to install.

As commercial roofs are usually bigger, so the time of installation is quite long. Even owners engage with multiple contractors to wrap up the work at the earliest. On the other hand, residential roofs can be completed within a span of a couple of days, and a single contractor is enough to handle the job.

Roofing Maintenance

Regular roof maintenance is essential for both commercial and residential roofing to ensure that the roof lasts for as long as possible. However, the difference between commercial and residential roofing is that the frequency of maintenance and the type of repairs required vary significantly.

Commercial roofing requires more frequent inspections and repairs due to heavy foot traffic, HVAC units, and other equipment.

Residential roofing, on the other hand, requires less frequent inspections and repairs due to less foot traffic and equipment. Additionally, residential roofing requires regular maintenance to ensure that the shingles, tiles, or metal panels are in good condition and are not damaged or missing.

Leaks are a common roofing problem that can occur in both residential and commercial roofing. However, the causes, consequences, and solutions of these leaks differ greatly between the two types of properties.

Please note that the below-mentioned causes of leaks can damage both types of roofs, but we are distinguishing them on the basis of the most common reasons behind the leaks.

Commercial Roof Leaks:

While commercial properties are often larger and designed to withstand heavy foot traffic, equipment, and weather conditions, leaks can still occur due to various reasons, such as;

Age: Older commercial roofs can become brittle and prone to cracking and breaking.

Poor Maintenance: Regular maintenance of the roofing system is essential to avoid leaks. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to clogged gutters, ponding water, and other problems that can cause leaks.

Structural Damage: Structural damage to the building can affect the roofing system as well. For example, if the building has settled or shifted, it can cause the roof to become unleveled, leading to ponding water.

Residential Roof Leaks:

Residential roofs are typically simpler in design than commercial roofs. They are designed to protect the home from the elements and provide insulation. However, leaks can still occur due to various reasons, such as;

Weather Conditions: Extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain, hail, or snow, can cause damage to the roofing system, leading to leaks.

Poor Installation: If the roofing system is not installed correctly, it can lead to leaks. Common installation errors include improper flashing, incorrect shingle installation, and inadequate ventilation.

Damaged Shingles: Shingles can become damaged due to various reasons, such as high winds, falling debris, or age. Damaged shingles can lead to leaks.

If you suspect a leak in your roof, it is important to address the problem as soon as possible. Ignoring a leak can lead to significant damage to your home and personal belongings. Contacting a professional roofing contractor in Vancouver is the best way to address the problem.

Roofing in Metro Vancouver

If you’re looking for reliable roofing services in Metro Vancouver, it’s crucial to keep in mind the unique climate challenges that these cities present. With heavy rainfall and harsh winter storms, you’ll need a contractor who specializes in roofing local properties and knows how to prevent damage from water and ice.

Additionally, knowing the difference between commercial and residential roofing is also important. If you’re a commercial property owner, you’ll need a contractor who has experience with commercial roofing materials and techniques. And if you’re a homeowner dealing with a roof leak, you’ll want to find a contractor who can provide fast and effective roof leak repair services in metro Vancouver.