Flat roofing systems have been a staple for commercial properties for a long time, but few people actually stop to think about why they’re flat in the first place. Flat roofs are really less about design and aesthetics and more about practicality. The definition of “flat” is a misnomer, as well.
In this post, Northern Pacific Roofing explains why most commercial roofs are flat.
Flat Roofs Are Not Completely Flat
The term “flat roof” is actually inaccurate, as there’s no such thing as a completely flat roof. The more appropriate and rarely used term for these roofs is low-slope. As their name suggests, they have a slight slope to ensure proper drainage. In technical terms, a flat roof should have at least a 1% slope, which is about a fall of an eighth of an inch per foot. Most American commercial properties, however, use a 2% slope (a fall of a fourth of an inch per foot).
Flat Roofs and Commercial Properties
Flat roofs are the quintessential commercial roofing system because they’re more cost-effective to manufacture and install, unlike pitched roofs. Steeper roofs are relatively easy on small residential properties, but become increasingly difficult and impractical the larger the building gets. The roof peak would need to be very tall or feature multiple peaks and valleys, and neither of these options are very visually appealing.
Low-slope roofs are also more accommodating to businesses, as they can easily store AC or heating units on the roof itself. This saves valuable space that the unit may consume within the store, and frees up parking spaces as well.
Northern Pacific Roofing is a local roofing contractor with over 20 years of experience serving home and business owners alike. We will help you pick the most appropriate roofing material for your new commercial flat roof. Call us today at (888) 919-8539 to learn more about our services. We are a commercial roofing expert in San Francisco, San Rafael, and Petaluma, CA.