Flat vs. Pitched Roof: Which Will Work Best For You?
Shingles are still America's favorite roofing material – but should they be? Should more homeowners consider flat roofing systems like EPDM and TPO?
Let's look at what professional roofers in Lehigh Valley see as the advantages of each system. We'll consider their best applications and whether you should choose a flat or pitched roof for your next project.
Advantages of Flat Roofs
One of the best things about flat roofs is that they're very quick to install. This makes them popular for large commercial buildings – they're also easy to maintain, reducing maintenance costs for business owners.
EPDM (rubber roofing) and TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) are often recommended by Lehigh Valley roofers because they hold up to adverse weather conditions very well. This is a concern in Pennsylvania, where heavy rain and snowfall are common.
Speaking of weather, flat roofs are actually slightly sloped to allow water to run off. While it's recommended that you never walk on a flat roof to remove snow unless you know its snow load limit, it's easier to shovel snow off a flat roof without extensive PPE.
Advantages of Pitched Roofs
Lehigh Valley roofing contractors typically recommend pitched roofs to homeowners in conventional neighborhoods. Why?
Water runs off these roofs much more easily
Shingles are incredibly cheap to install
If you install the only flat roof in a neighborhood full of old-fashioned pitched roofs, you might find the local Neighborhood Association at your door.
The main advantage is the cost of shingles. They're easy to replace, and the cost per roofing square is very low. Of course, pitched roofs also open up other options like a standing seam metal roof or a slate roof – these roofing types last for much longer than flat roofs.
What are Flat Roofs Best For?
Roofers in Lehigh Valley will offer free advice for your project if you're considering a flat roof. Here are the most common applications.
New businesses typically ask Lehigh Valley roofing contractors for flat roof installation because:
It's quick to install
It's easy to maintain
It suits warehousing and dense, urban areas
Modern, minimalist properties often have flat roofs. This Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic is increasingly popular in rural homes.
Extensions and summerhouses often suit this type of roof. A sloped roof would impede vision from the first floor of your home.
What are Pitched Roofs Best For?
While shingles are cheap, it's worth asking your Lehigh Valley roofers about which materials last the longest for sloped roofs. A long-term investment like metal roofing is a great choice for a family home.
Suburban homes most commonly use a sloped roof. It's attractive, it blends into the neighborhood, and it gives you extra loft space!
Areas experiencing heavy rain may benefit from a sloped roof simply because it lets water run off more easily. If you're concerned about leaks, this is probably the best option.
There's no single answer – flat and sloped roofs are both used for residential and commercial properties in Pennsylvania. The top tip is to plan your project with your contractor, who will offer invaluable advice on the best style and materials.