Although not as popular as a sloped roof structure, flat roofs offer a certain aesthetic that some homeowners adore. Popular throughout Europe, flat roofs didn’t gain mainstream appeal until the 1950s in the United States. Today, flat roofs are used on modular style modern homes and create a sleek design.
There are many advantages to having a flat roof aside from curb appeal, though. They are easier to service, repair, and maintain because of easy access. They may even provide for additional living space if proper safety accessories have been installed, such as handrails.
Of course, flat roofs aren’t completely flat – that would lead to pooling water and poor drainage during the rainy season. As snow melts, the water would have nowhere to go, causing strain on the structure itself. Flat roofing material – such as an EPDM roofing membrane – won’t last as long as traditional roofing materials, either.
Do you currently have a pitched roof and considering converting to a flat roof as part of a whole-home makeover. There are several things to consider during a roofing conversion, even if it’s changing an existing flat roof to a pitched roof. In either case, you’ll probably need to consult with a structural engineer to make sure the home itself can handle the change.
There are a few ways to dealing with a pitched roof if you choose to convert to a flat roof. You can tear off the existing roof, remove the trusses, and strengthen the joists. This has to happen whether you’re just removing the pitched roof or adding another floor with a flat roof.
The home was built to certain specifications – any major changes to the house that creates more weight need to be dealt with. Even adding a second-floor bathtub needs to be investigated to make sure the structure can handle the weight of the water.
The same is true if you leave the existing roof and build a flat roof over the top. The framing, sheathing, siding, and even installation will add up to a lot more weight than originally permitted for. Changing the design of your home is a huge undertaking and you want to make sure you do it right.
If not, you could be facing major issues down the road. A flat roof could really improve the curb appeal, but you don’t want to jeopardize your home to do it. Make sure to use a high-quality contractor that will get the proper permitting. You may not be able to make the change at all without major construction.
Have questions about changing a pitched roof to a flat roof, or even flat to pitched? Contact Warner Roofing and Construction. Since 1992, we’ve been helping Clark County make decisions about their roofing systems, both pitched and flat. We’re familiar with all city and county codes and understand what works best in our four-season climate.