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Why Do Commercial Buildings Typically Have Flat Roofs?


If you drive through a typical suburban neighborhood, you'll notice that most houses have similar-looking pitched roofs. When you head to a more industrial part of town, though, it's clear that the roofs on commercial buildings are different. What's the reason for this major difference, though? To better understand the different roles of roofs, it's important to understand the benefits of flat roofs for commercial buildings.

Equipment Installation

Commercial buildings require a lot of mechanical equipment compared to other types of buildings. Rather than take extra space on the ground to store this equipment, most commercial facilities take advantage of their flat roofs to install things like chillers, material handling equipment, and other important items. This enables businesses to maximize their ground space for other equipment or space needed for working in. This is especially important for factories where each square footage needs to be maximized in order to get the best ROI. As long as you have the right machines to install this equipment, having it on the roof makes it much easier to maintain. Though you can install these on sloped roofs, the installation and maintenance of the equipment are easier on flat roofs.

Ease of Maintenance

Another great feature of flat roofs is that the roofs themselves are easy to maintain. If something blows on top of the roof that needs to be removed quickly, it should be relatively easy to get on the roof and remove it yourself. A flat roof makes it even easier to handle since you can typically walk around the roof without the risk of slipping off a sloped edge and falling to the ground. Therefore, if there's an issue with a flat roof, it can typically be repaired more quickly so that business operations in the facility aren't interrupted. It’s ideal to find a local company to help you maintain the roof. Roofers from Commercial Solutions, Inc., for example, can manage the maintenance of your roof. Sometimes, local companies will offer a faster response or a cheaper rate for flat roofs due to the easier maintenance.

Less Wasted Space

The space that slopped roofs create frequently goes to waste. This is typical because the space underneath a pitched roof can be difficult to use since the height of the roof space is different near the edges than it is where the tallest part of the roof is. This is especially an issue if you need people to maintain equipment or work in the space directly below the roof since ducking and crouching can be a hazard. By making the roof flat, you’ll be able to use the space directly below the roof. This extra space is sometimes desirable to make the space look more luxurious or expensive, due to the height. However, the added complexity to the roof doesn’t provide much usability. With a flat roof, though, there's no wasted space at all. You can build as tall as you want within the facility, knowing that the dimensions at the roofline will be the same throughout the facility.

Lower Cost

A major reason many commercial facilities use a flat roof is the lower cost of installation. During construction, facility designers want to limit costs without cutting corners on quality. A flat roof offers both of these advantages. A flat roof limits the amount of material that is required for construction while ensuring that long-term maintenance costs will be minimal. Pairing the cost savings for a flat roof with the ability to install necessary equipment on it, it’s an ideal choice for many business owners. The flat roof is also ideal if you want to rent out the space to other businesses as the extra space can be usable and of more worth than that of an attic-like space that comes with sloped roofs.

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Installation Critical

Although a quality installation is important for any type of roof, it is especially important for a flat roof. Since water won't immediately roll off a flat roof as it does a pitched roof, designers and installers of flat roofs need to be sure to install proper drainage systems to help keep flat roofs dry. As long as a flat roof starts strong, though, it makes a very good option for commercial facilities of all sizes.

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