Looking to install a new roof on your commercial space? Before you start putting together your budget for this, you need to understand the difference between residential and commercial roofing. Commercial roofs are far more complex and therefore, need specialized labour and a bigger budget. Learn more about each type of roofing and the main differences between the two.
Residential roofing usually only serves one purpose, to protect the home from the elements and drain water and snow out towards the gutters and away from the home. Commercial roofing, however, is built according to the needs of the building. These are usually flat in design so they can store HVAC equipment, gardens or solar panels on top. Special built-in drainage features are also commonly included with a commercial roof.
Roof Types and Materials
The most common type of residential roofing in Canada is asphalt shingles. However, there are various material types to choose from including shake, wood, and metal. These are usually designed to have mid to high pitches, with a flat roof being less common. On the other hand, commercial roofs are typically flat or have a low slope. They come in a variety of options depending on the purpose and budget of the building, with the most common being built-up roofing membrane or “BUR”. This tar-and-gravel roof is built with multiple layers on a very low slope for maximum stability and protection. Other common types of commercial roofing you will see in Ontario is modified bitumen, metal EPDM roofing, TPO and PVC, as well as green roofing.
Commercial roofing is often more expensive than residential roofing to install and not just because of size. Depending on the type of roof, commercial projects often require more expensive materials, specialized equipment and tools, and highly skilled labour. Commercial roofs can also require smokestacks, external piping and airflow systems. All of these factors combined can equate to higher costs over the lifetime of the roof.
A residential roof can be fully replaced in a matter of days, whereas a commercial roof can take weeks. Roofing contractors will also take more care when installing a commercial roof because any flaws in the installation process can shorten its lifespan significantly.
Both residential and commercial roofs require maintenance, but a commercial roof will need far more care over its lifespan. Flat roofs also require more maintenance and repairs, especially if water starts to pool on its surface. If proper drainage is not installed or maintained, a commercial roof will start to leak. Routine inspections and maintenance are necessary to ensure that any small issues with the drainage systems, ventilation or membrane are quickly fixed. HVAC systems are also highly complex. Only a professional who knows what they are doing should be taking care of the HVAC on the roof. Neglecting a commercial roof can result in major issues down the road. Even something as simple as a small leak could end up costing thousands in repair if left unattended, so always consult with a professional and have a routine maintenance plan in place.
Both residential and commercial roofing will require a highly-skilled, licensed professional to install and maintain it. If you need an experienced team to install, repair or care for your roof, contact us at Top Hat Home Comfort.