For centuries, houses that are located in temperate regions are sloped since rainwater and snow can easily flow off the house’s eaves without having to seep inside the house’s structure. Houses that were situated in drier and warmer climates like in the Mediterranean, the Middle-East, and Northern Africa, have flat rooftops since rain is quite rare in certain areas of these regions. 

flat roof pros and cons

Sloped rooftops can give homeowners advantages and disadvantages. Flat rooftops have become increasingly more prevalent in modern commercial buildings and skyscrapers right after the turn of the 20th century. Most architectural designers would say that flat rooftops give commercial buildings more room to build on. Functionally, it also gives the property more room for thier HVAC units. If you are on the fence on what type of roof design you should be installing on your rooftop, then hopefully this article will help you weigh in the pros and cons of having flat rooftops and what the requirements are.

Flat Roofs

Flat rooftops are quite different from sloped roof designs in terms of needs, but it will give you a unique set of advantages that will make it more adaptive and versatile to changes. Likewise sloped rooftops are designed for a more sustainable and durable home since your conventional house does not require as much room for improvement and renovations than commercial buildings.  

‘Flat’ rooftops are not entirely flat, but actually have a pitch of 1/12 or 0.5/12 which means that for every 12 inches that is traversed on the rooftop, a vertical slope of 1 or 0.5 inch will rise. Most owners do this to mitigate the damages caused by rainwater and snow by redirecting it to the appropriate gutters and drainage system. Building owners have to keep this in mind when designing flat rooftops. Truly flat rooftops can mean that water can easily accumulate on rooftops which can add to accumulated weight. 

Flat Roof: Pros

  • Cost effective – In most cases, the materials used for flat rooftops are easy to come by and will be readily available in your local builder’s depot. Additionally, the equipment and materials for rooftops are relatively cheap compared to the roofing materials for sloped roofs. 
  • Cheaper maintenance – Since the materials used for rooftops are cheaper and easier to maintain, there is less expenditure in maintaining a flat rooftop design. 
  • Space for equipment – The flat rooftop design makes for an easy way of installing HVAC equipment and other facilities at the top of the roof. Moreover, the costs for installing on flat rooftops are relatively cheap since there is no danger of being in inclined spaces. 
  • More accessible – Even the most skilled roofing specialists can still feel anxious if they are on sloped roofs and extra care has to be taken to make sure that they are safe. Flat rooftops are easier to check and easier to inspect for damages.
  • Professional appeal – Flat rooftops are the ideal design for commercial buildings and office buildings since they provide a good amount of air conditioning, ventilation, heating, and insulation. The flat design can also provide more room for extension and improvement if the owner wishes.  

Flat Roof: Cons

  • Stability decreases as area increases – Building owners have to keep in mind that as the area increases, so does the weight of the building. Extra supporting structures have to be installed to support the accumulating weight of the building. 
  • Metal roofing is hard to come by – Metal roofing can be scarce in most cities in the United States. However, there are alternatives such as EPOM, Rubber, and Bitumen. 
  • Limited lifespan – Compared to the roofing materials used for sloped roofs that last over 25 – 35 years, flat rooftop materials will last along 10 – 15 years. After a decade of being maintained, building owners have to do widespread renovation and replacement of materials to make sure that their rooftop is in working condition. 
  • Drainage systems need improvement – Having a 0.5/12 and 1/12 pitch for these types of roofs can help drain rainwater, but are still vulnerable to the effects of pooling from accumulated water. Moreover, ice dams might form during the winter which can disrupt the flow of water. 
  • Susceptible to colder weather – Originally, flat rooftops were more prevalent in warmer regions, but as time went by, the flat rooftop design would be a design that’s used by different cultures in a multitude of different climates. As snow and water accumulates at the rooftop, extreme temperatures 

Overall, flat rooftops are a great choice for commercial buildings since these buildings will require a good amount of space. Moreover, flat rooftop designs can help optimize the logistical support of your building while will, in turn, minimizing energy costs and provide a good amount of protection and insulation from penetrative heat, cold weather, and moisture. 

If you’re still unsure of what the best design for your roof is, then you can always hire a professional roofing contractor that can offer services like extensive planning and surveys for damages on your rooftop, renovations, repairs, and replacements. Planning your roofing Lake City FL is necessary if you are looking to get the most out of your property roof. 


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