Commercial & Residential Roofing Materials: Design & Maintenance to Consider

For many business and residential owners, a roof may be the same thing. But there are differences that people should know, especially if they need to install roofing over their stores or homes. 

Damage to either the commercial or residential types of roofs can result in a loss of property value. Therefore, it’s important that both of them were installed by qualified roofers like the ones on, and the materials should be the right ones. The right experts understand that the two types were not created equal. 

It’s important to know that the two are different in terms of maintenance, design, materials, and installation. Keep on reading to learn more.

What are the Major Differences to Consider?

1. Designs

The first distinction that is visible between the two is the design. Many shops and commercial establishments require larger footage than residential homes. The roof must support the extra size and weight of the building. It would be best if you had a strong contractor to carry the weight of the ancillaries and equipment pieces in commercial installations. Since the roofs are often flat, water tends to pool on them, resulting in more maintenance. 

When it comes to residential homes, the roofs are sometimes pitched, and they have higher slopes. Roofers may find these easier to install. However, there are chimneys and other obstacles that the workers need to avoid in residential homes in terms of design. The right contractors will consider these things and ensure that the result will be leak-free for years to come.

2. Materials Used in the Installation

The materials will vary depending on the location, shape, and climate in a property. Many residential homeowners use asphalt shingles because they are inexpensive and have longer lifespans. In commercial settings, the flat roofs are usually made up of metal, EPDM, and other materials that are guaranteed to last for a long time. 

Asphalt Roofs

This is a coal-tar pitch mixed with asphalt that is used in built-up roofing. The mixture becomes solid when put at normal temperatures, but they turn into a liquid state when it is heated. Asphalt is used for slopes that are common in many homes, and the coal-tar consistencies are usually for flat roofing projects. Read more about asphalt materials on this site here.

Built-ups usually consist of alternate layers of hot asphalt cement and saturated felts. They are designated into 5-ply or 3-ply based on the layers that they have. The base is nailed into the deck for more stability. The finishing surface is composed of stone chipsets and slags that are coated to protect the plies from rain and other weather elements.

Wood Shingles

The shingles are usually resistant to decay, and they come from redwoods, cedars, or cypresses. They are available in many grades, and they can be hand-split or machine-sewn.

The wooden shingles are applied to both the walls and roofs as long as they have spaced sheathing. Some are fastened with galvanized nails and aluminum for extra protection. These shingles are tapered into thickness for more durability.

These are typically installed on roofs with a slope of 4:12 or more. To prevent rotation or cupping, they are applied in a fashion that allows air or ventilation. However, many homeowners should look out for possible fires as the chemicals used for pressure treatment are often made up of combustible materials.


The metal roof is commonly used in commercial buildings that have flatter slopes. They are widely used in pitches that are 3:12 or more. If you use them on flat surfaces, they need to be welded or soldered for durability. The pitched ones are attached to the screws or nails of the same metal for added strength.

The metals that are often used in this kind of roofing project are aluminum, copper, steel coated with tin and lead, and galvanized iron. It’s also possible to use zinc and stainless steel as materials. There are specific installation details that are put in places like batten, standing, and flat-locked seam systems to allow movement. In addition to this, the corrugated metal can also respond to thermal movements on the sheets because of the panel shapes. 

Slate, Cement, and Clay

The clay varieties are available in many patterns, colors, and glazes. Others are manufactured from the same clays, and they are made into bricks. The tiles are fine aggregate and combined with cement. These come in many shapes and colors that many home or commercial owners can choose from.

Shingles or slate tiles are quarried from natural rocks, and they are split into rectangular slabs. The sizes vary from one-quarter inch to half an inch in thickness. The slabs are also available in a variety of textures and colors. They are usually durable, heavy, fireproof, and expensive. 

3. Maintenance

Roofing, Contractors, Church, Builder, Lift, Ladder

Commercial buildings have larger spaces, so the maintenance for them is more demanding. If you are a business owner who wants to keep the gutters cleaned at all times, you may have to spend extra to prevent blockages and debris.

The metal roofing and shingles can start to disintegrate, especially if your area is frequently exposed to harsher weather. It’s important to do regular check-ups and repairs to ensure that everything is in place. 

There’s also the case with residential roofs that usually have lesser footage and are smaller in size. If there are damages, the homeowners can generally see them right away, and each broken shingle can be instantly replaced. Unblocking the gutters is also done when it’s needed.

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