First, the structural needs of a commercial roof are different than a residential roof. Obviously, commercial roofs may be considerably larger – imagine the size of a roof on a shopping mall compared to the size of the roof on your house and you’ll get the picture. In addition, the load requirements, fixtures, and even materials will vary significantly between commercial and residential roofs. For example, commercial roofs must have a larger load-bearing capacity than residential roofs often just because of the materials involved in their construction. Similarly, installation of a commercial roof requires a much larger crew than residential roofs simply because it’s a bigger job.
With respect to the function of the roof, commercial roofs tend to have more protrusions than residential roofs. While a residential roof may need to accommodate chimneys, skylights, and a few other protrusions, commercial projects must also consider ventilation systems, smoke stacks, pipes, roof entrances, and mechanical needs. Likewise, there are specialized construction specifications for commercial and residential roofs. For example, commercial roofing materials are often chosen based on the function of the commercial building; if the commercial building features heavy machinery, the roofing material must be able to withstand heat discharge. On the other hand, residential roofs are generally constructed with respect to the homeowner’s personal preferences regarding appearance, durability, and maintenance.
The scope of commercial roofing projects requires specialized knowledge and skills from potential roofers, but residential roofers have important skills as well. Whereas commercial roofers must consider the function of the commercial building and the unique specifications that affect the roof’s construction, residential professionals must be informed about the particular needs of their clients. Obviously, both types of roofs must be constructed to withstand the climate of the region, but residential types tend to be constructed with an eye for aesthetic and commercial roofs with a mind on functionality.
Most importantly, because of the differences between the 2 types, you will find contractors have different needs as well. Commercial roofing is generally considered a much more involved if not difficult job, and finding skilled laborers for the work may contribute to the cost of projects. The fact that these projects tend to be considerably larger than residential projects also means that commercial crews are larger, and many residential contractors cannot accommodate the manpower needed to complete a commercial job.
So, as you can see, there are many differences between commercial and residential roofs that not only impact the way the roof is constructed and the costs associated, but also the design, materials, and skilled labour to manage the project.