What’s the Difference Between Commercial Roof Repair and Residential Roof Repair?

What’s the Difference Between Commercial Roof Repair and Residential Roof Repair?

Believe it or not, there is a pretty big difference between commercial roof repair and residential roof repair. Although it may seem like all roofs are the same, that is far from the truth. One of the most significant differences between the two is that most commercial roofs are much larger than residential roofs.

In addition to the size difference, factors such as the roof’s slope, the type of roof, and whether there are shingles or not come into the picture. If you are wondering which type of contractor is right for your job, it is important to understand what type of roof you have and what repairs need to be taken care of. Hopefully, this article will shed a little light on your situation and you can make an informed decision about who to contact for your needs. 

What is a Commercial Roof?

Commercial is a term that people use when they are referring to business property. Commercial property is for places that conduct business. The building is usually owned by a company and is insured under a commercial policy.

  • Department stores
  • Shopping malls
  • Corporate buildings
  • Warehouses

Places like department stores, corporate buildings, warehouses, shopping malls, and so on are considered commercial buildings because they do business. Depending on the way that the establishment claims its business, multifamily apartment complexes can be considered commercial buildings as well.

In any event, a commercial roof is the roof of a commercial building. As we mentioned above, commercial roofs can be much larger than residential roofs because some of the buildings are designed to accommodate large amounts of people and property.  It is not uncommon for a commercial roof to be at least as big as an entire football field.

Commercial properties can be worth upwards of a hundred million dollars. When working on the roof of a commercial property a roofing contractor has to have enough insurance coverage to satisfy any damages that they could cause in the event of an accident.

What is a Residential Roof?

A residential roof is generally a roof that covers a building that is considered to be a residential structure. The most common type of residential roof is the roof of a hose that is owned by a private party.

Here is where there can be some technicalities that the laws in certain states can be different. If a company owns a bunch of different houses throughout the United States that they use to rent out to people it will depend on the state and the way that the laws work in that area. Although the place is a residence of people, it is also part of a business.

In any event, without getting too far off of the path, a residential roof is usually the roof of a building where people reside.

Although there are several different types of roofs that a residential home can have, the most common is a shingle roof.

Commercial Roof Repair

Obviously, there is going to be a difference between the way that a contractor would repair a commercial roof and the way they would repair a residential roof. One of the most common roof styles for a commercial building is to have a flat roof with a very slight slope, although there are several other types of roofs that can go on to commercial buildings.

  • Commercial flat roof
  • Commercial metal roof
  • Commercial slow slope roofing
  • Commercial Spray polyurethane foam

Yet it is not as common as the other types of roofs contractors will run into commercial roofs that have steep slopes and various types of coverings such as shingles, clay, concrete tiles, and slate.

Buildings that have a membrane that covers their roof where there is built up and modified Bitumen will have an entirely different type of makeup than a metal roof, or a shingle roof.

The way that the roofing contractor will inspect the roof of a building with modified bitumen will be similar to the same way they would inspect a pitched roof, by looking for obvious damage, but just about everything between the two types is different.

Residential VS. Commercial Roofing - Top Hat Home Comfort Services

Residential Roof Repair

Most residential homes have steep slope roof systems. What this means is that the roof peaks at the top and slopes downward leading to a gutter system so that the rain or melted snow simply flows down the roof and away from the building through the gutters.

There are, however, some residential buildings that have flat roofs or metal roofs. In the event that any of these become damaged because of a storm, or whatever other means a roofing contractor will have to take a look at the damage and assess how to proceed with a plan to fix the issue.

Since residential roofs are not as sophisticated and expensive as some commercial roofs are, the roofing contractor won’t need to use an entire crew of people or need to have an overwhelming amount of insurance coverage to do the work. 

Many of the common roofs are made up of plywood, a barrier of roof paper then a layer of shingles that are nailed into the plywood in a way that does not allow for water to seep through and get access to the wood underneath.

Some residential roofs still use tar and gravel for roofing, if the home has less than a desirable amount of slope for shingles many roofers will recommend that the roof be repaired keeping the old-style roof as opposed to converting to shingles.

Commercial vs. Residential Roof Access

Most homes only require a 10-foot ladder in order to get on top of the roof to make repairs or do inspections. However, there are variants for many types of homes and ways to access the roof.

If you live in a high-rise apartment, and the roof is considered a residential roof, the way to access the roof might be from a built-in stairwell that is there exclusively for access to the roof.

Since residential roofs come in all different shapes and sizes there will be differences in the way that a roofer does work on them. However, in most cases, a sturdy ladder is most appropriate.

Commercial buildings, on the other hand, can be a bit more complex than other buildings with stairwells that are inside of the building that provide direct access to the roof.

In either case, a person walking on the roof can cause damage. It is important to get an inspection of the roof by a professional if there has been access to the roof by anybody any other than a person that is qualified to be there.


When it comes to the differences between a commercial building and a residential building most of the laws in the United States are similar, however, each state will have its own way of determining the difference between the two. The most common factor that differentiates the two is that commercial buildings are solely for the purpose of business, and residential are for people to live in.

Although people can do business out of their own homes, it usually is not considered a commercial building when the person calls their business a “home office.” In any event, whether it is a residential roof or a commercial one always be sure to hire a qualified contractor with a license to do the work that needs to be done. 

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