It Pays to Know the Difference Between Commercial and Residential Roofing Requirements

egardless of the kinds of buildings that they grace, roofs all have important jobs to do. They must provide shelter and comfort for building occupants, whether they be employees or residents. They must also stand tall against the ravages of weather and circumstance, while simultaneously providing visually-pleasing fronts. Plus, modern times have brought environmental issues into the spotlight, and today’s roofing materials must fit into modern energy efficiency and renewability requirements .

That said, roofs that are destined for residential uses have some important differences when compared to commercially designed roofs. Individuals who understand the differences between the two will be better prepared to get the most out of their next residential roofing projects.

Types of Commercial Roof Coverings

While many businesses are located in residential neighborhoods and buildings, many people reside in commercial-style structures. The roofs of these hybrid buildings must nevertheless generally adhere to strict sets of building regulations. Other than locally imposed zoning and building codes, many commercial buildings must live up to the International Code Council (ICC) building standards. The ICC puts out the International Building Codes (IBC) that cover topics like roof construction and materials.

Commericial roofing materials and their underlying structures must comply with modern safety standards. Wind resistance is an example of such a standard and covers the kinds of fastenings and roofing materials that should be used under various weather conditions. Another example is impact resistance standards. These dictate how much impact-pressure various roofing materials must be able to withstand. While important for commercial property developers to know, residential developers will need detailed knowledge about residential roofing requirements.

Types of Residential Roof Coverings

Residential quarters are found in buildings of all kinds, running a gamut from smaller single family homes to large multi-apartment building complexes.

The larger residential roofing complexes that are located in industrial-type buildings usually make use of roofing materials found on commercial properties. These roofs have less tilt than smaller buildings, and thus often use flat-roof coverings that include membranes and liquid-applied sealants.

Smaller residential buildings like ranch, cape, and colonial style homes may use one of a number of coverings. These include metal shingles, asphalt shingles, clay shingles, and wood shingles.

  • Metal Shingles come in several main varieties, including standing seam, agricultural, and coated-steel. Coated shingles are made to closely resemble many mainstream shingle styles, including asphalt and wood-shakes designs.
  • Asphalt shingles continued to enjoy widespread popularity. Three-tab and architectural designs form the bulk of asphalt offerings, and they can be quite durable if properly maintained.
  • Clay shingles are popular in warm and dry climates. They are often more expensive than other shingle varieties, but their benefits usually more than adequately compensate for their extra cost.
  • Wood shingles and shakes bring a natural feel to roofs. Although not necessarily as tough as metal or stone shingles, they can endure for many years if properly pre-treated, installed, and maintained.

Things to be Aware of When Designing Residential Roof Projects

Other than basic materials commonly used in residential roof construction, it is important for prospective residential builders to understand their local and state building regulations and codes. While many jurisdictions allow modifications to homes owned and inhabited by the builders, these plans may need official review if other people will be occupying these structures.

To ensure compliance, prospective residential roofers should ensure that the materials and methods that they use result in waterproof structures. In addition, the materials should adhere to the applicable fire-resistance codes. In this area, metal and stone roofing materials usually carry the highest fire-resistance ratings.

Roofing materials for residential structures should also be reasonably durable and should be used in their intended operating climates. Finally, modern roofing materials should be sourced from renewable sources, should be recyclable or biodegradable, and should be visually-pleasing.

At first glance, it may seem that there is much for future residential roofers to consider. That said, those who take the requisite time to become familiar with relevant building codes stand good chances of finding success in their endeavors.