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Can You Use Flat Roof Materials on Sloped Roofs?

As an axiom for roofing, and life in general, sometimes just because things can be done, it doesn’t mean they should.

Your home’s roof is an important part of your house, arguably the most important.  It protects your investment and all of your belongings inside.  Ask anyone that has had to replace roofing, belongings or structural parts of their home due to a leaky roof and they’ll tell you they would have saved a ton of time and money if only they had been proactive in taking care of their roofing issue.  As a homeowner, you remember the importance that was placed on the state the roof was in during the buying process, and that is with good reason.  

In the city, we frequently run into a question about roofing materials. Many homes in the city have traditional flat roofs, while many others have sloped roofs, and others have  a combination! Generally speaking, flat roofs are cheaper to install. The materials are less expensive, and the process is more straightforward – no ridges, valleys, or hips to deal with.

Why then could you not use flat roofing materials on a sloped roof? 

Without being too frank, flat roofing materials are designed for flat roofs, not sloped roofs. While flat roofing materials may seem like a great choice for a sloped roof, they are not a suitable option.

We chalk it up to “monkey see, monkey do.” Homeowners who don’t know any differently receive bad advice from a cut-rate contractor. They see flat roof membranes on roofs all over the city, why would their roof be any different – especially if it saves them money?

The main issue is that flat roofing materials are designed to be laid flat, rather than at an angle. This means that the material will not fit securely against the roof, resulting in gaps and weak joints. Furthermore, flat roofing materials are not designed to hold up against the elements, such as heavy rain or snow, which can cause leaks and other damage. Additionally, flat roofing materials are not as durable as pitched roofing materials, which are specifically designed to hold up against the elements.

Another issue with flat roofing materials is their inability to shed water. Flat roofs do not have the same slope as pitched roofs, which means that water can easily pool on the surface. This can lead to water damage, which can be costly to repair.

Finally, flat roofing materials are not as aesthetically pleasing as pitched roofing materials. Pitched roofs have a more traditional look that can add to the overall beauty of a home.

In summary, flat roofing materials are not suitable for sloped roofs. They are not designed to fit securely against a sloped roof, are not as durable against the elements, and are not as aesthetically pleasing as pitched roofing materials. If you have a sloped roof, the best option is to use pitched roofing materials.

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