What’s the Difference Between Commercial & Residential Roofing?

If you are in need of a new roof, you may be wondering what the difference is between residential and commercial roofing. These two fields differ in a variety of ways, and some of the most important are outlined below.

Roofing Materials

The type of materials used may vary, depending on whether the roofing project is commercial or residential in nature. While some commercial buildings might use the same roof coverings that would be used in a residential building, like wood shakes or asphalt shingles, the size of the roof will be the major factor. Selecting materials will be based on the roof’s slope, occupancy, and average weather conditions. Materials that are commonly used on commercial roofs include:

  • Built-Up Roof
  • Metal Roofing
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
  • Tile Roofing


The design of commercial roofs usually differs from that of residential structures. Commercial roofs are commonly low sloped or flat and they are usually larger than the roof on a residential home. Flat roofs often have problems with being repaired, and in some cases replacement of an entire section is needed for maintenance. Commercial roofs also require specialized designs to deal with the weight of certain equipment and weather conditions


As a whole, the cost of roofing a commercial building is more expensive than a residential property. The greater area of a commercial roof is one cause, but the unique tools, protection equipment, and other components required to do the job may also be excessive when compared to residential roofing projects.

Other Factors

Commercial roofs also need to account for other factors that residential homes just don’t require. For example, many commercial roofs require external pieces like piping, smoke stacks, and air flow systems. With the exception of a fireplace and chimney, most residential homes don’t require these components.