Flat Roof vs Pitched Roof: Which is better?

Whether you’re building a home from scratch, or replacing your roof with a brand new design – the first you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of both flat roof and pitched roofs. Both your personal requirements and the needs of your property will sway your decision either way, so it’s vital to do your research first.

Flat Roof vs Pitched Roof

Flat Roof vs Pitched Roof

In this handy article, we hope to answer the question; is a flat roof better than a pitched roof?

Pros and cons of a flat roof

Pros:

  • The compact design of a flat roof means they are a suitable roofing solution for garages and extensions, which often don’t demand the same features from a roof as other areas of the home. However, flat roofs can also be a viable option for domestic homes and commercial premises – it all depends on what you’re personally looking for.  
  • Though they don’t boast the same degree of slope as a pitched roof, flat roofs are still designed with a slight slope that enables rainwater to drain away.
  • If you need to save the pennies, then a flat roof is often a more affordable option. It generally demands fewer construction and labour costs than its pitched alternative, and as an added bonus, can usually be completed within a much shorter timeframe.

Cons:

  • One downside of flat roofs is that they are generally thought to have a shorter lifespan than pitched, and may require more maintenance. However, in recent years the development of new, sturdier materials, such as EPDM, hot rubber and 3 layer high performance elastomeric felt systems, when full bonded in the traditional, professional manner by using hot bitumen, means that the lifespan of flat roofs can be extended to over 30 years. This of course depends on the quality of materials and workmanship. The original flat roof membrane covering asphalt is a much heavier material and should only be laid onto a concrete base or extremely strong purpose-made timber framed roof with additional steep support to prevent movement. A properly laid asphalt roof with solar protection should have a life expectancy of well over 40 years. 
  • If you’re planning a dream loft, then this will simply not be possible with a flat roof.

Pros and cons of a pitched roof

Pros:

  • The longevity of a pitched roof is usually superior to that of a flat roof, leading many homeowners to choose it for their properties. The materials used are generally more weather resistant and durable, though with more robust materials being introduced into the flat roofing market, this gap is starting to close.
  • Rainwater can drain away easily from a pitched roof, thanks to its highly sloped angle, which prevents pooling.
  • Maximising the space in your home via a loft conversion is only possible if you have a loft to begin with. The design of pitched roofs rewards the homeowner with plenty of usable space to transform with flexibility into a bedroom, hobby room, study, or whatever you wish.
  • The traditional, elegant look of a pitched roof is instantly recognisable across the world, so if you’re aiming for a classic look that will fit it in with most neighbourhoods, then a pitched roof is the route to take.

Cons:

  • Pitched roofs cost more than a flat roof, and also take longer to install. This is because it is a more complex design than a flat roof that requires increased labour and additional materials. However, in exchange for the added expense you will receive a roof that boasts a longer lifespan, thoroughly effective water drainage and a more traditional appearance.