Commercial roofing can be seen on any business property, such as shops, restaurants, factories, and warehouses.
These buildings tend to be larger in area than the average residential house, meaning a larger roof is required.
Commercial buildings often need additional accessories attached to their roofs, like large windows, industrial pipes, chimneys or solar panels.
What Are the Differences Between Commercial and Residential Roofing?
In terms of style and function, commercial and residential roofing are very similar. However, the materials used to build them differ significantly. The design of commercial roofs is also different, their slopes are often lower in gradient or entirely flat, unlike the steeper slopes on residential houses.
Residential roofs reach higher points than commercial roofs and the surface usually has nothing attached to it, with the exception of chimneys or more rarely, solar panels.
Commercial roofs often take a matter of months to install because of their sheer size and the layers involved. Commercial roofs are usually thicker, whereas residential homes take only a few days for installation to complete.
Although some repairs on residential houses are major jobs, any repairs on commercial roofs tend to be very large projects. This is predominantly due to the layered nature of commercial roofing. If the building is suffering from water damage, relaying the layers can take weeks.
In factories and warehouses, it’s common to find wires and electrics underneath the roof, which can cause further issues and damage when water is involved.
The predominant difference between commercial and residential roofs are, however, the materials used.
Built-Up Roofing (BUR Membrane)
BUR membrane, also called the ‘tar and gravel’ roof, if the classic material used for commercial roofs. Stereotypically, it is made up from alternating layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics, which reinforces the durability of the material.
On a low-sloping roof, the BUR membrane is an ideal choice. It’s durable and cheap to buy, making it a great material for buildings needing a large surface area of roofing.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
This is a multi-layered material made up of bitumen and different roof fabrics. This material is easy to maintain, strong and ideal if your roof is subject to activity, such as people working or things falling.
These types can come in different metal materials, such as steel (stainless, corrugated, silicon-coated, and stone-coated), zinc, tin, aluminum, metal tile sheets, and more.
Metal roofs are a popular choice because of their durability and fire resistance. These are popular when building factories that use furnaces for production.
Thermoplastic (TPO & PVC) Membrane
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) are resistant to punctures, chemicals, UV rays and bacteria growth. This means they’re unlike to need repairs as often as other roofing materials.
These are excellent roofing choices for any restaurants, shops, or businesses that work with oils.
Thermoset or EPDM Membrane
This material is made from rubber, is easy to install, and is resistant to UV, cold temperatures, and chemicals, even acidic chemicals.
These are flexible, long-lasting, and versatile choices making them easy to maintain and unlikely to need frequent repairs.