Understanding California Commercial Roofing Codes


Any reputable commercial roofing company worth its salt will have a solid understanding of roofing codes in its state and will advise its clients and prospects accordingly.

This is no different for Californian roofing companies, and here we outline some of the things you should consider before appointing a business to carry out work on the roof of your business. 

It may seem pretty straightforward. Your business premises needs work done to its roof. So, just call a contractor.

Well, there’s a little more to it than that.

Whether you’re looking at re-roofing, having roof repairs done, or commissioning a roof coating, it’s important to understand California’s roofing codes. Roofing codes are legal requirements that ensure your roof is fit for purpose and safe. 

So without further ado, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of this article!


Types of Commercial Roofing Code

California laws cover a wide range of topics that all businesses and homeowners should look at before appointing a reputable contractor:

Roofer License

Check with any potential roofer that they have the correct license. Go as far as to ask to see the roofer’s license and ask for their license number.

California state requires that any contractor working on a roofing project costing more than $500 needs to have a license with the California Contractors State Licence Board.

Any reputable roofer should always have their license number on things like their website, social media pages, business cards, and letterheads. 

Roofing Permit

A contractor also needs to have a permit before any work is carried out. In California, work on a commercial property must be covered by the California Building Code for nonresidential properties.

This covers topics such as materials used, how they’re installed, moisture content of fire retardant treated materials, roof framing and impact resistance, seismic anchorage, and radiant barriers.

There’s a charge for a roofing permit. But, most contractors will make the necessary arrangements for this permit for customers willing to cover its fee.

You should be aware: There are fines for anyone who goes ahead with roofing work without a permit. You’ve been warned.

Cool Roofs

Here is a requirement that is unique to California regulations. Put simply, these are roofs made of materials that reflect the sun, so they pass on and retain less heat.

An added bonus is that they reduce the need for air-conditioning, reduce carbon emissions and energy bills. Typically, if a business is in a high sunshine area of the state, it will need a cool roof.

Your contractor should give you more information about cool roofs when asked. There are multiple reasons why a business should get a cool roof. Find out more here.

It’s worth noting that commercial properties have to have a cool roof if they are replacing half of their roof or 2,000 square feet of it, whichever is the smaller amount.

Also, any cool roof has to be rated by the Cool Roof Rating Council, which evaluates the solar reflectance and thermal emittance of roofing products. 

Fire Safety and Commercial Roofing

Depending on their location in the state, some Californian buildings, including commercial premises, are at risk of fire. Any new or repaired roof needs to be fire-resistant.

California law states that any premises within an area of the state that is at risk of fire must have a roof with a fire-retardant covering that is either Class A or Class B.

Class A refers to areas with a high risk of fire, and Class B refers to areas that are lower risk fire-retardant covering if a business or home is having more than half of its roof replaced. 

Solar Roofing

Starting next year, California Commercial Roofing codes state that a new roof must have solar panels installed on them. It’s part of an energy efficiency drive by the California Energy Commission that’s referred to as Title 24.

As part of this, there’s also a recommendation for businesses to use more LED lighting and more efficient air filters to prevent hazardous substances from getting into buildings. 

There are several options for commercial properties to choose from:

Asphalt Shingle Commercial Roofing

It’s a popular choice because it’s cheaper than other roofing materials, meets all the regulations needed, but it tends to last around 20 years, whereas a metal roof will go for half a century.

They’re quick and easy to install, and there are different types of asphalt shingles to choose from, including longer-lasting fiberglass. 

Cap Sheet Commercial Roofing

It’s a great way of installing a waterproof surface on a new roof. Such a roof is fixed by using tar-coat or asphalt over layers of fiberglass.

This is done over several layers and then coated with mineral granules. It makes for a sturdy and robust roof that reflects heat and reduces energy bills and acts as a defender against the elements for your property.

Modified Bitumen Commercial Roofing

These are a popular choice, especially for businesses with flat or low slope roof areas. Such a roof is easy to apply, lasts a long time, is useful in fluctuating climates, and is compliant with California’s Commercial Roofing codes. 

Why Choose Central Roofing?

We’re fully licensed, professional, trusted by many businesses and can demonstrate before and after examples of our work, alongside testimonials.

Contact us here for a full and free commercial roofing estimate for your business. What are you waiting for? Talk to one of our experts today. 


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