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Flatt or Pitched Roof ???

by Chris last modified Feb 22, 2014 11:30 AM
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Flatt or Pitched Roof ???

Posted by Chris at September 21. 2006

Hello All,

We are in the mist of designing a modern home and are debating weather to do a flat roof or a slightly pitched standing seam metal roof. Our builder is confident that he can build a flat roof that will last and not leak but everyone one else we talk with suggest sticking with a pitched roof. (He is suggesting an insulated flat roof)

Beside the difference in ascetics - do any of you have any suggestion or comments for us. Can modern flat roofs hold up like a Slanted roof?


Re: Flatt or Pitched Roof ???

Posted by Chas. Schwartz at September 21. 2006

Flat v pitched roof is partly a design issue, partly a matter of preference, and could be subject to local zoning rules as well. The purpose of a pitched roof is to make it easier for rain, snow, and ice to slide off the roof. It also can give a building a more conventional, residential appearance as a design cue. If heavy weather isn't much concern to you, the choice can be decided by preference. If you have severe weather and heavy snow loads, or if you need to allow for an attic space, a flat roof may not be for you. A flat roof is not actually flat; the ones we're planning on the new house in the CA desert (still working on getting the permit) have a code-required slope of 1/4 per foot so water will run off during the few spells of rain. Are you concerned that a flat roof will not last as long as a pitched roof? There are few conditions as harsh overall as the desert but flat roofs are very common there and hold up well. However, your architect or engineer will need to make sure the structure can support your snow load, if any. I understand this is easier to accomplish with a pitched roof, or that's the conventional wisdom, anyhow. Supposedly, a heavy duty flat roof in a snowy area that can support the load will also be under the melthing snow for a long time and that may mean it will leak. I don't believe this; if the roof is lousy it will leak. If it's build right and in good shape, it won't. After a while any roofing will need to be repaired or replaced. A flat roof should be cheaper than a pitched roof. For one thing, fewer materials. For another, in most designs you will not see the roof surface, so it needs only to be mechanically acceptable (such as torch down rolled roofing, a la a warehouse). A picthed roof can be seen from the ground, so the roofing itself then takes on an aesthetic quality, too. Good luck!

Re: Flatt or Pitched Roof ???

Posted by Chris at September 22. 2006

Wow - great reply with good info.


Re: Flatt or Pitched Roof ???

Posted by Splatgirl at September 22. 2006

Aside from structural concerns, keep in mind that the difference between the flat roofs of the past and current flat roof waterproofing technology is like night and day. Building products evolve with technology just like every other industry (although some would argue more slowly and with more resistance!).
There are weatherproofing products designed for flat roof applications that are warrantied to last as long or longer than any shingle or asphalt product out there. Like Pottree said, a poorly constructed or poorly maintained roof will leak regardless of whether it is flat or pitched and any roof or roofing product will require periodic maintenence or replacement.

living under 3000sqft of leak free flat roof

Re: Flatt or Pitched Roof ???

Posted by Steven Comisso at October 05. 2006

I just installed 1000sf of EPDM .045 reinforced. It is quite good. The glue that it is put down with is a kind of contact cement and it sticks amazingly. My brother in law does many commercial roofs with it and says even the thinnest variety will last 40yrs. Some details, flashings and overlaps may need maintenance sooner. Carlysle is the leader. Firestone makes a material that is .075 and is very thick. Also, there is TPO which has a white surface that is particularly suited to warmer sunnier climates. Gets put down the same way.

Re: Flatt or Pitched Roof ???

Posted by Murtopia at October 09. 2006

I’m also getting ready to start building a flat roof home. The architect has designed a parapet that hides a gently sloped roof to give the appearance of a flat roof.

My concern is that we live in a cold climate and we have many freeze / thaw cycles throughout the winter. Should I be concerned that there could be ice build up and expansion that could push at the parapet walls?

Re: Flatt or Pitched Roof ???

Posted by Simmon Bullock at February 22. 2014


In my opinion you should go for the flat roof and if you still have the doubt then I know one Top Roofing Company Houston who are best in providing the guidance and able to advice with pros and cons of the type. I hope it will help you.

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