Slope Roofs vs. Flat Roofs for Commercial Buildings

Commercial buildings need to last a very long time. Because of this, they need to have roofs that can stand the test of time. One thing that makes the process of installing and maintaining the perfect roof for any given commercial building is that there are options to choose from. When it comes to a commercial building, there are really only two options to choose from: A roof that has a slope or a roof that is flat. The real decision-making process begins when measuring the benefits and drawbacks between the two. Both types of roofs will be analyzed for this purpose and by the end, you will be much more confident in your choice to have either a slope roof or a flat roof installed for your commercial building.

Flat Roofs

Although no roof is completely flat as there needs to be some sort of semblance of pitch in any kind of roof no matter what the building may look like, there do exist roofs that have a pitch that is so even that it could certainly pass for a flat roof. Any very large commercial building, like a warehouse or a shopping center, could benefit greatly from a flat roof.

There are four reasons why a flat roof is very beneficial to a large building. Of these four, the most significant benefit is that they last a very, very long time, especially if the shingles are composed of metal. If a sloped roof with metal shingles can last upwards of 40 years, a flat one with metal roofing can last even longer, and they often do. Because flat roofs have no real slope, the chances of the roof coming off during any given major storm are much, much lower than a roof that has a steep slope.

Because of their surface, flat roofs very rarely require maintenance. This is especially true if the roof is equipped with proper drainage systems and devices. Once it is constructed and installed, it is likely that it won’t need any updates or repairs for several years. This makes a flat roof a very good long term investment and is ideal for any owner of a commercial building who is planning on using that commercial building for a very long time.

If a commercial roof repair crew does need to get on top of a flat roof to do some repairs, it is much easier for them to do this on a flat roof rather than a sloped one as well. One reason why sloped roofs usually stay untouched is because walking on them is very, very dangerous. This is not the case with a flat roof.

Flat roofs are not perfect, however, and do contain some drawbacks. First, flat roofs are not appealing at all. They are not appealing because they are simply not visible. There is no way to “see” a flat roof. Second, if one is to have a flat roof installed, they must have some kind of drainage system for the building installed. If one is not installed, rain will gather on top of the roof and cause leaks. The final drawback a flat roof has is that they cost much more money upfront than any sloped roof.

Slope Roofs

A roof with a slope is more common for residential buildings, but commercial buildings can also benefit somewhat from slope roofs. Different than a flat roof, a slope roof has a lower pitch. Most roofs with a slope will use asphalt shingles, especially if they are residential buildings. For commercial buildings, there is a better solution, which will be mentioned later.

Perhaps the best thing about a sloped roof for a commercial building is that it will make the building visible. This is useful if the building would be difficult to find among other buildings if it had a flat roof. It is much easier to notice a slope roof building among dozens of flat roof buildings. If the commercial building does not take up a lot of area, this is even better as the risk of having a sloped roof is not as high.

Installing a sloped roof costs much less than a flat roof. It costs less because of a few reasons. First, they do not take as long to install. Flat roofs can take days to install. A sloped roof, especially with clay or asphalt shingles can take hours. Second, there is no drainage system necessary to be installed onto a sloped roof. Simply attach a few gutters and drainage pipes, keep them maintained regularly, and thousands of dollars are now saved on a drainage system.

Sloped roofs can protect a building almost as efficiently as any flat roof by installing metal shingles. Some say that metal is by far the most durable. It can hold up well during storms and are a bit more eco-friendly than any other roof material. However, they can cost a bit to install. But if you are considering installing a flat roof for a commercial building, it would behoove you to install metal shingles.

Sloped roofs present a high risk to any building. This goes double for a commercial building, as residential buildings can be insured for a lot less money than a commercial one. They require a good amount of regular maintenance because of the debris that can bounce off of it. And when people climb up the roof to make repairs, there is a risk to them. As mentioned previously, the gutters and drain pipes around a slope roof act as its drainage system. This is another thing that must be cleaned out regularly.

Choosing a roof for a commercial building involves many more decisions other than “what kind of roof do I want.” It is important to know that between flat and sloped roofs, there are many advantages and drawbacks to each. Flat roofs are built specifically for the long term. When a flat roof is installed, it is designed to last a very long time without much regular maintenance. Any commercial building that covers a lot of area and that stands alone would benefit greatly from a flat roof.

Sloped roofs need to be maintained regularly. More risks are taken when these are installed. They do not last long unless extra time and money is spent on getting metal shingle materials installed along with the sloped roofs. They will make a commercial building stand out, however, as most commercial buildings have flat roofs installed.