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Pros & Cons of Flat Roofing

14 January 2013

A flat roof, just as the name suggests, is laid horizontally though it may contain a minor incline.  Synthetic rubber & asphalt are the two most common flat roofing materials.  When determining whether your next roof should be rubber, it’s important to consider the benefits and disadvantages.  Here’s what you need to know!

MAINTENANCE- Flat roofs need to be monitored more than a pitched because there is no way for water to naturally filter away.  This causes standing water, debris and clogged drainage systems which can shorten your roof’s lifespan.

Our Vote: CON

PRICE-Flat roofs are easier to install because they lack pitch.  This makes it easier for installers to navigate the roof during the installation process which makes it go by quicker.  It is cheaper to insure a company installing flat roofs than one installing pitched roofs because a flat roof is harder to fall off of.  Flat roofs also lack the rafters and engineered trusses that pitched roofs require, making them less costly because they need fewer materials.

Our Vote: PRO

LIFESPAN- Because of the beating flat roofs take because they do not naturally drain, their life expectancy can be as short as 10 years.  Even if you don’t plan on owning the structure for 10 years, a flat roof can also affect your ability to sell the property because the next owner will likely be aware of the roof’s shortened lifespan.  By contrast, an asphalt or metal pitched roof can have non-prorated warranties on labor and materials that last up to 50 years.

Our Vote: CON

Don’t Install a New Roof Without Watching This: 


INSURANCE- Flat roofs are more prone to leaking.  Insurance companies take this into account and often raise rates accordingly.  On the other hand, metal roofs can actually lower your insurance premiums because they are more resistant to fire and hail.  Because of how metal roofs are engineered, they actually discourage the build up of snow on their roofs.

Our Vote: CON

HEAT ABSORPTION- A flat roof is designed to absorb heat.  Because it lacks pitch, the entire roof is exposed to the sun all day long.  While this sounds appealing for Midwest winters, you must remember that in the winter the sun is at lowest point so the heating capabilities can be minimal compared to the upped energy bills you’ll experience in the summer months when your home’s air conditioner has to work harder to keep your home cool.

Our Vote: CON

USEABLE SPACE- Have you ever been in a home where the upstairs rooms have walls with extreme angles?  Having a flat roof eliminates this issue and can allow for more space.  Walls with pitched roofs, especially those with extreme pitches, can eliminate the amount of livable space.  Additionally, flat roofs can allow for entertaining space with a rooftop deck or patio.

Our Vote: PRO

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