Head to Head: Flat vs Pitched Roofing

Take a look at commercial establishments and homes. You’ll likely see a pattern somewhere. Residences often feature sloped (pitched) roofs, while commercial buildings have flat roofs. Roofing specialists are also likely to point it out. This makes one wonder if either of the two roofing styles is better than the other.

Pros and Cons

Flat and pitched roofs have pros and cons in three different categories: maintenance, cost, and structure. For both, regular maintenance is required, though pitched roofs need more. Their angles make them much harder to clean and inspect. As a result, pitched roofs tend to need maintenance throughout their lifetime. On the other hand, flat roofs may require less upkeep, but drainage problems plague it. Standing water on a flat roof makes its drains liable to clogging due to the elements. At times, this even causes leaks.

As for cost and structure, flat roofs tend to be more affordable. This is because of the less actual area it occupies. One simple test can help illustrate this. Take a piece of cardboard and place it over an open box. Preferably, the box must be small enough for the cardboard to lay flat on it, acting as a ‘roof.’ You will see that the cardboard’s surface area is enough to protect the inside of the box. But take the same piece and tilt it sloping down. It covers a smaller area, so you need another piece to close off the gap and make a triangle. The same thing happens with pitched and flat roof pricing.

Making a Case for Pitched Roofs

Pitched roofs, however, are popular among homeowners for a reason. One advantage concerns maintenance. Their sloping structures make them easier to inspect from the ground. As a result, pitched roofs tend to last longer since problems are easy to spot. Not to mention, basic geometric principles dictate that pitched roofs resist inclement weather better. It’s because flat roofs are direct targets for precipitation, whereas sloped roofs make snow and/or rain simply slide down and off their surfaces.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal choice and requirements. Pitched and flat roofs each have their advantages over the other. The key to choosing either is balancing the pros and cons.