Are you a potential homeowner thinking of using a flat roof for your new house? Or a homeowner planning to renovate your home by giving it a fresh look with a flat roof?
If you answered yes to any of these, you need to be armed with the right information about flat roofs to enable you to make the right choice.
Knowing the pros and cons of flat roofs will not only save you time and money but will also enable you to determine if it’s ideal for your home.
Before we delve into the pros and cons, it’s pertinent that we explain what a flat roof is about. This will give you a head start in making the right decision.
Commonly known as low-slope roofs, flat roofs are roofs that date back to ancient times. They are often built horizontally with a bit of incline. This shows that they are not completely flat, even though they may look flat; they have a minimal slope that helps with water drainage.
Flat roofs are mostly used in places with arid climates where the roof space can be used for shelter, relaxation, and other purposes.
Unlike the pitched roofs, flat roofs are described as roofs that have a slope of 3 in 12. They’re the most notable roofing system in Arabian, Egyptian, and Persian architectures.
The roofs have been modernized by using different materials and designs for their construction. Although commercial buildings and skyscrapers are mostly known for using the flat roofing system, most homeowners have started looking towards this roofing system as a good alternative to the pitched roof.
Flat roofs have now become one of the most trendy and stylish roofing systems in today's world. They offer many benefits, even though they also have their downsides.
Below are the major pros and cons.
Using a flat roof is one of the best ways to save money and cut costs for your building construction. Unlike pitched roofs, flat roofs are cheap to build due to the few materials that are needed. You don't need a huge number of workers or engineered trusses and rafters that are very common with pitched roofs.
This is by far one of the best advantages of flat roofs. As a homeowner, you can easily access your roof by going to the rooftop to check for any damages. It is the best way to keep up with the maintenance of your building, especially the roof.
This does not apply to the pitched roof as it requires special equipment like a ladder and a great deal of expertise to enable you to access it. And if you’re not an expert in climbing pitched roofs, an accident might occur. This is not the case with flat roofs.
Since flat roofs are easy to access, maintaining them is easy. Repairs can be done quickly and easily, which will help to extend their lifespan in the long run. You can easily navigate the roof to detect any defect and make repairs without hassles.
They are also less expensive and easy to clean. This invariably helps you to prevent debris from building up on your roof. Flat roofs like flat concrete roofs are best cleaned via pressure washing.
A flat roof is one of the ways you can create more space (especially outdoor) to achieve your dream home. If you've longed to own a nice patio for relaxation but cannot achieve it due to the minimal space around your house, why not consider using the rooftop?
A flat roof can be used for relaxation, parties, and BBQ treats, where you can build a nice rooftop patio to unwind with family and friends.
You can also build a garden, install solar panels, and HVAC units right on your roof. This makes the benefits of this type of roofing almost limitless and helps to keep your properties safe and secure.
If you plan on extending your home in the future, a flat roof is the roofing system to consider. Due to the ease that comes with working with flat roofs, you are sure to finish your home extension project in no time.
Another merit of a flat roof is that it helps to give your home a nice radiance, especially when it is constructed with creativity and aesthetics. Creativities like having a rooftop garden adds more beauty and glamour to the building.
The best part of having this roof type is that it perfectly fits any landscaping theme or style, especially the modern designs. And you get tons of beautiful designs that you can get inspiration from.
Some states or communities give limits to the height of the houses within their jurisdictions, especially for multifamily buildings. Judging by the way a flat roof is constructed, it helps to strictly comply with those limits. This is something a pitched roof may not achieve, especially for big buildings.
The absence of angled overhangs in flat roofs enables better access to more natural light in your home. Unlike pitched roofs, flat roofs don’t have angled overhangs that often obstruct light rays from entering your home.
So, a flat roof is an ideal choice for you if you love to have more natural light in your home.
One of its major downsides is that it is not eco-friendly. Flat roofs work better in arid climates. Therefore, places with frequent rainfall or snow might experience pooling due to the poor drainage system often associated with flat roofs. This might eventually lead to leakages or cracks in the roof if proper care is not taken.
And this is why a very strong gutter system is often needed to effectively drain this type of roof; a requirement that’s not needed with pitched roofs.
As opposed to pitched roofs, flat roofs are not very durable. They have a relatively short lifespan, which is often between 10 and 15 years if they are properly maintained. This is unlike pitched roofs that can last for many decades.
You’re likely to experience an intrusion by plants if you have a garden on your roof. Plants with invasive roots could burrow into your roof and cause serious leakages.
There are often very limited materials to choose from for the construction of a flat roof. And such materials are usually scarce to find. Some of them are Asphalt, CPE and CSPE, EPDM, polyolefin, rubber, TPO, modified bitumen, and thermoplastic. Finding materials for flat roofs usually depends on the type of material you opt for and how available it is in your locality.
Apart from the water a flat roof accumulates, it also builds up dirt and debris like leaves, twigs, and other forms of waste that can clog the drain and prevent liquid from effectively draining through the roof. This is why regular inspection and maintenance are essential to guarantee its durability.
The high potential of having leakages on a flat roof often leads to insurance companies charging high insurance premiums. This is not the case with pitched roofs, which are often made of aluminum or zinc that can withstand high temperatures and can properly drain water and snow.