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Why Do Commercial Buildings Have Flat Roofs?

If you’ve ever looked at the skyline of a city or driven through a commercial area, you may have noticed that many commercial buildings have flat roofs. This might seem strange, especially if you’re used to seeing sloped roofs on residential homes. So, why do commercial buildings have flat roofs? We’re here to answer.

Why Do Commercial Buildings Have Flat Roofs?

Flat roofs are more cost-effective and efficient for large commercial buildings due to their simplicity in design and construction, which allows for easier maintenance and the ability to accommodate heavy equipment.

While this brief answer provides a general understanding, there are additional factors to consider when it comes to the reasons behind flat roofs on commercial buildings — especially if you’re an owner or manager of a commercial building. Keep reading to discover more about the practical and economic advantages of flat roofs in commercial construction.

The Benefits Of Flat Roofs For Commercial Buildings

Flat roofs offer several benefits for commercial buildings, making them a popular choice among architects and building owners. One of the main advantages is the cost-effectiveness of flat roof construction. Due to their simple design, flat roofs require fewer materials and less labor compared to sloped roofs, resulting in lower construction costs. Additionally, flat roofs provide a larger usable space on the top of the building, which can be utilized for various purposes, such as installing solar panels, creating rooftop gardens, or housing HVAC equipment.

Flat roofs also allow for easier maintenance and repair. The flat surface makes it simpler for workers to access and inspect the roof for any damage or leaks. In the event of a repair, flat roofs are easier to work on, as there is no need for special safety equipment or scaffolding, which is often required when working on sloped roofs.

How Flat Roofs Accommodate Heavy Equipment And Utilities

Commercial buildings often require the installation of heavy equipment and utilities on the roof, such as HVAC systems, solar panels, and telecommunication devices. Flat roofs provide an ideal platform for these installations, as they offer a stable and level surface. The weight of the equipment can be evenly distributed across the roof, reducing the risk of structural damage.

Moreover, flat roofs allow for the efficient organization and arrangement of the equipment, making it easier for technicians to access and maintain them. This ease of access is particularly important for regular maintenance tasks, such as cleaning air filters or inspecting solar panels, which help to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of the equipment.

The Drawbacks Of Flat Roofs And How They Are Addressed

Despite the numerous benefits of flat roofs, there are some potential drawbacks that building owners should be aware of. One of the main concerns is the risk of water ponding, which occurs when water accumulates on the roof’s surface due to insufficient drainage. Ponding water can lead to leaks, structural damage, and the growth of algae or vegetation.

To mitigate this issue, modern flat roof designs incorporate effective drainage systems, such as interior drains or scuppers, which help to channel water off the roof. Additionally, regular maintenance and inspection of the roof can help to identify and address any drainage problems before they cause significant damage.

At Exceptional Roofing, we offer a 15-year NDL warranty on our roofs that includes ponding water in the warranty.

Another potential drawback of flat roofs is their limited lifespan compared to sloped roofs. However, advancements in roofing materials and technologies have significantly improved the durability and longevity of flat roofs. The use of high-quality membranes, such as TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin), EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) can help to extend the life of a flat roof, providing reliable protection against the elements for many years.

Moving Forward With Your Commercial Building Project

Now that you understand the reasons behind flat roofs on commercial buildings and the benefits they offer, you can make an informed decision when planning your own commercial building project. Consider working with an experienced architect or roofing contractor who can help you design and construct a flat roof that meets your specific needs while ensuring proper drainage and long-lasting protection.

Contact us for your commercial roofing needs.

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