Pitched vs flat roofs—which should you build?

Coronavirus update

Scenario Architecture is open for business and running at full capacity.

  • Work is progressing safely on all existing projects and additionally, we are in a position to take on a limited number of new projects.
  • By working remotely we are able to coordinate and deliver all required information, effectively run virtual design meetings and even carry out site inspections.
  • We encourage clients to progress towards submission of planning applications to avoid the backlogs which are building up in local councils.
  • With every crisis comes an opportunity, contractors are keen to secure new projects and it is probably the best time in years to tender building works and achieve competitive prices.
  • We ourselves have decided to proceed with our pre-corona plans to move a few doors down to a larger and newly designed space where we can continue to grow sustainably.

Modernism is often defined by the architectural asymmetrical compositions with the use of geometric forms, often with flat roofs and an emphasis on horizontal lines. These modernist styles and advances in technology provided architects with the opportunity to explore new shapes to buildings. Flat roofs grew with popularity during the 20th century but there were issues with these and that caused sceptics to stick with pitched roofs.

In the UK, there are two main types of roofing options; flat and pitched roofs. So, before you make your final decision it’s extremely beneficial to know differences, advantages and limitations between these two roof designs.

How do you decide which style of roof is going to be best for you? Below, we are going to take a look at the pros and cons associated with both options to help you come to the best decision. After all, there is no right or wrong answer; it is all about figuring out what is going to be right for your build.

Flat roofs

1. What are the benefits of choosing a flat roof?

Let’s begin by taking a look at the different reasons why flat roofs have grown in popularity again. There is no denying that this type of roof has not always had a good reputation, however, perception has started to change because flat roofs have technology and ease of maintenance have extended the life of flat roofs far more than previously available. This is why we have started to see these roofs appear more in contemporary design.

2. What are the drawbacks of choosing a flat roof?

Of course, there are always drawbacks with any solution, and there are a number to consider when it comes to flat roofs. Firstly, these roofs do not have as long of a lifespan when compared with pitched roofs. The use of synthetic rubber EPDM has extended the lifespan of a flat roof from around 20 to 30 years. However, this is still a lot lower when compared with a pitched roof, which will probably give you an extra 20 years.

Pitched roofs

3. What are the benefits of choosing a pitched roof?

Pitched roofs have long been the most popular choice, and this is no coincidence. The main reason why people go down this route is because of the longevity associated with pitched roofs. After all, when you are investing such a large sum of money into something, you want it to last for as long as possible. Roof replacements aren’t the sort of things that you want to be spending your money on.

4. What are the drawbacks of choosing a pitched roof?

There is no denying that the main disadvantage of this roof style is the cost associated with it. Pitched roofs require a longer installation time. Because of this, you will be spending more in terms of contractor fees and require more materials. The construction bill is also pushed higher because of the skill that is needed too.

To summarise, there is plenty that needs to be considered when it comes to determining whether or not you should opt for a flat roof or a pitched roof for your building. A pitched roof has a higher initial construction cost but lower maintenance, whereas a flat roof is simpler to install but requires more maintenance.

We would always consider both options based on the best result for your needs, and discuss this with you during the design process. If you are undertaking a house renovation, planning permission may be required to alter the existing roof.

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