When most people think of roofing materials, they generally think of pitched (or sloped) roofs. After all, these are the kind of roofs that are most commonly seen on homes and other buildings.
However, there is another option: flat roofs.
Flat roofs are less common in residential usage in the United States, though they are widely used on commercial buildings. While the percentage of homes with flat roofs is lower than the percentage with pitched roofs, there are many benefits to having a flat roof, including lower installation costs, energy savings, and possibilities for rooftop gardens or even swimming pools.
6 Interesting Facts About Flat Roofs
Here are interesting facts about flat roofing that you may not know.
Fact 1: Flat roofs are not completely flat.
While flat roofs may appear to be level, they actually have a slight slope to them. This slope is known as a “pitch” and is typically between 1/4 inch and 2 inches per foot. The pitch serves two main purposes: first, it helps drain water off the roof; and second, it provides some insulation against heat and cold by trapping air between the roofing material and the underlying decking.
Fact 2: Flat roofs are common in commercial construction.
One of the main reasons for this is that flat roofs are much easier and cheaper to build than traditional sloped roofs. This is because there is no need for trusses or rafters to support the weight of the roof material; instead, a flat roof can be supported by load-bearing walls or columns.
Fact 3: Flat roof problems are different than traditional sloped roofs.
Because water does not flow off a flat roof as easily as it does off a sloped one, there is a greater chance that standing water will accumulate on the surface. This can lead to pooling, which puts extra stress on the roofing materials and can eventually lead to leaks. As such, it is important to have your flat roof inspected regularly by a professional to ensure that any potential problems are caught early on.
Fact 4: Flat roofs are more susceptible to damage from high winds.
Because there is nothing stopping wind from blowing directly onto a flat roof, strong gusts can cause damage such as ripped up shingles or even structural damage if the wind is strong enough. For this reason, it is important to make sure that your flat roof is properly anchored down so that it can withstand high winds without sustaining any damage.
Fact 5: Flat roofs can be made from a variety of materials.
Flat roofs can be made from a variety of materials. While most people think of tar or gravel when they think of flat roofs, there are actually a number of different materials that can be used to construct a flat roof. Some of the most popular options include EPDM rubber, TPO plastic, PVC plastic, and built-up asphalt. Each type of material has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to do your research before deciding on which one is right for your home or business.
Fact 6: Flat roofs seem taller to humans than sloped roofs.
Human perception results in buildings with flat roofs appearing to be taller than buildings with sloped roofs, even if they are not. This is a result of our brains “coding” a building with a pitched roof as being a residential house and a building with a flat roof as being a high rise.
Flat roofs may not be as popular as traditional sloped ones, but they still have their place in the world of roofing. If you are thinking about having a flat roof installed on your home or business, be sure to consult with a professional first to ensure that it is the right choice for you.
A Brief History of Flat Roofs
The concept of the flat roof is actually quite old. Ancient Egyptian tombs and temples had flat roofs, as did many homes and public buildings in ancient Greece. The Romans also used flat roofs on their homes and public baths, and the tradition continued in later centuries with Islamic architecture.
Flat roofs were less common in Europe during the Middle Ages, but they made a comeback during the Renaissance. Many Italian villas from this period have flat roofs, as do a number of notable buildings in other European countries.
Flat roofs became increasingly popular in the United States during the 19th century. This was largely due to the influence of German and Scandinavian immigrants, who were accustomed to using them on their homes back in their home countries.
Flat roofs are enjoying a resurgence in popularity for residential usage in the United States. As architecture and design trends toward more simple, minimalistic styles, a flat roof is often an appealing option. Additionally, the growing interest in environmentally friendly options is also causing interest in flat roofs to grow. Flat roofs also can be used for so-called “green” roofs which can reduce a home’s energy consumption and lower heating and cooling costs.
Types of Materials Used for Flat Roofs
There are several different types of flat roofing materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The three most common types are:
Also known as tar-and-gravel roofs, built-up roofs are composed of multiple layers of asphalt or coal tar that are then covered with gravel. This type of roof is very durable and long-lasting, but it can be quite heavy, which means that the structure supporting the roof must be able to bear the weight. Built-up roofs are also not particularly energy efficient.
Rubber Membrane Roofs
Rubber membrane roofs are composed of a single layer of rubber that is stretched over the roof and then sealed at the seams. This type of roof is much lighter than a built-up roof, so it puts less strain on the supporting structure. Rubber membrane roofs are also more energy efficient than built-up roofs, but they are not as durable and may need to be replaced more frequently.
Metal roofs are composed of metal panels that are fastened to the roof deck. They are very lightweight, so they can be used on structures that cannot support the weight of a built-up or rubber membrane roof. They are also quite durable and energy efficient. However, improperly installed metal roofs can be quite loud during a rainstorm.
Flat Roof Pros and Cons
There are many advantages of a flat roof, including:
- Lower Installation Costs: Flat roofs are generally less expensive to install than pitched roofs. This is because they require fewer materials and less labor.
- Rooftop Gardens: The level surface of a flat roof makes it an ideal location for a rooftop garden. This can provide your home with additional green space and can help to insulate the building.
- Swimming Pools: A properly structured flat roof can also support a swimming pool, which can provide your family with hours of enjoyment.
- Additional Living Space: A flat roof can be used as additional living space, such as a rooftop deck or patio. This can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors without having to leave your home.
There are also some disadvantages to having a flat roof, including:
- Limited Drainage: Flat roofs can sometimes have problems with drainage, since the water has nowhere to go but down. This can lead to leaks and other damage if the roof is not properly maintained.
- Maintenance: Flat roofs require more maintenance than pitched roofs, since they need to be regularly cleaned and inspected for problems.
- Snow and Ice: Flat roofs can be more prone to damage from snow and ice than pitched roofs, since the weight of the snow and ice can cause the roof to collapse. This is why it is important to have a professional remove any snow or ice from your flat roof.
- Wind: Flat roofs can also be more susceptible to damage from high winds than pitched roofs. This is because the wind can catch under the roof and lift it up, causing it to peel away from the building.
- Heat: Flat roofs can absorb more heat from the sun than pitched roofs, which can make them hotter in the summer. This can lead to higher cooling costs.
Flat Roof Maintenance
Flat roofs require a different amount and frequency of maintenance than pitched roofs, but this does not mean that they are difficult to maintain. There are a few things that you need to do on a regular basis to keep your flat roof in good condition, including:
- Inspect the roof for any cracks or leaks. These should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
- Clean the roof regularly to remove any dirt, debris, or leaves. This will help to prevent clogs in the drains and gutters.
- Trim any trees or shrubs that are near the roof. This will help to prevent damage from falling branches.
- Remove any snow or ice from the roof. This can be done with a shovel or a roof rake.
- Have the roof inspected by a professional roofer at least once a year. This will help to identify any potential problems and allow you to have them repaired before they cause damage.
Flat roofs are a great option for many homes and businesses, but it is important to be aware of the pros and cons before you make your decision. If you take the time to research your options and choose the right roof for your needs, you will be sure to enjoy all the benefits that a flat roof has to offer.
Stronghold Roofing In & Near Lakeland, FL
When you need a roofing contractor for flat roof repair or to replace a flat roof, contact the best roofing company in Florida – Stronghold Roofing & Solar. Our flat roof specialists have the knowledge and training to take care of all your needs.
We also offer a full range of roofing services for pitched roofs on homes or businesses throughout central Florida.
We are committed to providing the highest quality craftsmanship, impeccable communication, and fair and transparent pricing. As a licensed, certified, and insured roofing company, we are here for all your roofing needs.
Contact us today for a free estimate.