What is the difference between residential and commercial roofing?

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between residential and commercial roofing, you’re not alone. It’s one of the questions we at Advocate Construction, your trusted commercial roofing contractor in Littleton, CO, get asked frequently. So, we’ve decided to break it down for you in this handy guide.

But what makes commercial and residential roofing systems distinct? Diving in, here are some key points of difference.

  • Design and Installation
  • Materials Used
  • Maintenance and Repair

Stay with us as we explore each of these aspects in depth, providing you with a clear understanding of the unique facets of both commercial and residential roofing systems.

Design and Installation

We’ll start with one of the most evident contrasts between residential and commercial roofing: design and installation. For starters, residential roofs, typically found on homes, are often simple. They come in common styles like gable or hipped, and their installation is relatively straightforward, sometimes finished in a day or two.

Now, let’s talk about commercial roofing. These systems, designed for businesses and industrial buildings, are usually flat or slightly slanted. The installation process is more complex due to factors such as the roof’s size, the necessity for additional structural elements to support weight, and the placement of commercial equipment. Consequently, the installation and even the design phase for commercial roofs often take much longer.

Materials Used

Moving on, let’s consider the materials used in residential and commercial roofs. In many residential roofing projects, materials like asphalt shingles, metal roofing, or tiles are commonly used due to their aesthetic appeal and durability. They cater to a wide variety of design preferences, ensuring a perfect match for every home style.

In contrast, commercial roofing often utilizes materials like modified bitumen, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), TPO (thermoplastic olefin), metal, and even eco-friendly green roofing systems. While these might lack in aesthetic versatility, they excel in durability, energy efficiency, and life span – crucial factors for any commercial building owner.

Maintenance and Repair

Last, but certainly not least, is maintenance and repair. On residential roofs, repairs are generally simple and often revolve around common issues like replacing broken or missing shingles, fixing small leaks, or cleaning gutters. Residential roofs also require less frequent, but regular maintenance to ensure their longevity.

On the flip side, commercial roofs, due to their size and design complexity, require more intensive maintenance. They often encounter unique issues that demand specialized repair strategies. For example, pooling water is a frequent concern due to flat design, necessitating regular inspection and maintenance. Therefore, attention to detail in maintaining a commercial roof can stave off more significant issues down the line.


In conclusion, residential and commercial roofing are two vastly different specialties, each with its own set of challenges and requirements. As a homeowner or a business owner, understanding the nuances of your roofing system is vital for its longevity and performance. Whether it’s a residential house characterized by sloped roofs and common materials such as asphalt shingles, or a more complex, flat commercial building typically covered with materials like modified bitumen or TPO, the appropriate attention and maintenance are key.

All roofs, no matter their type, need regular maintenance and timely repairs. However, commercial roofs demand a more intensive approach due to their unique design challenges. Staying on top of these needs not only safeguards your investment but also ensures the safety and comfort of those who dwell beneath the roof.

At Advocate Construction, we’re well equipped to handle both residential and commercial roofing projects. We’re committed to delivering top-quality roofing solutions tailored to your needs. Our professional and experienced team is just a call away to answer your roofing inquiries and offer reliable advice.