Are Flat Roofs Really the Worst Type of Roof? 

roofer repairing the roof of a home
When it comes to choosing the right roof, flat roofs often get a bad rap. But are they truly the worst type of roof on the market? In this article, we’ll explore the common misconceptions about flat roofs and shed light on their often-overlooked advantages, all so that you can be sure you know which roof is best for you.

The Misconception: Flat Roofs Are Prone to Leaks

One of the most persistent myths about flat roofs is their supposed propensity for leaks. While it’s true that flat roofs can be more susceptible to water infiltration if not properly installed or maintained, any roof can develop leaks if not taken care of. As long as they’re installed with care and looked after well, flat roofs are no more vulnerable to leaks than any other roofing system. That’s especially true when you install drainage tools such as those listed below:
  • Gutters collect water as it flows off the edge of your roof and direct it away from the building’s foundation, keeping your home or business safe without putting too much of a burden on your wallet.

  • Scuppers are large openings along the side of your roof which allow water to flow off the edge of the building, often into a downspout ready to collect the water and direct it away from your home. These essentially accomplish the same goal as gutters, but they complement a different set of aesthetics.

  • Interior drains essentially work like a shower drain, siphoning water down into a set of pipes inside your home or business which direct it away from the building’s foundations. This system sports a low risk of water or weather damage but carries with it a substantially higher price tag, as well as a major risk of clogging without a proper strainer.
In addition to these tools, you can apply waterproof sealants to your roof to prevent any remaining water from leaking into your home. Granted, a lot can go wrong with this process – most notably, if your roof is dirty when you apply the coating, you’ll trap moisture underneath, causing rot and mold to grow across your roof and down into your home. Because of that, it’s often a smart idea to hire professional help to apply these sealants, allowing you to keep your roof safe without risking and unwanted contamination.

The Misconception: Flat Roofs Lack Durability

Beyond that, many people believe that flat roofs are less durable compared to their sloped counterparts. However, while it’s true that flat roofs may have a shorter lifespan if not properly maintained, you can keep your flat roof alive and well for decades on end if you give it the care it needs. The key to this is common-sense upkeep. By clearing debris, scheduling regular inspections, protecting against UV radiation, and addressing water drainage issues like we discussed before, you can maintain your roof for up to twenty years.

Plus, keep in mind that flat roofs can actually be quite robust when designed and constructed right. Many commercial buildings opt for flat roofs precisely because they can support heavy equipment like HVAC units and solar panels. Because of that strength, a well-installed flat roof can serve you for decades.

The Misconception: Flat Roofs Lack Aesthetic Appeal

Some home and business owners may also shy away from flat roofs due to concerns about aesthetics. Sloped roofs are often seen as more visually appealing, but this really is a matter of taste – if anything, a flat roof adds a degree of uniqueness and character to your building, allowing it to stand out while reflecting what makes you, your family, or your business special.

Flat roofs also offer a variety of distinctive design opportunities. For one, they provide a sleek and modern appearance that can enhance the overall look of contemporary structures. Plus, they can be used as additional outdoor living spaces, rooftop gardens, or even for solar panel installations, adding both functionality and aesthetics. But even if these options are out of your budget range, a well-designed flat roof can accompany any type of building, highlighting its best features while mirroring your personal taste. Check out some great options for creating not only an increased aesthetic for your flat roof, but more usable living space!

The Misconception: Flat Roofs Are High Maintenance

Another misconception is that flat roofs require excessive maintenance. While it’s true that regular upkeep is essential for all types of roofs, flat roofs don’t necessarily demand more maintenance than sloped ones. In fact, they can be easier to access and inspect, making maintenance more straightforward.

Plus, keep in mind that advancements in flat roof materials and technology have made it easier than ever to maintain flat roofs. With the right coating and drainage system, flat roofs can resist UV and water damage, reducing the need for frequent repairs. Because of that, when properly cared for, a flat roof can survive and thrive for years on end without you constantly having to tend to it.

The Benefits of Flat Roofs

After all that, you may still be wondering, “What can a flat roof do for me?” Flat roofs have a wide variety of advantages which set them apart from their sloped counterparts, adding character to your home or business while making them a practical addition to keep you comfortable and safe. These include:
  • Versatility: Flat roofs are incredibly versatile, allowing for the installation of solar panels, rooftop gardens, and outdoor living spaces. This flexibility gives you unique control over your home or business, allowing you to mold it into what you always dreamed it would be.
  • Energy Efficiency: They can offer excellent insulation, helping to regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy consumption. Plus, cool roof options can be incorporated to compound this effect, keeping everyone under your roof cool and comfortable.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Flat roofs are often more cost-effective to install and maintain compared to sloped roofs. In fact, you can install a flat roof over a 900-square-foot area for $2,000 less than you could for a sloped roof covering the same building. Trust us, the savings are well-worth it.
  • Accessibility: Flat roofs provide easier access for maintenance and repairs, saving you effort while extending the lifespan of your roofing system.
  • Contemporary Aesthetics: Flat roofs can lend a smooth, modern look to your property, enhancing its overall appeal and allowing you to live or work in style.
Because of that, flat roofs are far from being the worst type of roof. While they can have their challenges if not properly cared for, common-sense installation and maintenance can make flat roofs just as reliable, durable, and aesthetically pleasing as sloped roofs, all while offering unique design opportunities and even contributing to energy efficiency and cost savings. So, if you’re considering a flat roof for your next project, don’t be swayed by the misconceptions – embrace the value they could add to your home or business.
Looking for a residential or commercial flat roof contractor near you? For over 108 years, Baker Roofing has been the trusted name in roofing all throughout the Southeast. Contact our team today to talk through your options and take the next step toward the roof you deserve.