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Parts of a Commercial Roofing System

by | Mar 22, 2023 | Commercial Roofing

A commercial roof consists of numerous components with different purposes. Every layer of material and part of a roofing system is essential to maintaining structural integrity, protecting against damage, and extending the roof’s lifespan. As a commercial property owner, knowing every layer contained in a roofing system and its function helps keep it in good condition and detect potential issues. 

Read on to learn about the differences between residential and commercial roofs and the multiple parts of a roofing system.

Differences Between a Commercial and Residential Roof

Residential and commercial roofs differ in terms of materials, installation, design, and maintenance.


One of the significant distinctions between a commercial and residential roof is the design. Since commercial roofs often have more square footage than residences, they require larger roofs with adequate support to hold the extra weight. Commercial buildings are more likely to have flat roofs.

Typically, residential homes and apartment buildings are smaller, with pitched roofs and higher slopes than commercial buildings.


Installing a roof on a commercial or residential property requires durable materials. The type of material chosen depends on the size of the roof, design, exposure to weather conditions, and other factors. Residential buildings are more likely to use asphalt or slate shingles. Since their roofs are often flat, commercial buildings tend to use different materials. In a built-up roof, for example, roofers use layers of asphalt or bitumen and ply sheets, with a layer of gravel on top.

Roof materials should be durable and last a long time, whether for homes or commercial buildings. Of course, commercial buildings usually require materials covering a larger surface area. 


Maintaining a commercial roof is more challenging than residential roof maintenance. Although the roofs of homes and office buildings contain many of the same parts, the upkeep of a commercial roof requires more time and effort. For example, commercial and residential roofs must both have gutters to direct water away from the structure and prevent leaks. However, inspecting gutters on office buildings for blockages and removing debris is more time-consuming because of the size of the roof.

Commercial building owners should regularly walk around the roof to look for any obvious damage. It’s also more important for commercial owners to have roofers inspect the roof regularly.

Since residential roofs are smaller, maintaining them can be more straightforward. There usually isn’t as much surface area to inspect for damage. However, residential roofs can also vary in their complexity. Additionally, sloped roofs are unsafe to walk on. Professionals can inspect a home’s roof safely.

Installation and Cost

A significant difference between residential and commercial roofs is the installation and cost. Commercial roofing is often pricier due to the size of the roof, amount of materials needed, labor, and equipment. Roofers may need specialized tools to install commercial roofs.


Parts of a Roofing System on a Commercial Property

Commercial buildings include the following types of roofing system components:

  • Deck – A roof deck is necessary on commercial buildings with flat or low-slope roofs. The deck forms a sturdy foundation for the entire system. Typically, wood, concrete, or steel makes up this roofing layer to hold the whole system successfully.
  • Vapor barrier – The vapor barrier goes over the roof deck to prevent moisture and air from flowing through open spaces of the roof. The barrier can lower cooling and heating costs, adequately control interior temperatures, and slow the joists rotting or rusting.
  • Insulation – Insulation is another crucial component of a commercial roofing system. Rigid panels are installed to maintain climate control inside the building and cut energy costs by preventing hot and cold air from escaping.
  • Cover board – A cover board is a thin substrate installed between the roof’s insulation and membrane layers. It offers numerous benefits, including creating a vapor barrier, improving the overall durability of the roofing system, and producing a suitable surface for membrane insulation.
  • Roof adhesive – A roof adhesive connects the insulation to the weatherproof membrane.
  • Weatherproof membrane – The weatherproof membrane is a thin sheet of material on the insulation board. The waterproof material protects the roofing membrane and other system parts from water.
  • Flashing – Flashing is another type of waterproof material that prevents water from penetrating vents, HVAC systems, skylights, and other roofing systems. Since water naturally runs downward, flashing seams must also face downward.
  • Drainage – A network of pipes collects water and transports it away from the building by a drainage system.
  • Covering/coating – Elastomeric, spray foam, and other roof coatings offer additional protection for commercial roofs. The waterproof layer prevents water damage, improves energy efficiency, provides extra durability, and prolongs the roofing system’s life.
  • Solar panels – This energy-efficient system is a valuable investment. It reduces your dependency on the power grid, lowers energy bills, and minimizes your carbon footprint.
  • Gutters – A drainage system includes gutters. They typically go along the edge of a roofing system to collect rainwater and direct it to downspouts.

Get Help with Your Commercial Roofing System

Texas Select Construction can inspect your commercial roof and provide dependable services that meet your needs. You can count on us to install, repair, and maintain your commercial roofing system.

Call us today at (817) 770-0744 for a free inspection of your commercial roof in Fort Worth.

last Updated: 08-30-2023

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