One of the things that many homeowners overlook when thinking about the construction, replacement, installation, or repair on a roof is the effects of the slope. While most residential homes retain a standard sloping structure, there are also a few homes that have started to embrace a lower sloped roofing system. Low sloped roofs or flat roofs were more commonly used for commercial properties. However, with the introduction of more and more roofing materials, roofing styles, and modern installation techniques, the use of flat roofs on home properties has been growing.
More commonly, flat or low slope roofs often have metal roofing, instead of more traditional asphalt shingles or cedar shakes. However, this doesn’t mean that flat roofs are unable to support roofing shingles.
Roofing shingles can still be installed on a low sloped roof, provided that the roof is still able to meet the minimum slope requirements for the shingles to stay in place. In order for a roofer to properly install most types of shingles on a roof, the roof should have a minimum slope of 2/12. This would be a slope angled at around 9-degrees parallel to the ground. When roofs are set too low, shingles may be attached, but this will create a tendency for a roof to pool water since rain and other debris will not be able to run down the roof.
Low sloped roofs also have specific instructions when it comes to shingle installation. Standard attachment of shingles to the roof deck can be applied as long as the roof slope is above a 4/12 measure. But when the slope is lower, a few extra measures will ensure that the roof will still be in good condition after installation. For a roof with a 3/12 slope, for example. An additional layer of asphalt saturated felt paper should be added. Another alternative would be to use another layer of an ice and water shield right below the layer of roofing shingles.
Despite these precautionary measures, most roofers would still recommend using other roofing materials in place of shingles if your roof has a low slope. This is because the roof slope is what enables water to flow down the roof and into the gutters, or at least away from the roof. When the slope is too low and water starts to stand on certain areas of your roof, this can compromise the entire structure since flooding can cause damage to the interior structure; the water will seep into the roof and the added weight can also damage the roof support.
However, many people still use low slope roofs for their homes because of the advantages that this type of roofing presents.
Advantages of Low Slope Roofs
Homes with low slope roofs have the benefit of having more space. If installed with strong materials, a flat roof will be able to support HVAC systems. Attics are also no longer needed when you have a flat roof, which means that heating and cooling systems will be more efficient in your home. Additionally, a flat roof can be easier to maintain since it is safer for roofers to move around the top of the roof. Unlike steep roofing systems where special equipment may be necessary to ensure that no roofer falls off the side of your property, flat or low slope roofs are safer and, thus, easier to clean and repair.
Another advantage that you’ll definitely notice is that flat roofs are cheaper to install. This is due to two main things: flat roofs don’t need as much material as high pitched roofing, and the structure is also much easier to construct. This means you spend less on materials and on the cost of labor as well.
Despite all of these advantages, having a low slope roof can also be disadvantageous. The main problem is that there are only a few materials that most roofers would recommend for flat roofing systems. This is mainly because of the lack of a higher pitch or slope means that the roof is unable to direct the flow of the water away from the home. This means that materials, such as metal roofs, are often recommended.
While you can still install shingles on a low sloped roof, it is best to add a bit of a slope so your roof can at least reach the minimum slope requirement of 2/12. If possible, adding a bit more slope can be many times more beneficial and can also prevent major damage to your roofing Doylestown PA in the long run.