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Low-Slope vs. Steep-Slope Roof: What You Need to Know

Low - Slope

Many factors are at play when determining a roof's overall design. Some of these factors consider functionality, while others are purely aesthetic. However, one of the most essential considerations when choosing a roof is a low-slope vs. steep-slope roof. 

What constitutes a low-slope roof, and how do they differ from a steep-slope one? Knowing a roof's pitch is instrumental for installations and repairs, and homeowners and contractors should understand the differences to make informed decisions. 

This guide will explore the differences between low and steep-slope roofs as well as their advantages and disadvantages. Whether installing or repairing a roof, the Terminus Construction Group in Woodstock, GA, can provide the services your home or business needs.

How Are Roofs Different? 

According to BCC Research, 90% of the roofing market in North America consists of roof replacements. Additionally, with more homes and commercial buildings built daily, the roofing industry is nowhere close to calming down. 

Although roofs are in high demand, many people may overlook how versatile roofs can genuinely be. 

It's true that all roofs, at their core, perform the same function. A roof's primary function is to protect a structure and its inside contents. In addition, roofs often add an extra layer of insulation, keeping homeowners protected from the elements. 

However, a roof's design can significantly impact its performance. Today, contractors design roofs for various slopes and inclines using different materials. Roofing contractors can also add extra components for increased functionality or aesthetic flair. 

Many homeowners will be looking at low-slope vs. steep-slope roofs. Both roofing types offer unique advantages and disadvantages that can help determine which is best for your property.

What Is a Low-Slope Roof? 

Contractors primarily design low-slope roofs to cover low-sloping surfaces. A roof needs a pitch below 18 degrees to fulfill the low-slope criteria officially. For example, slightly pitched or flat roofs are typically considered low-slope roofs. 

Many industrial and commercial buildings use a flat or low-slope roof. The primary reason is that commercial businesses, factories, warehouses, etc., have much more square footage than residential homes. So, it's simply cheaper to use flat or low slopes. 

In fact, low-slope roofs first appeared during the Industrial Revolution to accommodate booming factories. Today, low-sloping roofs use materials such as: 

  • PVC
  • Modified bitumen 
  • EPDM
  • Metal 
  • TPO

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Low-Slope Roofs

Low-slope or flat roofs come with various advantages and disadvantages: 

Pros

  • Cheaper and easier to install: Low-sloped roofs don't require a rafter system to support them, significantly reducing the number of building materials needed. This reduction in building materials also lowers labor costs. 
  • Can lower energy usage and bills: Typically, a low-sloped roof necessitates reducing attic space. This reduction in space can impact how a homeowner's HVAC system operates. A low-sloped roof may lower energy bills by limiting air flowing to a home. 
  • Has versatile uses: Adding features like a sun deck to a steep-slope roof can be challenging, but it's much easier on a flat roof. 

Cons 

Of course, low-sloped roofs come with unique cons that businesses and homeowners should be aware of. For example, overlapping materials like shingles, shakes, and tiles generally won't work on a low-sloped roof.

Buildings in areas that experience a lot of snow don't do well with low-sloped roofs either. These roofs will collect lots of snow and may even collapse. In addition, low-sloped roofs require frequent maintenance and inspection due to being more likely to leak. 

What Are Steep-Slope Roofs? 

A steep-slope roof is more synonymous with residential homes. Roofs need a pitch of at least 18 degrees to technically qualify as a steep slope. Besides homes, some small businesses may also opt for a steep slope for a warmer atmosphere. 

Most steep-slope roofs made in America use asphalt shingles. Besides shingles, other common materials include: 

  • Natural and composite tiles 
  • Metal 
  • Wood shakes 
  • Slate

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Steep-Slope Roofs

Like low-sloped roofs, steep-slope roofs also carry different advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros

  • Better water flow: Steep-sloped roofs offer greater gravity, meaning that any water that falls on a steep-sloped roof has to travel downhill. This water will then collect in the gutters or fall off the roof. This process also prevents mold and mildew growth. 
  • Prevents ice and snow buildup: Besides combating water, steep-sloped roofs also work wonders against ice and snow buildups. As such, home and business owners in areas with heavy snow and ice should consider steep-sloped roofs. 
  • Extra attic space: While steep-sloped roofs make it hard to add areas like terraces or sun decks, they offer extra attic space. Home or business owners needing extra storage will benefit from a steep-sloped roof. 

Cons

As with anything, there are a few disadvantages to steep-sloped or pitched roofs. The first significant con is that it's harder to access and traverse this type of roof. Besides not being a great spot for gathering, steep-sloped roofs can also increase maintenance costs due to being hard to navigate.

Additionally, steep-sloped roofs are more expensive to install, making them too costly for many businesses or large buildings. 

How Hiring Terminus Construction Group Can Help 

When installing, replacing, or maintaining a roof, it's vital to have an expert team of professionals ready to assist. The right team is well-equipped to handle any roof and roofing materials. 

When it comes to low-slope vs. steep-slope roofs, Terminus Construction Group always helps customers find the solution for their homes or businesses. They work with a customer's budget and specific building needs. With over 15 years of experience, the team is proud to serve Woodstock, GA. Read this to help you decide whether to repair or replace your roof and contact Terminus Construction Group today!

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