Difference Between Commercial and Residential Roofing in Florida

There are 7,552 roofing businesses in the State of Florida, employing over 31,000 individuals. That means that anyone who’s in the market for a new roof, or even for roof repairs, has a lot of choices. But that doesn’t mean that just any roofer will do.

There are big differences between commercial and residential roofing in Florida. If we own a business or are responsible for arranging roof repairs, we need to find a contractor with the expertise to tackle a commercial roof.

Let’s dig into the key differences between commercial and residential roofing so that we can make the right choice.

Commercial and Residential Roofing in Florida: Design Differences

A quick glance at commercial and residential roofing in Florida reveals that the main difference is the pitch of the roof. Residential roofing tends to feature a pitched roof. Hip and gable roofs are common and allow rainwater to run off easily. 

Commercial roofing typically covers a much larger area. That’s why flat or low-pitched roofs are more popular. According to the Florida Building Code, roofs cannot be completely flat and must have a minimum pitch. 

Flat roofs are more prone to developing leaks. It’s easier for water to pool after heavy rain. Because the pitch is low or non-existent on some older roofs, the water can remain in contact with the roofing material for a long time. 

Over time, this can cause the roofing material to deteriorate, leading to leaks. To mitigate this risk, commercial roofing needs to be regularly inspected, usually at least twice a year. Spring and fall are best.

Naples, FL, and the surrounding area are at a high risk of hurricane damage. Regular inspections ensure the roof is prepared for hurricane season. They’re essential immediately after severe weather events.

Differences in Materials

There is some overlap in residential and commercial roofing materials. But for low-slope commercial roofs, the materials are completely different.

Residential Roofing Materials

The most common are asphalt shingles. They’re cost-effective, easy for roofers to work with, and quick to install. They’re hard-wearing, with an expected lifespan of over 25 years with regular maintenance.

In a hurricane, a metal roof is considered the safest choice. Metal roofs are available in Five V Crimp and Standing Seam panels, which both create a striking appearance. 

Both asphalt shingles and standing seam metal roofs are also used on pitched commercial roofing systems.

Tile roofing is an excellent choice for residential roofs in Florida. They come in a beautiful array of colors and are popular with home buyers. Many people also appreciate the fact that they’re a sustainable choice and are extremely heat resistant.

Commercial Roofing Materials

Low slope commercial roofing uses a completely different set of materials. 

TPO is the most common type used in Florida. It’s a type of single-ply roofing membrane. It is manufactured in large sheets which are supplied in rolls and then cut to measure on-site.

TPO can provide excellent fire protection. Some systems have a Class A fire resistance listing. 

Most TPO roofs are white, which is highly reflective. This helps to reduce energy use for businesses. It makes the interior of the building cooler during Florida’s long, hot summers.

Sections are heat-sealed. This forms a strong bond and means that effectively the whole roof is covered with a single membrane. This provides excellent protection against the weather.

With good care, TPO roofing can last up to 20 years.

There are other commercial roofing materials used in Florida that work on a similar basis. There are also 2-ply and 3-ply roofing systems for additional insulation and water protection.

Consult with local commercial roofing contractors before deciding on the final roofing material. They will be able to make a recommendation based on the local climate, helping businesses to choose a truly long-term solution.

Installation and Repair Differences

Installing and repairing commercial and residential roofing requires different sets of skills. 

Residential roofing is usually more straightforward. General contractors can make some roofing repairs. The most complicated sections may be around chimneys and roof lights. 

The materials are also easier to work with and don’t require as much training. 

On the other hand, commercial roofing installation is much more complicated. There are all kinds of things sticking out of commercial roofs, from smokestacks to piping and air vents. 

Installing TPO roofing, for example, is a multistep process. First, an adhesive needs to be spread over the roof. Next, it requires waterproofing, either a membrane or a sheet that sits on top of the adhesive.

Only then can they install the TPO layer. This then needs to be heat sealed along the seams.

Other types of commercial roofing are more complicated than this. They have to be built up with several layers, providing insulation and waterproofing, before the final layer is installed.

Repairing commercial roofs involves an in-depth knowledge of a wide range of roof types. TPO roofs can be patched because they are heat weldable. 

Only ever use commercial roofing contractors for repairs to the roof of business premises. They’re familiar with the Florida Building Code and know how to repair your roof in a way that will prolong its working life. They’ll also use high-quality materials that will stand the test of time.

Finding the Right Commercial Roofing Contractors

Most of the time, commercial and residential roofing in Florida have very little in common. They’re completely different in size, design, construction methods, and materials. Savvy business owners will only entrust experienced commercial roofing contractors with their projects.

At Massey Construction Group, we understand commercial roofing. Whether a roof needs repairs, roof insulation, or a whole new roof, we’re ready to take on the project.

If you’d like to learn more about commercial roofing services, call us at 844.784.7663. Alternatively, fill out our online form and we’ll get back to you soon.

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