Any typical mall, warehouse, apartment building or school usually features a flat roof. This roof type is easier to install over large surfaces and is the most common choice for commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. But is a flat roof the right choice for your Northern Virginia home?
To help you decide whether to choose a flat roof for your home, Vertex Roofing would like to offer the following helpful information:
Why are flat roofs less common for houses?
Also known as low slope roofs, flat roofs are less common in North American residential construction because the low slope of a flat roof has an increased tendency to collect water rather than shed, like its more steeply pitched an alternative. This may make it less ideal for rainy or snowy climates.
However, if you are thinking of choosing a flat roof for your Northern Virginia home, keep in mind, all flat roofs have a slope of between five and 15 degrees to allow water to flow into drain systems (such as eaves, drainage holes or outlets).
Benefits – Why choose a flat roof?
It looks good
Flat roofs are an attractive aesthetic choice that gives homes a unique form. If you love the landscape or cityscape around your home, a flat roof can help complement that without obscuring the view.
Flat roof space is usable space
Unlike a steeply pitched roof, most of the square footage of a flat roof is available for use. This offers the option to add a unique application such as a rooftop patio, garden or green roof. Solar panels also are popular among homeowners and are much easier to install – and hide from view – on a flat roof.
Any of these applications will require certain design considerations (such as adding guardrails and other safety protections and/or using more heavy duty materials to handle roof traffic and weight). Special permits may be required from the local building authority, but these efforts may result in an entirely new feature to enjoy on your home.
It performs and protects well
Flat roofs are a cost-effective option for homes – thanks to generations of use in commercial flat roof construction, modern materials and application techniques – as viable, protective and long-lasting alternatives to pitched roof counterparts.
By choosing the proper materials, hiring an experienced professional like Vertex Roofing to build and install the flat roof, and committing to regular inspection and maintenance, Northern Virginia homeowners may count on many years of reliable performance when selecting a flat roof solution.
How to make a flat roof last
It is incumbent upon the owner of a flat roof to regularly inspect and maintain the roof. This will make a significant difference in maintaining its integrity and longevity. A basic inspection is suggested twice a year and after any major rain storms.
Flat Roof inspection checklist:
- In normal circumstances, wait until 48 hours after a rainfall to clean and inspect the roof. Any water should have evaporated by this time. If it hasn’t, that’s a sign of a problem with roof drain parts or the drainage system.
- To help see where any water might be collecting, clean any debris from the flat roof surface, including sweeping or gathering leaves or branches and clearing any loose debris or gravel that may block drainage holes.
- Inspect flashings around the chimney and skylights. If the flashing material is cracked or rusty, you will want to have it repaired as soon as possible.
- Inspect the integrity of the top layer of protection (often gravel or the chipped mineral mixture) to ensure it hasn’t dispersed and left a bald patch. This is key to protecting the membrane underneath while also providing sun and fire protection. On a built-up roof, when gravel becomes sparse, the asphalt layer underneath can dry and crack under the sun. This could lead to “alligatoring,” which may eventually cause the layer to leak and fail.
- Check for any damage, puncturing, rips or wrinkling of the membranes. This might be difficult to see if a layer of chipped material or gravel is on top. Regardless of your flat roof design, take time to thoroughly check the surface for flaws.
- Any damage should be repaired immediately to return watertight protection to the roof and prevent further deterioration.
- If the top layer of gravel needs to be replaced or replenished, consult a roofing professional for proper application over the surface of the roofing material.
After learning all about flat roofs for residential homes, the advantages and how to maintain a flat roof, if you have decided that you are ready to have a flat roof installed on your Northern Virginia home, Vertex Roofing is the contractor you should hire to perform this important job.
Call us today to set up an appointment for your free roof inspection and let our roofing expert help you decide if a flat roof is a good choice for your home and help you choose just the right flat roof material.
Manassas: (703) 595-2224
Glen Allen: (804) 298-7090