Flat roofs are versatile, energy-efficient, and make excellent options for commercial buildings that need a sound roofing system. However, flat roofs work differently than pitched roofs, and as such, they require a skilled flat roofer to install, repair, and maintain them. As with pitched roofs, flat roofing materials also have their respective pros and cons. Here are a few of the top pros and cons of flat roofing systems when considering them for your commercial property.
Pro: Save Money
Since flat roofs require less material than sloped roofs, they can help you save money on the installation material and labor costs, which can be particularly helpful for properties with a significant amount of square footage to cover on the roof, such as large commercial buildings. In addition, you can also save money with a flat roof because installing things like solar panels and gutters is generally much easier to do on a flat roofing system, as are managing cleaning and repairs.
Although some building owners appreciate the clean lines of a flat roof, there are not as many styles or color choices with flat roofing materials as there are with traditionally sloped roofs. Generally, you have white, black, tan, or another neutral color to choose from. You may also have the option to create a green roof, where plants and greenery make an attractive place for people to spend time or to help offset your carbon footprint, but it will cost more than a plain flat roof.
Pro: Increase Useable Space
Since flat roofs don’t waste interior space as a result of roof pitches, they increase the usable space of commercial properties, which can be a huge asset for buildings that need to maximize their indoor square footage. However, flat roofs also allow for more flexibility with outside space, since HVAC and other equipment can be placed on the roof instead of on the ground.
Con: Potential Drainage Issues
Although flat roofs aren’t completely flat—they have a gradual slope to ensure they drain water—water can stay on flat roofs for longer than sloped roofs. If the roofing system wasn’t installed properly or there is existing damage on the roof, such as a puncture or tear, this standing water can lead to leaks or drainage issues. Having a professional commercial roofer install and maintain your flat roof can help minimize any potential for these problems.
Pro: Easier Maintenance
Flat roofs can simplify roof maintenance because they are typically much easier to access and work on than pitched roofs. Although flat roofs can require more frequent maintenance and repairs than sloped roofs—depending on the material of your roof and how well it was installed—they can help lower maintenance costs because of their accessibility, and the repairs tend to be smaller and easier to fix.
Con: Vulnerability in Cold Weather
Since flat roofing systems don’t leave much room for insulation, combined with the potential for snow buildup, they provide less protection in colder weather. Certain flat roofing materials, such as PVC or aging asphalt-based roofing systems, are also more prone to cracking in freezing temperatures. An experienced flat roofing contractor can help ensure you not only choose the right roofing material for your climate and building, but help you minimize any damage that could result from freezing temperatures with a professional installation.
Is a Flat Roof the Right Choice for Your Property?
There’s no one-size-fits-all roofing solution when it comes to commercial properties. CDS Roofing understands that each building is unique, and our professionals are here to help you choose the right flat roofing material for your property. Find out more about the pros and cons of each of the roofing materials we offer by booking an estimate with us.