Difference Between Commercial Roofing vs Residential Roofing

The roof is one of the most critical components when protecting a building. However, there are significant differences between commercial and residential roofing that property owners need to understand. This blog entry will explore the essential distinctions between these two types of roofing, covering everything from the materials used to the installation and repair processes.

What is the Difference Between Roofing and Roofing?

Before discussing commercial and residential roofing, it’s essential to clarify the terms “roof” and “roofing.” The roof refers to the uppermost part of a building, designed to protect the interior from weather elements. Roofing, conversely, encompasses the materials and processes used to construct or repair a roof. Essentially, the roof is the structure, while roofing is the system and method applied to build or maintain that structure.

Wondering which option is right for you? Let our Wayne Roofing Company Experts guide you. If your roof is old and in disrepair, it might be time to consider a replacement. However, if you have minor storm damage, a repair could be sufficient. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our roofing experts!

What is the Most Common Commercial Roofing Material?

The most common commercial roofing material is a single-ply roofing membrane. These membranes, such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), TPO (thermoplastic olefin), and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), are preferred because of their robustness, energy efficiency, and ease of installation on flat or low-slope roofs typical in commercial buildings.

Commercial vs Residential Roofing Materials

Commercial and residential roofing systems differ significantly due to their distinct structural requirements and aesthetic considerations. Low-slope or flat roofs are common on commercial structures, requiring materials and techniques different from pitched roofs commonly found in residential settings.

Types of Roofing Materials for Commercial Roofing

1. Single-Ply Membranes: As mentioned, TPO, PVC, and EPDM are famous for their resilience and energy-saving properties.

2. Built-up roofing (BUR): This type of roofing consists of many layers of reinforcing textiles and bitumen. It is strong and offers superior defense against leaks.

3. Modified Bitumen: This material combines the durability of BUR with the ease of single-ply systems, making it a versatile choice for commercial roofs.

4. Metal Roofing: Known for its longevity and durability, metal roofing is ideal for commercial buildings exposed to harsh weather conditions.

Types of Roofing Materials for Residential Roofing

1. Asphalt Shingles: Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of residential roofing material. They are reasonably priced, easy to install, and offered in a range of hues and designs.

2. Metal Roofing: While more expensive, metal roofing is becoming popular in residential settings because of its durability and modern look.

3. Wood Shingles and Shakes: These offer a natural and rustic appearance but require more maintenance and are less fire-resistant.

4. Tile Roofing: Made from clay or concrete, tile roofing is highly durable and ideal for areas with hot climates or a Spanish architectural style.

5. Slate: Known for its beauty and longevity, Slate is a high-quality, long-lasting roofing material. With proper care, it can last a century or more.

Differences in Roof Installation and Repair


Commercial Roofing: Due to commercial buildings’ size and structural intricacies, installation is often more complex and time-consuming. It requires certain knowledge and tools to manage large, flat surfaces and multiple layers of materials.

Residential Roofing: Typically faster and less complicated, residential roof installation can often be completed within a few days. Homes’ pitched roofs make it easier to apply shingles or tiles.


Commercial Roofing: Repairs can be more challenging and costly due to the larger surface area and the need for specialized materials. Frequent maintenance is essential to keep little problems from getting worse.

Residential Roofing: Repairs are generally more straightforward and less expensive. Homeowners can often address minor issues like shingle replacement without professional help, though a professional should always handle significant damage.


Property owners must understand the distinctions between residential and commercial roofing to make knowledgeable judgments about their roofing needs. At the same time, commercial roofs prioritize durability and energy efficiency to protect more extensive, flatter structures. In contrast, residential roofs focus on aesthetic appeal and ease of maintenance for pitched designs. Whether you’re dealing with a commercial building or a home, selecting suitable roofing materials and professionals for installation and repairs ensures the longevity and safety of your property.

By recognizing these differences, property owners can ensure they choose the appropriate roofing solutions to meet their specific needs, protecting their investments and enhancing the overall value of their buildings.