Pros and Cons of Converting a Flat Roof to a Pitched Roof

Pros and Cons of Converting a Flat Roof to a Pitched Roof

We’ve talked a lot about flat roofs and how they are different from pitched roofs. Both the way flat roofs are designed, and also the materials and processes that are used to build them are different from sloped roofs.

If you live in a building or home or own a commercial building that was designed with a flat roof, the chances are good that it was designed that way on purpose.

However, in construction anything is possible! There may be compelling reasons to change the pitch of your roof, even if your reason is just that you like the look of a pitched roof better.

The Process of Changing the Pitch of Your Roof

If you own a building with a flat roof, the first thing your contractor will do is consult a structural engineer to make sure your structure can handle the conversion.

Pitched roofs are usually much heavier than flat roofs, so an easy replacement may not always be possible.

If it is determined that your building can support a pitched roof, the next step will be the removal of all of your roofing materials and the main roofing structure.

Pitched roofs require more manpower and time to install, especially when making a major structural conversion. A pitched roof will require new roof trusses and supports. Any damaged wood will need to be removed and replaced.

A contractor may choose to construct new trusses on the spot or have them delivered pre-assembled once he has taken measurements.

Part of the process involved in changing the pitch of your roof will be calculating the cost of all necessary materials. You will choose your new roofing material as well, as this will be completely different from the materials used to cover a flat roof.

Pros and Cons: Flat Roof and Pitched Roof

There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of roof:

Cost

Most people want to know first how much each type of roof will cost. There is no question that a flat roof is cheaper to install. A pitched roof is more expensive. It is a significant renovation if you are converting from flat to pitched.

However, flat roofs require much more aggressive and consistent maintenance than a pitched roof. Flat roofs also don’t last as long.

Depending on the climate, your flat roof will only last between 15 and 30 years if well-maintained. If you used long-lasting materials on your pitched roof, you could expect it to last much longer.

When making this decision, keep in mind both your short-term costs and long-term costs.

Maintenance  

As mentioned above, the maintenance needed for each type of roof can differ quite a bit.

Flat roofs are more susceptible to damage if not repaired right away. Any ponding, debris or wind damage must be addressed as soon as possible, or you’re looking at significant structural damage.

Of course, a pitched roof needs maintenance as well. However, since flat roofs tend to become damaged more easily, you need to keep an eye on your flat roof more regularly.

Style

Style can be such a personal decision. However, sometimes there are legitimate reasons either to change your roof’s style or to keep it as is.

If you own a modern home that was designed with a flat roof, you should keep in mind whether you are damaging its resale value if you change the style of the house by adding a sloped roof.

In that case, it might be in your best interest to keep your flat roof.

The same goes for a townhouse or apartment building that was designed with a rooftop balcony. Maybe you are tired of the maintenance associated with a flat roof, but consider the valuable rooftop real estate you may lose if you convert.

However, in many cases, the style of your building can be enhanced by adding a pitched roof.

Pitched roofs shed water much more easily, and they last much longer. They also add an essential structural presence to your building.

If you own a warehouse you want to turn into a commercial retail space, for instance, or a church building, you may want to consider adding a pitched roof as a way to make the building more inviting or grander.

Pitched roofs are an excellent way to add square footage on the inside of your building as well.

Bringing it Home

There are many advantages and disadvantages to both flat roofs and pitched roofs. If you have any questions regarding converting from flat to pitched, please contact us today.

We’d love to help you get the look and functionality you want from your home or building!

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