The Flat Roof Revolution

The Flat Roof Revolution

In older North American neighbourhoods flat roofing is almost exclusively limited to commercial properties. This trend is rapidly changing in new construction.

If you take a look around major North American cities, one of the sharpest architectural disparities you’re likely to notice is the difference between residential and commercial roofing. Even in older neighbourhoods, commercial properties are much more likely to feature flat roofs, while residential properties are almost all designed to be protected partially or wholly by pitched roofs.

In recent years, however, there has been a sea change in urban design, with flat roof designs becoming increasingly popular in build-up urban areas on residential and commercial properties alike.

Unsurprisingly, many homeowners are curious about this development. What is the difference between flat and pitched roofs for residential buildings, and do flat roofs actually offer better value?

The Evolution of the Flat Roof

Flat roofs have been a feature of human architecture for thousands of years, but in colder climates, pitched roofs have offered distinct benefits: not only do they protect the house from rain and snow, but attic spaces also facilitate storage and temperature control.

Or at least, they did. Over the past century, architects and designers have created a range of new roofing materials that have made flat roofs more durable, efficient, and better suited to northern climates. First applied to high-rise buildings in big cities, these techniques slowly became part of residential roofing as well.

For example, a modern roofing company can use a range of different materials to install a flat roof, from roofing membranes to tar and gravel, to rubber and plastic sealants guaranteed to keep moisture out. This means that flat roofs offer the same degree of protection while expanding the range of architectural styles available to homeowners.

The Benefits of a Flat Roof

In one sense, the flat roof revolution is the product of changing tastes: flat roofs give houses a more modern profile and are well-suited to more avant-garde sorts of design. But this shift is also driven by the fact that there are a number of concrete benefits to having a flat roof. Ask for advice from any Pickering roofing company and they will tell you that flat roofs are:

  • More energy efficient
  • Greener and more environmentally sustainable
  • Easier to maintain
  • Cheaper to install
  • Can be made using a range of different materials

Perhaps best of all, flat roofs can be adapted to a number of uses beyond just keeping your house dry. A well-designed flat roof can accommodate a roof deck or rooftop garden, meaning that in the summer months, your home functionally has more room.

Unsurprisingly, with living space at a premium in places like the Greater Toronto Area, homeowners who are redesigning the houses they live in find the idea of a roof that can double as a patio or vegetable garden appealing.

As a style of roofing that is both visually striking and practical, flat roofing has become one of the hottest trends in home renovation. While flat roofs might not be for everyone, if you want a home that is greener, less expensive, and offers more efficient use of space, a flat roof might be for you.