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Commercial Roofing: Flat or Sloped?

Flat or Sloped Roof Commercial Building

Houses typically come with pitched or sloped roofing and commercial buildings are built with flat roofs. Is there something that determines that one style of roof is better for a particular building? As it happens there are a few things to consider when choosing the roof style for any project. Flat roofing offers more usable space which is why it is preferred for industrial projects. If you had a flat roof on your home, just think how much more attic space you would have. Space really does matter and business owners aim to use as much space as they can. This means they can increase storage without the need for offsite storage units which can be expensive.

Commercial Roofing: Flat or Sloped?

In addition to space, many businesses have large air conditioning units to cool the entire building. They may also have other bulky equipment that needs a place and because building codes are very specific, there are limits as to where this machinery can go within the building. All this big, loud equipment can easily be stored on a flat roof, so there is nothing unsightly on the work floor and there is no noise pollution.

As important as space is, money is even more of a priority and flat roofing is usually more expensive than sloped roofing. There are more steps and component involved in the installation and they also require insulation to be included. Depending on the project, the amount of insulation will vary; 1” is needed between an old roof and a new one, but for new construction as much as 5” is required to meet energy code requirements. Insulation may save you money in the long term, but up front, it makes flat roofing more expensive.

Sloped roofs typically last longer than flat roofs because of the sheer assortment of materials that can be used. Wood shingles, concrete, tiles and composition or dimensional shingles all last longer than the materials typically used for flat roofing systems. The weather also takes a greater toll on a flat roof because without the slope to direct water and ice away from the roof, it can build up and cause damage.

Despite the few advantages of sloped roofing, the reality is that commercial buildings are large and would require several slopes, so flat roofing is more efficient. Working on a flat roof is also much safer. Flat roofs also provide perfect spacing and layout for solar panels because they can lay out flat and easily catch the sun rays. Angled solar panels on a sloped roof miss out on the sun at certain times of the day. Flat roofing has one final advantage in that they allow for gardens and recreational space. To keep your current workforce happy and attract new interest, an environmentally-friendly building is the way to go.

Sloped roofing does have its advantages, and when it comes to residential housing, the sloped appearance fits well into a neighborhood setting. When it comes to commercial buildings, however, the need for space, efficiency, accessibility, and maintenance all favor a flat roof. When you can add on the green garden, there really is no other option.

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