Interested in converting your existing flat roof into a pitched roof? If so, you probably know the possibilities pitched roofs offer, such as increasing storage space, curb appeal, and in some cases your living space. However, did you know a pitched roof requires less maintenance on average while reducing the risk of structural issues later? Although, there are some downsides to making the leap and converting a flat roof. For instance, pitched roofs can still leak, and pose issues. The largest setback many encounters is the overall cost.
To help you take a closer look into considering if the switch is right for you, we will go over the basics so you can decide what’s best for you.
Flat Roofs, Bad Reputation
Although flat roofs are commonly used on commercial structures, they typically have a poor reputation within the residential building business. A stroll around a flat roof enriched area will reveal this phenomenon clearly. Did you know there are insurance company’s that simply refuse to cover flat roofs? But, why?
They require consistent maintenance, replacing roofing materials, and the cost of installation. Over time, gravity results in a sagging structure because flat roofs have a single (slight) pitch. Meanwhile, repairs or installations are often used low-quality material. Even professionals could lack experience, leading to vulnerabilities, including undersized structural members and sections where the roof planes connection. Furthermore, residential properties do not typically use the higher graded roofing materials used by large commercial structures.
Methods of Roof Conversion
Depending on the situation, the flat roof can be removed or left while a pitched roof is built above it. Leaving the flat room installed lowers costs, but it adds additional weight to the structure that it may not be designed to handle. Removing the old flat roof costs more, but creates options for extra space, higher ceilings, etc. Pitched roofs can be designed and built using traditional rafter framing or engineered wood trusses. Finally, the decision to convert has to gain approval from a certified building professional or engineer.
Reasons to Consider Converting a Roof?
Below are common reasons why property owners decide to convert:
Maintenance: Original construction design was low-quality and/or improper causing constant leaks. While a single leak may not be enough to convert, experiencing multiple leaks in a short period could be.
Expense: Old flat roofs with significant structural problems could result in repetitive repairs and possibly a full renovation. In these situations, the repair expense can be within a range of installing a pitched roof.
Increased Lifespan: Flat roofs should have similar lifespans, but due to improper installation being common, and improved material quality, pitched roofs tend to last longer. Additionally, homeowners should compare overall high-quality durability between shingles and flat roof options, torch down, tar and gravel, and others.
Improved Ventilation and Insulation: Because of the limited space a flat roof offers, using insulation with high R-values are difficult, but not with pitched roofs. Also, a flat roof generally is not ventilated (and should not be in most cases), whereas a pitched roof can benefit from ventilation.
Additional Space: Sometimes that additional storage or living space is important. Many factors determine how much space is added, from slopes, house size, and structure. Others aim for visual appeal with raising the ceiling height.
Curb Appeal: The final choice here depends on the taste of homeowners. Modern home designs have utilized flat roofs for many homes for centuries, but most prefer the look, low maintenance and overall space from a pitched roof.
Selling: When selling a property, the roof could become the difference between a fast sale or sit on the market. Pitched roofs have become the favored modern style, while some still prefer the older flat roof look.
Reasons Not to Convert?
Pitched roofs, just like flat roofs will eventually leak from failing flashing, materials or metal pieces that cover joints. In other cases, roofing materials wear out over time or could have poor installation, repairs or low-quality design. Other elements may wear down or cause issues, such as the walls, a chimney, ventilation piping, etc.)
Frequently, property owners learn their issues are caused simply from improperly installed or low-quality materials, while the overall structure and roof design remain solid.
To determine if converting is needed, have your roof diagnosed by a professional. Simply upgrading the roofing to high-quality materials could provide the same lifespan of a pitched roof. Contact a locally licensed roofing pro today to assist in making the correct approach for your flat roof.