Why commercial roofs typically flat

When you take a look at most of the roofs all over Los Angeles, including other parts of the country, you will realize one thing: most commercial roofs are flat. So the question is, why are the majority of buildings, be it hospitals, schools, factories, schools and other buildings have flat roofs? And why is it that their roofing system is not peaked or sloped just like residential houses? If your answer to this question was the price, then you only have part of the answer, while the other part remains unanswered.

Commercial roofs that are flat are considered to be cost-effective

As a matter of fact, the most important factor when it comes to the designing and construction of commercial premises is what budget you’re dealing with. Actually, all commercial buildings tend to have large (if not huge) footprints. In other terms, flat commercial roofs are considered to be cheaper when it comes to installation, as they need less materials. On the contrary, roof designs that are sloped or peaked are a more complicated and will need more investment because of the additional framing to be done.

Commercial buildings also need a good drainage system jut like residential houses do. The purpose of an excellent drainage system is to ensure that rain water is evacuated easily. Having all these factors in mind, the roof cost will definitely be high, but in most occasions, the installation of a flat roof that has a good drainage system will not be as expensive as other type of roofs.

But looking closely, not all commercial buildings have flat roofs. Viewing them at an angle, they appear to be flat, but they really have about a 2% slope. The purpose of the slope is for the water or snow that falls on the roof to slide down and to not accumulate. Otherwise, the extra weight on the roof may result in a costly damage.

Steep sloped roofs are not ideal for a majority of commercial roofs

When it comes to the part of the designing and construction of commercial building roofs, the building size matters a great deal. If you were to design a valley roof for an enormous building, the design will be in such a way that the peak would be very tall or you will need to put quite a number of valleys and peaks on the roof design. This will definitely be unrealistic on such large buildings. Apart from this, most cities in the world have different building codes, and some may regulate height limits of commercial buildings.

Commercial facilities need to effectively maximize the square footage so investing in a sloped roof would not be the best choice. It’s also not recommended from an aesthetic perspective. Imagine how Home Depot would look like with a sloped roof. It does not sound good, does it?

Room for equipment is needed in commercial roofs

Nearly all large commercial buildings need essential equipment, such as an HVAC system. To install such a big equipment outside the building or at the base floor is not acceptable by the law. One major reason as to why the law does not allow them to be installed there is because of the potential safety hazards, and also for security purposes.

Though the machinery is supposed to be located somewhere on the ground floor of the building, or in the basement, installing HVACs at the ground floor would be occupying useful space that could be used to do other things. Also, these equipment make a lot of noise which may be disturbing. In conclusion, the ideal roof for commercial buildings is the flat roof, as they allow ample space for the installation of equipment; be it an HVAC, or other machinery.

Do you need a reliable commercial roofer?

free estimate button