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  • Writer's pictureShannon George

Flat Roof Or A Pitched Roof?

If you are building or adding an extension to a residential home or a commercial building, you will have to consider what type of roof would be best. The decision can affect the structure’s function, aesthetics, and overall cost. Before a final decision is made, a qualified roofing contractor should be part of your process. They can add their knowledge and advice when selecting the roof that would be best for your structure.

Contrary to the name; flat roofs are not entirely flat. All roofs will have some sloping, to allow rain and snow to flow off the roof. A flat roof can also be considered a low-slope roof. The slope of a roof is referred to as the pitch and is measured by how much they descend over 12 inches. Your roofing expert will refer to the slope as a 3 and 12 for example, typically a flat roof, or 4 and 12 which are your pitched roofs. (Surprise! Your high school math teacher would be glad to know what you are discussion slope after high school.) The slope of a roof has a practical purpose for water run-off and can create a visual appeal as well depending on the roof’s design. Pitched roofs have many styles and are explained in our article “10 Common Roof Structures.” Flat roofs will not have a variety of pitches but have their advantages.

Pros and cons of a pitched roof vs flat

The choice of a pitched or flat roof boils down to a matter of personal preference and the type of building you are roofing. Here we provide a detailed comparison of pitched and flat roofs.

Pitched Roofs

Technically speaking a pitched room will have a peak. The triangle form at the top of your home and the towering attic inside is the result of pitched roofs.

Pros of a Pitched Roff

  • Longer lifespan

  • Less maintenance

  • Less likely to have leaks

  • Cheaper repair cost

  • Provides more structure and stability

  • Gives extra footage that can be converted into a loft or bonus room

Cons of a Pitch Roof

  • Higher installation cost

  • Does not lend itself to modern architecture design

Flat or Low Sloped Roofs

These are more often seen in commercial buildings and in modern architecture.

Pros of a Flat Roof

  • Cheaper installation cost

  • Quicker installation

  • Each footage for each floor (no triangle loft shapes to cut the square footage)

  • Practical for low rainfall areas

  • Clean minimalist lines for design

  • Does not block natural light

  • Saves on home repairs with siding, windows, and decks

  • Energy efficient

  • Great for garages and add ons

Cons of a Flat Roof

  • Shorter lifespan

  • More maintenance than that of a pitched

  • Increased leak probability

  • Inefficient drainage

  • More expensive repair costs

Pitched roofs in general will last longer and require less maintenance over the lifespan of the roof, but if you want a low-cost roof and like the straight lines and modern architecture a flat roof can be a viable option. For help deciding which roof will be best for you, reach out to the experts at Herring to schedule an estimate today.


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