(4-min read)

Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the styles of roofs we can get for our homes. When it comes time to decide which roof will best suit out commercial building, it’s not unusual to draw a blank. Though a place of business has some of the same needs as a residence, commercial building styles drastically change what roofing options are possible. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular commercial roofing options, some of the reasons why people like them, and still other reasons why some do not.


Low Sloped Roofs

You can usually see low-sloped roofs on larger structures — such as warehouses, factories, industrial plants, and even some apartment buildings. From a distance, these roofs can appear to be flat but actually contain a very slight pitch. This slight pitch allows for precipitation to efficiently run off while not adding too much additional construction to allow for a steeper pitch.

Why Folks Like Them: 

Installation for these roofs is fairly straightforward, as is maintenance. The slight pitch makes these roofs accessible and prevents water accumulation that can result in undue wear or leaks. These roofs also make the installation of additional equipment (solar panels, satellite dishes, etc.) reasonably easy.

Why Folks Don’t Like Them:

Though low-sloped roofs shed rain easily, their slope may not be enough to shed accumulated snow. The weight from unmelted snow can cause damage and stress on the roof materials. For this reason, they’re not widely recommended in areas that accumulate considerable amounts of snow.


Pitched Roofs

Like the name acknowledges, pitched commercial roofs are roofs with a very apparent pitch. You’re more likely to see these roofs on residential properties rather than commercial ones. That being said, there are still some commercial construction projects that call for pitched roofs.

Why Folks Like Them:

The primary appeal of a pitched roof is the runoff of snow and rain. The faster precipitation can run off of a pitched roof, the less the chance that this water will damage said roof. This steeper pitch means a drier roof and a decreased need for maintenance and repair.

Why Folks Don’t Like Them:

The steeper the roof, the more difficult it is to repair. While a low-sloped roof or flat roof may even be repaired by a general handyman, a pitched roof will likely have to be fixed by an experienced roofing professional. The pitch of the roof will also make the installation of roof-mounted equipment more complicated and, therefore, more expensive. The cost to construct a higher-pitched roof also requires more material to cover the same square footage. 


Flat Roofs

Just like the description implies, a flat roof shape for a commercial building is an utterly flat roof. There is no pitch and a parapet or protective railing typically outlines the top of the roof.

Why People Like Them:

Because a flat roof has no pitch to it, it requires considerably fewer square feet of roofing material to cover. The reduced square footage of the roof means for cheaper construction costs and when built in a place with a favorable climate, fewer maintenance issues. Flat roofs also make it easy to install roof-mounted equipment ranging from satellite dishes to solar panels up to air conditioners.

Why People Don’t Like Them:

Flat roofs are known for being notoriously poor drainers of rain and snow. Water and snow quickly collect on top of the commercial structure and can cause extensive damage when not addressed. Properly installed drains can limit water accumulation, but the potential for damage, especially from heavy snow accumulation, still exists.


Having Trouble Deciding?

If you’re needing help deciding which roofing style is best for your commercial building, let the commercial construction experts from Tulsa-based Cowen Construction help. Learn more about Cowen Construction today.