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5 Differences Between Commercial Roofing And Residential Roofing

5 Differences Between Commercial Roofing And Residential Roofing

Everyone needs a roof over their heads. But though lots of homeowners know plenty about residential roofing, and which materials to use as well as how best to maintain their roofs, less is widely known about commercial roofing. Obviously, the two of them serve completely different needs. Commercial building roofing contractors will tell you that there is a certain degree of responsibility that comes with any type of roof, but commercial roofs tend to follow different guidelines. This, of course, is because cities often require different things of commercial roofing versus residential roofing. Residential roofing tends to require a greater emphasis on the aesthetic, as homes need to look a certain way and in many neighborhoods comply with a certain aesthetic code. Appearance matters with regards to commercial roofs as well, but to a certain degree less with some, especially warehouses and generic office buildings. Yet these are just two of the skin-deep issues to consider. The differences between commercial and residential roofs go quite a bit further. With that being said, let’s look into the differences between commercial and residential roofs, and why the tasks handled by commercial building roofing contractors and residential roofing contractors are so different.

1. Materials Used

One of the main differences between residential roofs and the roofs installed by commercial building roofing contractors is the materials used for the different jobs. Depending on the type of building being worked on in either situation, the materials and styles involved will vary, as will their life expectancies, and the manners in which these materials should be applied. Usually, you will end up working with a steeping project when dealing with residential roofing, and there will be more options available than there would be with commercial roofs. Metal roofing can be used for both commercial roofs and residential roofs, as can single-ply membrane and asphalt shingles. Keep in mind that with both of these, there will be a different longevity expected of different types of materials. However, there are repair options available for different types of roofing materials. Asphalt maintenance is an option to consider when asphalt shingles are damaged, as are general asphalt repairs if necessary. Ideally, however, you’ll work with a roofing company that can help you ensure that the material you choose will adhere to your building properly, and will suit the environment in which you’re working. You may prefer a metal roof, for example, in a hotter and sunnier area, due to a metal roof’s ability to deflect heat. Tile and ceramic shingles may also work for both commercial roofs and residential roofs, as will wood shakes. The bottom line is that residential roofs are definitely meant to withstand the elements, but they’re also always meant to serve an aesthetic purpose. You can see a clear difference between a house and a commercial building in terms of construction. Commercial buildings are more utilitarian, and though they do serve specific purposes, those purposes have less to do with appearance than they have to do with lasting for the long term. No matter what kind of roof you’re dealing with, it should be inspected every four to five years to ensure that it hasn’t been permanently or otherwise seriously damaged. But a commercial roof seriously needs to last for the long haul, as a repair or replacement also may potentially mean an interruption in work for employees.

2. Design Differences

There are a lot of differences between the design of a commercial roof and a residential roof, as discussed above. Commercial building roofing contractors can attest to the reasons why commercial buildings have the roofs that they have compared to residential roofs. As previously mentioned, residential roofs tend to be steeper and more sloped, while commercial roofs have flat tops and are, in a sense, blockier. If it does have a slope, it will be a low slope, that is much less immediately noticeable. Commercial roofs are also, quite often, much larger than residential roofs. This is another reason why the materials matter, as we discussed earlier. The larger the roof is, the more potential it has to be damaged in one way or another. Now, though a flat roof may be a better option for the structural design and integrity of a boxier building, like an office building or a commercial warehouse, there are some catches to this design. A flat roof tends to be more maintenance-heavy than a steep or sloped residential roof. Flat roofs are also often installed in sections by commercial building roofing contractors. In some ways, this can make repairs and replacements more feasible, as they tend to be repaired or replaced in those sections rather than all at once. Another major reason why these roofs often tend to be flat is that they quite frequently house additional materials. Commercial metal buildings not only need to bear the weight of equipment as they’re being worked upon by contractors; they also need to bear the weight of equipment that is being stored on the roof. This is something that you just don’t need to worry about with regards to residential roofs, and you need to consider this when making a final decision regarding the materials used to build the roof, as well as the commercial building roofing contractors you’re considering. A commercial building’s roofing design may need to bear a good deal of pressure.

3. Installation Process

Just as they’re often easier to repair, it’s also often easier to install residential roofs than commercial roofs. Residential roofs have more of an opportunity for a variation in design, which allows contractors to be more creative and less rigid. They’re able to think outside the box a bit with residential roofing, in a way that they really aren’t with commercial roofing. Keep in mind, too, that residential roofs are smaller. This cuts down the amount of time that you may be working on your roof, which of course is important to residential home builders who are making houses for people that want to move in as quickly as possible. A commercial roof, again, is often made up of multiple different pieces. This means that the roof will take longer to install, and require a more serious and involved process. A commercial construction company needs to think about working around different things when installing a commercial roof as well. The main obstacle for a residential roof may be the weather impeding the construction process, or an ill-placed chimney during a roof replacement. Commercial building roofing contractors need to consider smoke stacks, external piping, and air flow systems, assuming they’re replacing a roof versus working from the ground up on a commercial building. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges when constructing a residential roof. But what you need to worry about with that type of project is often quite different from what you need to worry about with regards to a residential roofing project. One thing that you need to consider, too, is the cost involved with either project. Both projects will be somewhat expensive, and a residential roof becomes even more expensive if you’re going to choose a more complex design. However, a commercial roof is always going to take longer to install or replace, and will always require a more involved process. This means that a commercial roof quite often costs more than a residential roof. But then, different materials can also the amount that you end up investing in the roof that you’re considering. Keep that in mind as you move forward with the roofing project you’re considering.

4. The Companies You Work With

This may seem obvious, but it isn’t obvious to everyone considering a commercial roofing project. While it’s true that some companies offer both residential and commercial building roofing contractors, you need to be careful when making a decision about who you work with. Don’t choose someone you know who specializes in residential roofing contracting jobs because they’re a friend of yours. There is a very different skill set required of residential roofers compared to commercial roofers; and those some do possess both skills, you want someone who has experience in commercial roofing, whether or not they have residential roofing experience as well. There are a lot of issues to consider when you’re choosing a roofing contractor. You do need to think about price, and you do need to think about availability. But the fact is that none of that will matter if you don’t work with a contractor that is qualified and experienced. Hear different bids for the project if you want; there is nothing wrong with having different contractors offer their estimates for your project. This is also a good time to discuss the unique details of your roof with the contractors you’re interviewing. If you’d like to consider commercial solar installation, you should make sure that your contractor is comfortable with taking that on. But more than anything, you need to walk through the process with your contractor and make sure that you’re not talking to someone who is taking on the first commercial roofing project they’ve ever considered. A residential roofing installation is, as we’ve discussed above, very different from a commercial roofing installation.

5. The Risk Involved

We already warned you that commercial roofs tend to be more expensive than residential roofs. But you may be surprised when commercial building roofing contractors actually provide you with quotes that are far above what you paid for a residential roofing replacement. Again, you can make the price somewhat lower by choosing more affordable roofing materials, though, if you choose the wrong materials, you may very well end up paying for more repairs later on down the line. Keep that in mind with any roofing project. The more you pay for high quality materials upfront, the less likely you will be to pay for repairs down the road. But ultimately, you will almost always pay more for a commercial roofing project than you will for a residential roofing project, unless the residential roof is particularly massive or complex. But there is a much greater great for personal injuries when commercial roofs are being constructed compared to residential roofs. As we previously discussed, residential roofs tend to be simpler to build, and therefore they’re also safer to build. When you consider the fact that commercial roofs are larger, and often made of many separate pieces, it’s no wonder that they’re also quite often more dangerous to construct. This is why those prices tend to be driven higher; the risk to laborers. When these roofs are being constructed, you need to consider your insurance options and furthermore have the project surveyed and checked up on, perhaps by a third party. This will ensure that there is less risk of an individual being hurt and furthermore makes it less likely that you will be held liable for any injury that does occur. An injury occurring during a project you commissioned isn’t inherently your fault if you’re the building owner. But you do need to make sure that you are even more covered for a commercial roofing project than you would be for a residential roofing project.

If you’ve never commissioned a commercial roof replacement or installation before, it’s understandable if you’re intimidated. It’s not like having a patio installed in your backyard. There is a lot of time, money, and effort that goes into installing a commercial roof, even more so than what goes into a residential roof. The last thing you want, too, is to have a bad roof installed by someone who isn’t qualified, only for you to get in touch with commercial building roofing contractors for a roof remodeling project down the road.

Don’t skimp on the investment that goes into a commercial roof, and take the project seriously. Get it right the first time by hiring qualified commercial roofers, and you’ll be much happier with the job and furthermore, much happier with your overall building.

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