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The Difference Between Flat and Sloped Roofs

It’s easy enough to look up and spot the difference between a flat and a sloped roof. But do you know how these two roof types stack up against each other? They each have pros and cons that potential buyers should know before purchasing a home. Learn more about how flat and sloped rank on durability, maintenance, and more.


The most popular flat roofing option or residential houses is a single-ply rolled rubber made of a single membrane similar to an inner tube. Sloped roofs are made of layers, including plywood decking, an underlayment, ice/water barrier, and shingles (usually made of asphalt).

Best Uses

Flat roofs are often found in cities and on commercial buildings. They are popular in more crowded areas on townhomes as they allow the ceiling below to reach as high as possible without sloping walls, utilizing the vertical space. Sloped roofs of varying grades are usually found on traditional single-family homes as they do a great job draining water and debris down and away from the shingles.


The name flat roof is a bit misleading as flat roofs actually have a slight slope to help drain water. However, water and snow are much more likely to sit on flat roofs, making them more susceptible to leaks than sloped roofs, which have gravity on their side. Still, a sloped roof needs to be properly ventilated to avoid ice dams in the winter, and gutters on sloped roofs should be maintained to ensure that water doesn’t back up and pool on the roof.


Depending on the type of materials and installation quality, a flat roof can last anywhere from a limited lifespan of 10 years up to about 15 years. On the other hand, sloped roofs with quality asphalt shingles installed correctly can last longer, between 15 and 20 years.


Both flat and sloped roofs need regular maintenance. Flat roofs will need to be patched at some point as water will inevitably pool and create weak spots. Sloped roof maintenance includes replacing blown off shingles, resealing, and fixing nail pops. However, this tends to be less expensive than the maintenance of flat roofs.


Flat roofs cost less in both materials and installation than pitched roofs. However, you will be paying more to maintain a flat roof than a sloped roof, which is something to consider when looking at the install price.

Schedule A Consultation

Regardless of the type of roof you have, the right roofing contractor makes all the difference. If you need maintenance or repairs to your roof, do your research to ensure that the roofing company has a solid track record with your type of roof and that they are equipped to do small repairs as well as replacements.

If your home needs a roof repair or replacement, you can trust the roofing specialists at Brothers. Our experienced professionals will do a thorough inspection of your roof and provide you with a comprehensive scope of work that details exactly what needs to be done on your unique roof. Schedule a free consultation to get started now.