If you are about to add on to your house or build a custom home, you face many important decisions. Among them: should your design include a flat roof or a pitched roof? There are advantages to each.
The flat option is typically easier and less expensive to install than a pitched roof. There are fewer safety issues, which can mean less labor. It also goes more quickly because there is less square footage to cover.
As you probably know, homeowners should inspect their roofs twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. If you perform the inspections yourself, you would likely prefer to walk around on a flat roof. Cleaning your roof is less daunting when it is flat. When repairs are necessary, it is easier to reseal flanges or replace shingles if you do not need to worry about falling off the roof.
There are instances where a sloped roof is best. In areas that see substantial snowfall, a steep angle allows snow to slide off the roof, rather than build up to dangerously heavy levels.
Certain architectural styles lend themselves to pitched roofs. Mountain chalets, Colonial and Victorian homes all typically include steeply angled roofs. Mid-century modern homes, ranch styles and most contemporary designs look best with low angles or level roofs.
If you plan to invest in an array of solar panels, a flat roof may be better than a pitched roof for several reasons. First, you may save on your installation bill, since working on a flat surface is safer than installing panels on a pitched roof. Second, if you follow the common practice of mounting the panels at a slight angle, you can optimize the panels’ exposure to the sun by facing them in any direction. Third, the panels are likely to be undetectable to the casual observer so there are no aesthetic considerations to take into account. Lastly, you may be able to clean and maintain the panels yourself.