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Will a Flat Roof Work for Me? The Pros and Cons of Flat Roofing

Did you know that a flat roof isn’t actually flat? It usually has a slight incline of 1/4-1/2 inch per foot. This allows water to drain down to one end to prevent pooling and damage.

You’ll find flat roofs on many commercial buildings, but modern homes employ this design technique as well.

Flat roofs are becoming increasingly popular, but they aren’t the right choice for every home. Read on for our top pros and cons on flat roofs.

Flat Roof Pros

While flat roofs may not be for everyone, they’re great for some homes. Here’s why.

1. Flat Roofs Can Be Highly Energy Efficient

The materials used in most residential flat roofs are made of thick rubber and/or plastic. Based on your climate, you can select a formulation that either absorbs or reflects heat.

So if you live in a cooler climate, you can select a material that soaks up the sun and helps heat the home. In warmer climates, you can use a formulation that reflects light, which keeps the home cooler.

Flat roofs are usually lighter weight, so they can usually support a solar panel system without needing reinforcement. Plus, the flat roof get’s full sun exposure all day, so your solar panels have longer exposure to direct rays than if they were on a slanted roof.

2. Leaks Are Rare

Because flat roof surfaces are usually installed in large, flat pieces leaks are rare. As long as the seams are tightly sealed, water cannot penetrate the roof’s surface.

If your surrounding yard has trees with branches that reach higher than the surface of the roof, it’s important to check the roof regularly to make sure that broken branches haven’t landed on the surface and cut or damaged it.

Cuts, tears, and seams are the only place that water can leak through. So as long as you maintain the surface and seams, you won’t have water issues.

3. Repairs are Usually Simple and Inexpensive

Most maintenance and repairs on a flat roof can be done by the homeowner. They’re also relatively inexpensive compared to repairing a typical slanted roof.

Flat Roof Cons

As with most home design features, there are also cons to be considered. Keep reading to learn why.

1. You Can’t DIY the Whole Roofing Process

There are some parts of flat roof installation that absolutely need the help of a trained professional. One example is selecting your roofing materials.

If the material you choose isn’t perfectly suited to your climate then you can end up with a roof that increases your energy bill spending significantly. Some roofing materials become quite inflexible in cold weather and can sustain heavy damage just from being too cold.

Make sure to consult a professional roofing contractor when deciding what materials to use or you could cost yourself a lot of money and cause serious damage to your home.

2. Some Flat Roofs Require Reinforced Joists

One common type of flat roofing called Built-Up-Roofing or BUR is composed of several layers of waterproof material and even asphalt. And while it’s incredibly durable, it’s also very heavy.

If you’re replacing a roof on an existing home, you may need to have your joists reinforced to accommodate the extra weight.

Keep in mind, that BUR roofing isn’t commonly used on residential properties.

3. Some Roofing Materials Can Be Dangerous During Installation

BUR roofing material requires the use of some hazardous chemicals during installation and it’s usually recommended that the home be unoccupied during the roof construction process.

Another type of roofing material called modified bitumen roofing or MBR requires the use of an open flame torch during installation, which means that it should be done by a professional.

Neither of these materials is typically used on residential roofing projects. You can opt for the rubber or plaster composition instead.

Now What?

After considering your home and property needs, consult with a professional roofing contractor to make your final decision.

Those two factors can help you truly decide if a flat roof is the right choice for your home.

Want a free roofing estimate on your roofing project? Contact us today!

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164 Innisfil Street, Unit 305
Barrie, ON, L4N 3E7
Phone: (705) 737-1142
Email: akenterprises1@hotmail.com
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