Why Are Flat Roofs Common On Commercial Buildings?
Often times, you will see commercial buildings and skyscrapers with flat rooftops. There are widespread notions that flat rooftop designs could entail more water being accumulated at rooftops or even moisture and humidity seeping towards the interior of the building. However, this is not true and most flat rooftop designs have been known for being more durable than sloped designs.
Although most people would consider flat rooftops as a more modern design, these designs have been used for centuries and architects from different cultural backgrounds have seen the different advantages that flat rooftops can give.
So where did this design come from and what are the factors that you have to consider when planning out your rooftop? How is it different from sloped roofs? First, we have to look at the origins of the design and we have incorporated it into our modern architectural designs.
Origins Of The Flat Rooftop Design
In reality, ‘flat’ rooftops are not entirely flat, they do have a low pitch of around 0.5/12 or 1/12 which means that it has an inclination of 1 inch or 0.5 inches for every 12 inches that are being traversed on the rooftop. The primary purpose of this inclination is to properly redirect water, snow, and other forms of a debris to one side of the rooftop where it will be directed towards gutters and eventually to the appropriate drainage systems where they will be disposed of.
The earliest designs of flat rooftops were from medieval castles that dotted the Middle East, the Mediterranean region, and in Europe. The flat design of these rooftops meant that defenders could have an easy foothold and vision of the surrounding terrain while also being a staging-ground for artillery for long-range. Weapons like long-bows, catapults, and trebuchets could be situated in these ramparts.
Most middle-eastern countries that are situated in drier regions also have flat rooftops since homeowners in these regions do not have to worry about water accumulating at the top of their roofs if precipitation is quite rare. Moreover, the design of these rooftops meant that it could be utilized for other activities such as hanging clothes, drying food, and also serving as a look-out for town watches.
Materials Used For Flat Rooftop Designs
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)
This material is made out of the design derived from EPDM which incorporates a rubber roof. This strong synthetic material can easily protect your roof from penetrative heat and can hold its own when it comes to the installation of heavy equipment.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
If you’re looking for a good gutter and drainage system, then PVC is the right material for a good roofing system. This material can easily hold a 350-pounds of force for every inch of the roof.
Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM)
Aside from being one of the most affordable materials in the market, EPDM provides a good amount of insulation for rooftops. The only downside for this material is that is it very susceptible to heavy materials and weathering. TPO might be a bit more expensive, but having to replace your rooftop’s materials and even repairing your rooftop can lead to more expenses.
Asphalt is commonly used in building infrastructure, but there is also a specially-designed asphalt for flat rooftops that gives proper insulation, drainage, and can even last decades without breaking and cracking. This material is usually used for luxurious hotels, bars, and penthouses.
These types of materials are often used for more industrial buildings such as warehouses. Having a relatively cheap price coupled with a good amount of durability means that this will last building owners 30-50 years. The easy repair costs also mean that it can be easily replaced should it wear out.
Compared to sloped roofs, flat rooftops can give the homeowner a multitude of other designs that they can choose from. Moreover, flat rooftops can leave room for more forms of development for equipment and furniture. As time goes by, more luxurious homes would prefer to have flat tops so it can be designed into sky gardens, bars, and penthouses.
Overall, there are different advantages that you can get from incorporating flat rooftops. Aside from being cost-efficient and being durable, these types of roofs can be utilized for other purposes such as being an operating floor for HVAC equipment and other forms of ventilation.
If you are still on the fence on whether you should incorporate a flat rooftop design to your building or sloped design, it is still the best option to seek the help of a professional roofing contractor to give you some helpful advice for your roofing El Paso TX.