Is there really a difference between one roof and another? Isn’t a roof, just a roof? Well, there are actually differences between roofing systems, especially between commercial and residential ones. The main differences between these two roofs are in materials, function, and maintenance.

1.) Materials

Due to the general difference in shape between residential and commercial roofs, different materials need to be used. Residential roofs use higher pitches (i.e. have a steeper slope which makes it look triangular) which means more classic materials need to be used. Common materials found in residential roofing include:

  • Wood
  • Asphalt
  • Shingles
  • Tile
  • Slate

However, these materials would not be conducive to a flat commercial roof. Flat commercial roofing uses sturdier and more industrial quality materials. Common materials found in flat commercial roofing include:

  • Built-up roofing materials
  • TPO
  • EPDM
  • Asphalt and slate

The different materials used for each type of roof have specific purposes based on the functional needs of the building or home.

2.) Function

All roofs share the same common goal of sheltering humans from the elements. However, commercial roofs serve more than just this purpose. Residential roofs are meant to keep moisture and debris from entering your home. Since the slopes of residential roofs are steeper they aim to also drain any excess water from your roof after a storm. This drainage system is typically in the form of gutters but there are other drainage methods for residential roofing. This sloped shaped of residential roofs, however, are not ideal for commercial buildings.

Commercial buildings, in general, take up more square footage than an ordinary residential home. Because of this, commercial buildings need a lot of equipment and machinery to keep the building up and running. If you’ve ever been to the top of a commercial building you usually see a ton of electrical equipment, such as generators and AC units, on the roof. A flat roof can support the weight of this expensive machinery much more effectively than a sloped roof can.

3.) Maintenance

The last major difference between these two roofing types is the maintenance costs associated with them. In general, residential roofs are easier to maintain and cost less to repair or replace. This not only has to do with the size of the roof but also the shape. Since residential roofs are sloped, water drains much easier. Flat commercial roofs, however, are much more prone to pools of water forming on the roof which can cause damage over time. Because of this, commercial roofs need to have routine maintenance checks more regularly than resident roofs. Commercial roofing is also more prone to leaking because of the amount of external piping and smoke stacks needed to properly ventilate a commercial building. Additionally, it is not uncommon for commercial roofs to have some sort of rooftop garden or lounge for building employees. This type of roof structure adds yet another maintenance responsibility to preserving the integrity of the roof.

If you suspect it’s time for a commercial building roof inspection, your local commercial roof service in Stuart, FL will be happy to help!