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Why are Commercial Roofs Flat and Residential Roofs Peaked?

Brian Elder Roofing

Have you ever wondered why most commercial buildings have flat roofs and residential homes typically have peaked roofs? Is one better than the other? We are going to break down the pros and cons of both peaked and flat roofs to find out just how much the type of roof used matters for new roof construction. 

Peaked Roof Pros 

There are plenty of reasons homeowners choose a peaked roof, especially considering peaked roofs are more common than flat roofs. A few of the pros you can expect from a peaked roof include: 


  • Longerlifespan — On average an asphalt or slate shingled peaked roof has a lifespan from 20 to 50 years, depending on what roof shingles, roofing supplies, and roofing materials being used. 
  • Less Roof Maintenance — Peaked roofs are designed to let snow and rain slide right off. The peak reduces weather related roof maintenance issues, as this design can handle wind or storms better than a flat roof.  

Peaked Roof Cons 

One of the only cons to a peaked roof compared to a flat roof, is the initial roofing installation cost. Typically, a peaked roof costs more to install because it will take longer and requires more material than a flat roof. Also, while you will rarely require a roof replacement with a peaked roof you do need to have a roof inspection annually to check the gutters and drainage system. This will ensure there is no roof damage or roof leaking. 


Flat Roof Pros 

If you are not sure whether a flat or a peaked roof is the right choice for your building, it is important to consider the pros of a flat roof.  


  • Lower Initial Cost— A flat roof is less expensive to install on a new building than a peaked roof. This is because it requires fewer roofing materials and is structurally simpler than a peaked roof. That means flat roofs can also be installed quicker, which is part of what makes them appealing for commercial buildings.  
  • Better Use of Space— There is a bit of controversy over whether a peaked roof or a flat roof provides a building with more space. In a peaked roof it gives space for a triangular attic. However, a flat roof does offer more usable space for an entire building. Since the entire top floor of a flat-roofed building can be the same size and shape of the lower floors. Therefore, this makes flat roofs a desirable choice for commercial use since you can fit in more offices and storage space. 

Flat Roof Con: 

A flat roof, on average, will last about 10 years. That is much less than the 20-year lifespan of a peaked roof. This also means you will be spending more on roofing maintenance over the years if you are planning to keep the building long-term. Rain and snow also tend to build up on a flat roof, which often causes leaks as the water sits there for some time. For this reason, flat roofs tend to cost more overall than peaked roofs.  


At Brian Elder Roofing we can help you decide which roof will best meet your needs. We specialize in commercial and residential roofing services. When you are looking for a residential roofing contractor or a commercial roofing contractor, we can help you. Whether you need roofing maintenance, roof installation, roofing inspections, or roof repairs we have you covered. We have over a decade of experience and our roofers are licensed, bonded and insured. Contact us today for all your roofing needs. 

commercial, residential