Commercial and residential roofing perform the same function – protecting their respective interior spaces from the elements – but they have enough key differences that they’re not exactly interchangeable. Your local expert roofing contractor, Timberline Roofing, and Contracting discuss what those differences are:
Generally, commercial roofs have flat roofs, while residential roofs have steep slopes. This is because floor area and building height are factors that affect the appropriate roofing types for each building. A typical residential construction requires a roof that can quickly shed snow and rainwater, which makes steep-sloped roofs the ideal shape. Given that most homes are one or two stories high, they are not as vulnerable to high winds. Steep-sloped roofs are also visible from the curb, so they also contribute to a home’s overall appeal.
Commercial buildings tend to be several times taller and wider than the average home so proportionally steep roofs would be ridiculously tall and impractical to build, not to mention commercial roofing repair and maintenance would be extremely difficult. That’s why roofs with a gentle, almost observable slope are ideal. Flat roofs actually have a gentle slope to prevent pooling water. Such slopes are less vulnerable to high winds, and since it’s not visible from the curb, aesthetics are less of a concern.
The roof slope decides the appropriate roofing material. For contemporary commercial roofing, the material of choice is single-ply roofing, such as TPO or EPDM. For roofs with moderate foot traffic, modified bitumen or traditional asphalt-and-gravel (BUR or built-up roofing) is ideal, thanks to their resistance against wind and heavy impact. Residential roofs, on the other hand, require visually pleasing materials such as asphalt shingles, metal, tile, shakes or slate. These materials are time-tested for their efficiency in shedding rainwater.
Each kind of material has its own prescribed installation method. Generally, residential roofing features a wooden skeleton known as trusses to support a roof deck covered by a waterproofing material known as underlay, onto which the outer material (shingles, etc.) is installed. Commercial roofing is built with layers of insulation and substrate, then the roofing material itself is installed. Single-ply roofing is installed using a combination of heat welding, adhesives, and chemicals, while modified bitumen and BUR roofs are built using several layers of material, such as reinforcing fabrics, asphalt, and gravel.
Timberline Roofing and Contracting is your one-stop-shop for commercial and residential roof installation. To learn more about our roofing services, call us today at (612) 263-9700 or (507) 200-8880. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a free assessment. We serve many areas in and near Minneapolis, MN.