flat roof

What is Flat Roof?

What is flat roof? A flat roof is a roof which is almost level in contrast to the many types of sloped roofs.

The slope of a roof, which is properly known as its pitch, are only up to approximately 10° for flat roofs. A flat roof gives the house a rather ancient look if done right, because it’s form was used long before humans realized the benefit of sloped roofs. Flat roofs are characteristic of the Egyptian, Persian, and Arabian styles of architecture. Flat roofs, or “low-slope” roofs, are also commonly found on commercial buildings throughout the world.

It’s quite perfect if you want to maximize the use of your house, because a flat roof allows us to use it as a living space, so it’s also called a “living roof”. A flat roof is mostly used in arid climates. In warmer climates, where there is less rainfall and freezing is unlikely to occur, many flat roofs are simply built of masonry or concrete and this is good at keeping out the heat of the sun and cheap and easy to build where timber is not readily available. In areas where the roof could become saturated by rain and leak, or where water soaked into the brickwork could freeze to ice and thus lead to ‘blowing’ (breaking up of the mortar/brickwork/concrete by the expansion of ice as it forms) these roofs are not suitable.

 

Construction of Flat Roof
Despite being only flat, flat roof construction is still something to be done carefully. Any sheet of material used to cover a flat or low-pitched roof is usually known as a membrane and the primary purpose of these membranes is to waterproof the roof area. Materials that cover flat roofs typically allow the water to run off from a slight inclination or camber into a gutter system. Water from some flat roofs such as on garden sheds sometimes flows freely off the edge of a roof, though gutter systems are of advantage in keeping both walls and foundations dry. Gutters on smaller roofs often lead water directly onto the ground, or better, into a specially made soakaway. Gutters on larger roofs usually lead water into the rainwater drainage system of any built up area. Occasionally, however, flat roofs are designed to collect water in a pool, usually for aesthetic purposes, or for rainwater buffering.

Traditionally most flat roofs in the western world make use of tar or asphalt more usually felt paper applied over roof decking to keep a building watertight. The felt paper is in turn covered with a flood coat of bitumen (asphalt or tar) and then gravel to keep the sun’s heat, UV rays and weather off it and helps protect it from cracking or blistering and degradation. A flooded coat of bitumen is applied over the felts and gravel is embedded in the hot bitumen.

 

Benefits of Flat Roof
A flat roof is the most cost-efficient roof shape as all room space can be used fully (below and above the roof). Having a smaller surface area, flat roofs require less material and are usually stronger than pitched roofs. This style roof also provides ample space for solar panels or outdoor recreational use such as roof gardens. Applying a tough waterproofing membrane forms the ideal substrate for green roof planting schemes.

Where gable roofs are uncommon or space is limited, flat roofs may be used as living spaces, with sheltered kitchens, bathrooms, living and sleeping areas. In third world countries, such roof tops are commonly used as areas to dry laundry, for storage, and even as a place to raise livestock. Other uses include pigeon coops, helipads, sports areas (such as tennis courts), and restaurants outdoor seating.

If you decide to pick a flat roof for your home, or if you just want to learn more about it, you can see the types of flat roof coverings.

 

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