An average person doesn’t always give much thought on roofing unless there is a problem. This is why it’s rare for any non-roofer to know the difference between a residential and commercial roof. Sometimes, the two terms are even used interchangeably since they automatically assume that they are the exact same thing but with different buildings.

Although both roofs share the basic similarity of providing protection for the people and objects in the structure beneath them, significant differences exist as well. Knowing these differences isn’t merely for satisfying curiosity but can also be helpful when the time for installation and maintenance comes.

Differences between Commercial and Residential Roofing - Infographic

Roofing Materials

The first difference between commercial and residential roofing is the choices of material. The roofing materials for both residential and commercial roofs tend to vary in cost, life expectancy, type of roof, weather conditions, and appropriate application for the product.

Commercial and residential roofs have a different roof type, which can affect the number of options they have for materials. Residential roofs have more flexibility when it comes to the variety of colors, materials, and styles due to its sloped design.

Asphalt shingles are popular with residential roofing. However, there are plenty of available options that offer unique aesthetic and functional benefits, including tile and metal.

On the other hand, the materials that commercial uses are much more appropriate for low -slope and flat roofing such as EPDM, TPO, asphalt roll, and thermoplastic membrane.

Roofing Design

One of the first differences that anyone might notice between commercial and residential roofing is the design. It’s easy to determine residential roofs for its steep or pronounced slopes. However, these slopes come in various styles to suit different aesthetics.

Gable and the pyramid-hip roofs are two favorites for residential roofing, but homeowners can have their roofs in any way they want.

Commercial roof designs tend to be entirely flat or would only have a slight slope. This might limit design options for commercial roofs, but the orientation makes perfect sense since it provides easy access for maintenance. It could even be fitted with ventilation pipes, heating, and cooling units, water tanks, and drainage systems.

Since commercial buildings are much larger than a typical residential roof, they also require more maintenance to keep in shape. This is why the standard design of flat roofs also considers other factors, such as the housed equipment on the roof and the needed coverage for a larger area. Drainage systems are also crucial because water accumulation is typical for flat roofs.


Whether residential or commercial, all roofs are primarily designed to cover the top of structures to protect our homes and commercial structures from elements and provide privacy. The roof also helps to stabilize a structure.

In addition to protection, residential roofing also serves the purpose of looking aesthetically pleasing too. Roofing materials that are used for local residences are customizable and appearance that can usually be decorated.

Since roofs affect the appearance of the home exterior significantly, many homeowners give importance to how desirable it look besides its strength and durability. The appearance of your roof doesn’t just help you gain popularity in the neighborhood, but also help increase the value of your home.

Commercial building owners don’t have the same concern. Since commercial roofs are usually above the line of sight, businesses give little to no consideration in regards to decorative colors and patterns. These roofs are designed for function – protecting the building.

While protection against the outside elements is a given for both types of roofs, the material should be able to withstand any destructive elements that come from inside the building. For instance, businesses that handle chemicals need a roof system that can resist these harsh substances. Regular residential shingles don’t have the protection pedigree as afforded by strictly commercial roofing materials.

Needed Expertise for Installation

Most homeowners might assume that the installation process of residential roofs is complicated because of their slopes. However, it’s easier to install residential roofs since the process is usually straightforward. Aside from the chimney, roofers only need to work around a few obstacles when homeowners want to add additional features like solar panels.

In contrast, attaching a commercial roof to a structure requires more intricate and complex considerations. Roofers will need to figure out how to build the roof around the piping, smokestack, and other present structures in the roofing area. It’s also crucial that the integrity of the roof is guaranteed to avoid the possibility of a collapse.

A person who specializes in residential roofing only needs to know how to be flexible with design styles and evaluate the right various roofing styles of a home for each time. Meanwhile, those working on commercial roofs require skills that residential roofers never have to deal with, like smokestacks, airflow systems, and external piping.

Roofing contractors can install both residential and commercial roofing systems since their crew has the skills and experience to meet the demands for both roofing requirements. This is why it’s necessary to find the right roofing company.

Under Construction Roofing understands the need for the best care for your roof and finding trustworthy roofers to do the job. Our team of professionals in Florida aims to provide outstanding craftsmanship while respecting the wishes of our clients and exceed their expectations. Visit our website at to learn more.