Commercial Vs. Industrial Roofing: What’s The Difference?


The terms commercial and industrial are often used interchangeably. But while most industrial activities are commercial in nature, there are plenty of examples of commerce that do not qualify as industry.

When it comes to roofing, however, commercial and industrial mean almost the same thing. But there are a few key differences.

Commercial Roofing Vs. Industrial Roofing

As the name suggests, commercial roofing is roofing for commercial properties whereas industrial roofing is for industrial properties. Think warehouses, factories, power plants, shipping centers, etc.

Technically, these are also commercial properties. But the term commercial roofing tends to apply to things such as strip malls, stores, gyms, restaurants, etc.

Beyond this difference, there are a few other components of industrial and commercial roofing that keep them separate.

Size Of Roof

Probably the biggest difference between commercial and industrial roofing is the size of the roof.

In general, industrial roofs tend to be quite a bit larger than regular commercial roofs. Think of an Amazon warehouse, for example. Or a factory. These buildings often cover areas that are the equivalent of multiple football fields.

When it comes to installation, the biggest difference is that industrial roofs must be installed in pieces. Being so large, you could never cover the whole property in enough time without risking excessive exposure.


Another thing that is different between industrial and commercial roofing are the materials used. When it comes to commercial properties, really any of the standard roofing materials will work.

At the most basic level is modified bitumen, which is basically a mixture of tar and gravel. There are also other more protective roofing materials such as EPDM and TPO. But commercial properties can also be outfitted with regular shingles, metal, slate, etc., the same materials you might find in residential properties.

It’s unlikely, however, that you would find these types of materials on industrial properties. Since they tend to be larger, installing shingles would take too long and metal would be far too expensive.

For this reason, and also because they are more protective against corrosion and other damages that can come about in industrial environments, you’re much more likely to see membrane materials such as EPDM and PVC in industrial roofing.

Installation Time

Ac unit on commercial roof

Since industrial roofs are usually larger and need to be installed in pieces, installation times are usually much longer. Another thing that can prolong this process is if multiple layers are needed.

Depending on the specific nature of the work being done at the industrial facility, you may need to apply multiple roofs to ensure proper protection. If this is the case, the installation process may take even longer as you will need to wait for each layer to set and cure before you can begin with the next.

It ultimately depends on the size and shape of your industrial property’s roof, but it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or perhaps even more than a month to fully complete your new industrial roof.


Because of the size and also the more complex installation process involved in industrial roofing, repairs are also more difficult. This makes them more expensive.

Also, if you’re dealing with sensitive chemicals at your industrial property, a damaged roof could be worsening your environmental impact, which means you need to act fast. Fortunately, repairs can usually be addressed locally, meaning you don’t need to repair or replace your entire roof, saving you money and helping you stay operational for as much time as you need.

Whether you’re putting on a new roof or are considering repairing or replacing your existing one, on a commercial or an industrial property, let Premier Group handle the job. Give us a call today for a free quote.

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