Why are Flat Roofs So Common on Commercial Buildings?

There are many different styles of roofs that you can choose for your building. However, when you are constructing a new building and installing a commercial roof, the most common style (as you might know) is a flat roof.

But why exactly are flat roofs so popular for commercial building applications?

Flat Roof vs. Pitched Roof

There are several differences between a flat roof and a pitched roof. The first (most obvious) difference is that pitched roofs are angled while flat roofs are flat. (The term flat roof is slightly inaccurate, though, because every roofing system has some degree of pitch to ensure drainage. Flat roofs actually have a very low slope themselves!)

Pitched roofs, also known as sloped roofs, often have a high degree of pitch to prevent snow and debris accumulation. Pitched roofs have great aesthetic appeal and the ability to completely change the overall look of a building.

Aside from that, one of the main differences in these types of roof designs is the cost. Because pitched roofs are bigger and more difficult to install, they cost more. Flat roofs don’t take as long to install and require less expensive material. And, pitched roofs are much more commonly found on residential homes, while flat roofs are usually seen on commercial buildings.

The types of materials used are also very different. Pitched roofs usually utilize shingles, while flat roofs are often constructed using TPO, PVC, or one of several other common commercial roofing materials.

While pitched roofs tend to have a longer lifespan than flat roofs (and may require less maintenance), flat roofs cost less to replace, and if well maintained, can have a service life that is comparable to its pitched roof counterpart.

When determining which roof is best for you, it is important that you consider each of these different aspects.

Flat Roof Benefits in Commercial Roofing

There are many benefits to a flat roof! Not only can they save you money upfront and in the long run, but they are also versatile and don’t require heavy maintenance. Here are some of the key reasons why a flat roof could be a great option for your commercial building.

1. Cost-Effective Because of Lower Upfront Costs

Flat roofing offers a lower upfront cost. With all the other business-related construction costs, you need to make sure you’re leaving room in your budget for a trustworthy new roof. Since a high quality commercial roof can cost you thousands of dollars, it’s not a decision you want to make lightly.

2. Storage Space for Things Like HVAC

Another benefit of having a flat roof is that it offers a lot of storage space. Since large commercial buildings have so many systems that keep them running, it can be difficult to find places for all of them. Flat roofs are a great place for hvac systems and other important items that are weather-resistant!

3. Versatile Durability for Any Location

While you may initially think flat roofs are not a great option for places that experience heavy rain or snow, they actually work in all climates! A flat roof’s minor (undetectable) low slope allows water and snow to run off into the roof’s drainage system.

This slight slope prevents ponding, rot and water infiltration, which lessens the need for maintenance.

4. Can Save You Money on Utility Costs

Another huge benefit of having a flat roof is that reflective materials can be used during installation. These reflective materials allow UV rays to bounce off rather than being absorbed, which means that you save money on energy bills.

Depending on the type of material used, you can also get roofing material on your flat roof that stores heat. (This is a great option for colder climates.) Regardless of what you use on your roof, having a flat roof will be more cost-effective overall.

5. Regular Maintenance Keeps It In Good Condition

Flat roofs don’t require much upkeep.

Regular, semi-annual inspections and maintenance keep your commercial property’s flat roof in great condition. If there are leaks or compromised areas, an inspection will find them and allow a professional commercial roofing company to repair them easily. Roof drains should also be examined at least every six months.

Maintenance on flat roofing is also a much less dangerous process than repairing a pitched roof. When you have a steep roof, it may be necessary for roofers to use harnesses, scaffolding and other safety measures to prevent accidents.

However, it is much less dangerous to walk around on a flat roof that has easy access. The durability of a flat roof system makes it ideal for a commercial building application.

Flat Roof Options

There are a few different options for flat roofs. While they all are built on the same type of roof structure, there are many different materials and styles for flat roofs.

Some styles and materials are cheaper than others. Some offer different designs and colors. And, some are more durable and weather-resistant!

The most common type of material for flat roofs is EPDM, an extremely durable synthetic rubber that can be attached in a variety of ways. EPDM can be installed using adhesive, or attached mechanically or ballasted.

Another type of material that is quickly gaining popularity is TPO, a thin material that reflects UV rays and improves the energy efficiency of a flat roof.

Depending on your climate and a few other factors, the type of flat roof you choose may change. It is best to talk to a professional roofing contractor to learn more about the options available and to discuss which one will work best for your business.

By talking with your potential roofing contractor, you will be able to get your specific questions answered and will have peace of mind in regard to your upcoming roofing project!

Find a Commercial Roofing Installer For Your Flat Roof Today!

There are many benefits that come from a flat roof. But no matter the type, installing a commercial roof is a difficult process and should be left up to the professionals. If you are looking for a company to help with your commercial building’s roof, TEMA Roofing Services can help!

We offer commercial and industrial roofing services for any type of roof. Contact our team of experts today to learn more about the services we offer, to get a free consultation, or to get your commercial roof replacement on the books!