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  • Joseph Gilreath

A Roof Is A Roof, Right?

What is the Difference Between Residential and Commercial Roofing and Why Does it Matter?



Whether it’s someone’s residential home or a professional office building, sound roofing is essential to protecting the interior of the building from environmental damage. A sound roof can make the difference between a dry, safe interior and potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars in property damage. Although commercial roofs serve the same function as residential roofs, the two are not constructed quite the same. Many different things, such as materials, shape, and design tend to differ when comparing residential roofing and commercial roofing. As a result, roofing companies have to outline and explain the various differences between constructing and repairing the two types, when doing business with customers and clients.


Commercial Roof

A commercial roof is generally flat and made of either metal or some type of membrane material. Commercial roofing is often installed on buildings that are not fully insulated or insulated. Commercial roofing is usually installed on buildings with high ceilings and walls that are exposed to the elements. Commercial roofs also tend to have the building’s HVAC and plumbing located on the roof, which poses a challenge unique to commercial roofing. This type of roofing also requires a greater level of protection from harsher weather conditions, such as extreme cold, extreme heat, or even extreme rain, snow, sleet, etc., as opposed to residential roofing, which is not as subject to damage as its commercial counterparts are.


Commercial roofs tend to have a higher cost due in part to the fact they are larger than residential buildings and require special equipment to install and maintain the roof.

Residential Roofs

A residential roof, in contrast to a commercial roof, is generally steeper than a commercial roof and is shaped in an inclined pattern, a declining pattern, or both. They are commonly built with asphalt shingles, which is a fairly inexpensive materials for roofing. Some residential clients even have solar panels installed into their roofing, which is an eco-friendly and economical solution to simultaneously protecting a home and heating it, as well. They can also be built with other materials, such as cedar, metal, or recycled materials, as well. Residential roofs are also generally built on top of plywood or an engineered wood panel called an OSB board base which is an economic alternative to plywood.


Residential roofs require less maintenance and are less costly to repair or replace.

Other Differences

Just like commercial and residential roofs are built differently and with different materials, commercial and residential roofs each require their own different and respective skill sets. As a result, roofing companies train their residential roofing teams differently from their commercial roofing teams. Residential roofers are trained to complete roofing projects quickly and complete one to two houses in a single day. Commercial roofers have to work more slowly though because commercial roofing is often more complex to build and repair than residential roofing. Rather than taking a single day, it can take several days or even several weeks for a commercial roofing team to complete a single roof. Commercial roofing teams also tend to have more experience in dealing with structural issues such as roof leaks and water damage, and they also have more experience in dealing with harsher weather extremes than residential roofing teams. As a result of all of these challenges, Commercial roof projects tend to be significantly more expensive than residential roof projects can be.



The experts at Herring Residential and Commercial are trained and have the expertise to see your residential or commercial project to completion. Just because commercial roofs are built differently from residential roofs doesn’t mean you have to hire entirely different companies. Reach out to the experts at Herring for a free estimate.



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