Pitched Roofs vs. Flat Roofs: Which is Better?

Whether you’re constructing new property or planning an extension to an existing building, you have two basic choices to choose from: flat or pitched. Before heading down to your local roofing supply company in Atlanta, you should know the differences, advantages, and limitations between the two designs.


Flat Roofs

Firstly, it’s critical that you understand a flat roof is not 100% level. All roofs are constructed with a pitch of some degree to drain rainfall down and away from a property. So, a flat roof generally has a 3-in-12 pitch—meaning that the roof rises 3 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run—or less.

Over recent years, flat roofs have become more popular for commercial properties. Due to their compact designs, flat roofs are ideal for smaller structures and extension projects; however, this doesn’t make them unsuitable for larger, more residential estates.



If you’re working with a tight budget or want to save money, then a flat roof is the better option. Due to their simpler frames, flat roofs require fewer roofing supplies and demand less construction and labor costs than a pitched alternative. Furthermore, they boast a shorter turnaround time for installation, which makes them appealing for business construction.


With their nearly level design, flat roofs provide an ideal surface for an eco-friendly green roof. However, this depends on the construction of the roof and your property in general. If you can maintain a green roof on your property, they offer many benefits for drainage and general efficiency for roofs of any size.



The primary disadvantages of flat roofing are related to maintenance and drainage. Flat roofs often require regular hands-on maintenance to perform at their peak potential for as long as possible. The drainage of flat roofs is often less efficient when compared to that of pitched roofs, so owners who live in areas prone to rainfall and snow should think twice. 


Pitched Roofs

Formed from two or more slopes that rise in the center to create a peak, pitched roofs are considered by many people the more traditional design of the two. Because of this, you’ll find them more often in residential than commercial areas. 



As a more residential roofing design, pitched roofs are popular between homeowners for a variety of reasons. Versatility and space are two of them. While flat roofs are constructed to accommodate foot traffic above, pitched roofs are erected in ways to create extra living space below. Attic bedrooms, storage space, offices and more can be designed to fit well under a pitched roof.


Pitched roofs often have more longevity and require less maintenance than flat roofs, leading many home and business owners to choose it for their properties. The materials used are generally more durable; though, with recent advancements, this disparity is shrinking. Due to their steep-slope design, pitched roofs are also better-equipped for high rainfall areas.



The main drawback of pitched roofs is the initial cost of installation. Because they have a more complex design than flat roofs, pitched roofing requires increased labor and time and additional materials. However, in exchange for the higher initial cost, you receive a roof that has a longer lifespan, a more efficient drainage system, and a more traditional appeal.