The roofing industry is fairly straightforward, which is often confusing and is the differences between residential and commercial roofs. Most people assume that roofs are similar, but a roofing contractor knows that there are very unique challenges between a residential and a commercial roof. Not only are the roofs themselves different in terms of size and shape, but the materials used are quite different as well.
Commercial Roof Challenges
The biggest challenges posed by a commercial roof is its slope, or lack thereof. Many commercial buildings have flat roofs, which is a major concern for water drainage. If the water is not drained properly it can accumulate and cause significant water damage and problems with mold. Commercial buildings also have a larger surface area than the average home, making it more difficult to maintain over time.
Commercial materials are quite unique and not much has changed over the years in terms of procedure, but the composition of materials has evolved. In the past, commercial roofs tend to be covered with a hot tar substance that essentially adheres layers of fabric by melting it with a hot tar. These materials were generally water proof and moderately durable. However, over time this procedure has evolved to include the use of a more flexible rubber like material applied in layers. Some of the newer techniques may even apply a layer of gravel over the top to better protect the roof. The largest advancement in commercial materials is a type of roof coating that is used to increase insulation and energy efficiency. Typically applied to the top of an existing structure using layering or even spray foam, many of these coatings can save old materials and eliminate the need for complete roof replacement.
Residential Roof Challenges
The average homeowner knows very little about their roof. Mostly left up to the professionals, the challenges associated with maintaining a residential structure properly can be quite complex. Homeowners rarely inspect their roof or even look for signs of damage until a problem becomes easily visible. One of the main challenges in maintaining a residence is the shape of the roof. Many homes carry unique lines and shapes that make it difficult for the materials to stay in place or perform properly. Homes can carry steep slopes, sharp peaks and deep valleys. Valleys are problematic for collecting debris or pooling water, which can quickly create further damage to the underlying materials. The steep slopes often bring problems with ice or snow buildup slipping to the ground and make it more difficult to adequately secure the flashing around inlaid objects.
Residential challenges influence the type of materials used for homes compared to that used in commercial buildings. Asphalt shinglees are popular because they are flexible, affordable and moderately durable. The majority of homes in America carry asphalt shingles due to their versatility in use. However, there are other materials that many homeowners prefer that could offer better protection against some of the more specific roof challenges. Clay or slate tile roofs are generally used for their long lasting durability and aesthetic appeal. They are great insulators in both hot or cold weather, making them idea for a wide range of climates. Metal roofs are becoming more popular among residential homes for their ability to deflect the sun's rays, withstand high winds or even snow accumulation.