The Pros and Cons of a Flat Roof

January 26 2018 0comment

The Pros and Cons of a Flat Roof

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While most residences here in the UK, especially on traditional and older homes, have a pitched roof, there are still millions of flat roofs around the country.  Most flat roofs are featured on commercial and industrial buildings with residential flat roofs tending to feature more often on extensions and add-ons.  Today we’re going to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of flat roofs.

  • COST – flat roofs tend to be cheaper and quicker to install than a pitched alternative as they have a simpler structure than a traditional pitched roof.  However, one of the main drawbacks of a flat roof is that it is likely to need more maintenance.  This means that what you save in the installation process may well be spent over the following years on regular maintenance and repair work.
  • WATER – the main reason that traditional roofs here in the UK are pitched is that the rain easily slides off due to the slope and the roofs overlapping tiles.  A flat roof should feature a slight slope, but they fail to shed water as easily as a pitched roof and the extremely low slope of a flat roof often results in water ponding on the roof and causing damage.
  • COMPACT – the compact design of a flat roof means that they are a suitable solution for garages and extension, which often don’t demand the same features from a roof as other areas of the home. 
  • DURABILITY – despite the fact that recent technological advances have resulted in innovative new roofing materials, a flat roof is not expected to last as long as a pitched roof so will need replacing more frequently.  The materials used on a pitched roof are generally for weather resistant and durable than those used on a flat roof, though this gap is beginning to close with the introduction of more robust materials into the flat roofing market.
  • INTERIOR SPACE – a pitched roof provides a building with more interior space to use if necessary.  Loft conversions can mean opening up the attic to provide more living space, a feature that just isn’t available with a flat roof.  Even without a loft conversion, many homeowners use the attic space to store belongings that are used infrequently.
  • EXTERIOR SPACE – a flat roof can be converted to provide more exterior space which can be used for many different purposes.  Most commercial and industrial buildings that feature flat roofs install plant and machinery in this space which leaves more interior room for business activities.  However, safe access to the plant and machinery for regular maintenance and repair work must be provided in the form of a sturdy roof walkway system or a rooftop demarcation barrier system that prevents access to the edge.  A flat roof can also be used to provide outdoor recreational space such as roof gardens.

Both types of roof have their advantages and disadvantages and it really is up to the building owner to make the most of the building’s roof, whatever type it is.

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