Flat vs. Pitched Roofs for Commercial Buildings

Flat vs. Pitched Roofs for Commercial Buildings

It’s fair to say that the roof is an important part of any building. For a business, your roof is often protecting your most valuable assets, and you can’t function without a good roof. When you’re looking into roofing styles for a new build, you’ll notice that a lot of commercial buildings have flat roofs. Why is that? We’re going to cover the major differences between flat and pitched roofs to help you better understand what each can and can’t do for any building.

The Necessity of Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are far more common for commercial construction. There are three primary reasons for this, and all of them are meaningful for commercial applications.

One of the best things about a flat roof is that you can utilize space on top of the building. In more extreme examples, you can think of rooftop gardens and similar spaces on large buildings. In less extreme examples, you can put heating and cooling units on a flat roof to save space on the ground. The true value of rooftop space ultimately depends on how creatively you can use it.

While extra space is nice, one of the primary reasons that so many businesses use flat roofs is that they minimize disruption. If you need to expand a building and/or roof while a business is operating, a flat roof is simpler, easier, and faster to design and construct. Overall, they lead to far less operational disruption of your business. The same can be said about roofing maintenance and replacement.

While all of this is important, there is a primary reason that flat roofs are used so frequently. To put it simply, pitched roofs are not viable for many building designs. It takes more roofing material per square foot of building to construct a pitched roof as opposed to a flat roof. As the size of the building goes up, that scaling becomes expensive and eventually impractical. On large enough buildings, the weight of a pitched roof is so great that the building can no longer support the design.

In other words, pitched roofs are too expensive, if not physically impossible for use on many buildings.

The Advantages of Pitched Roofs

In many cases, a flat roof is the only option. But, when designs allow, businesses will still choose a pitched roof. You can understand why by looking at the top three reasons that many businesses go with a pitched roof.

Probably the best thing about pitched roofs is that they require far less maintenance than flat roofs. Flat roofs don’t shed water nearly as effectively. Because of that, they are much more prone to water damage, and they have to be inspected and maintained diligently to compensate for their design. With a pitched roof, gravity handles water for you.

Eventually, pitched roofs need maintenance too, but overall, they need far less attention than a flat roof. When a pitched roof is viable, it can be a cheaper decision in the long term because of maintenance costs, especially if you opt for long-lasting materials like metal roofing.

Another reason people like pitched roofs when they are viable is that they look better. The aesthetics on a flat roof mean very little because you can’t see the roof from the ground. Pitched roofs present an opportunity for amazing aesthetics. You can think of pretty neighborhoods with nice pitched roofs. In the most extreme example, the Sydney Opera House is defined by its roof. While your business might not go to such lengths, a roof that is visible from the ground is an opportunity for design and aesthetics.

Another great thing about pitched roofs is their energy efficiency. Pitched roofs necessitate some amount of attic space or overhead air space. Regardless of what you do with that space, the air that fills it acts as a powerful insulator. Pitched roofs lead to buildings that are much easier to keep warm or cool as the weather dictates. Throughout the year, you will require far less energy for climate control.

You can see that each roofing style has its merits. For small enough buildings, pitched roofs tend to be the better choice. If the building is large enough, costs and simple physics will dictate that you have a flat roof. The best way to see where your building stands is to talk to Paradigm Roofing. We can look at your structure or your designs to help you with the roof and give you every available option. Then, we can construct the roof that you choose. Contact us today for commercial roofing in Collin County and the rest of the DFW area.