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Commercial and Residential Roofs: Understanding the Difference

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Whether it is commercial or residential, every roof may look the same at first glance, but in reality, it is unique and has distinctive features. We know what you’re thinking right now, that you are aware of the different roof styles, namely flat and gabled, so why should you read on? Well, friends, a roof is more

than just its design; there are many other features that separate one roof from the others. Installation, life expectancy, and the area a roof has to cover are some factors that are responsible for giving different roofings a unique identity of their own. This means that there must be innumerable roofs in the world, so naturally, it’s impossible to study all of them. Surely, that’s correct, but we are going to go over the two main roof categories of roofing, commercial and residential, and examine their differences to help you understand the needs of both types.

Commercial and residential roofs are dissimilar in mainly two regards; one is the area each has to cover, and the other is upkeep. That said, there could be more differences as well, but those depend on a property owner’s preference and budget.

Leaving the customized dissimilarities aside, let’s dissect the common distinctions between a residential and commercial roof.


Although not a hard and fast rule, a commercial roof is generally flat or low-sloped, and it has to cover a much more extensive area than a residence. It requires vigorous maintenance and regular inspections to stay functional and safe. Property owners must also account for other hazardous factors that could affect a commercial roof, such as the construction equipment’s weight, possible snowfall, etc. And yes, these aspects have to be considered even with a residential roof, but the stakes are much higher when a commercial roof is in question as the damage can be colossal.

Moreover, a residential roof does not have to weigh in so many structural factors as a commercial roof.


Commercial and residential roof materials can be the same, but they vary in cost, lifespan, and application due to the different footages that they cater to. Since a commercial roof is nearly flat, it typically has a metal or membrane roof, whereas a residential roof is much steeper; hence has many options to choose from when it comes to materials.

Although most contractors usually guide property owners about the right options for their roofs, here is a list of the most popular and widely chosen materials used for both commercial and residential roofs.

  • Metal panel roofing-standing seam
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Single-ply membrane

In the case of commercial roofing, recruited experts must factor in all the maintenance needs that will affect the roof’s longevity, such as external piping, airflow systems, etc. Making the right arrangements for ensuring effective maintenance of a commercial roof is essential; otherwise, you will have to pay hefty sums of money in repairs later as the expanse is much vaster than in a residential roof.


The best way to ensuring that befitting roofing materials are used is hiring professionals who understand the different demands of the two styles. If you want to steer clear of incorrect roofing choices, you must hire experienced roofers like American roofing to help you with all your roofing needs.