The Pros and Cons of Flat Roofs: A Comprehensive Guide


As a roofing contractor with over 20 years of experience, I have seen the rise in popularity of flat roofs in both residential and commercial buildings. While traditional sloped roofs have been the norm for centuries, flat roofs offer a modern and sleek alternative. However, like any roofing style, flat roofs have their own set of advantages and disadvantages that homeowners and business owners should consider before making a decision.

The Advantages of Flat Roofs

Energy Efficiency: One of the main advantages of flat roofs is their energy efficiency. Due to their horizontal design, flat roofs allow for easy installation of solar panels, making them an ideal choice for those looking to reduce their energy consumption and save on utility bills.

Additionally, the lack of slopes means less heat is trapped in the attic, resulting in lower cooling costs during the summer months.


Flat roofs are generally more cost-effective than sloped roofs. The materials used for flat roofs, such as EPDM rubber, TPO, and PVC, are typically less expensive than those used for sloped roofs. Additionally, the installation process is simpler and requires less labor, resulting in lower overall costs.


Flat roofs offer a modern and minimalist look that can enhance the overall appearance of a building. They are also versatile in terms of design options, as they can be used for rooftop gardens or as additional outdoor living space.


When properly installed and maintained, flat roofs can last up to 25 years.

This is due to the fact that they have fewer seams and joints compared to sloped roofs, reducing the risk of leaks and water damage.

The Disadvantages of Flat Roofs

Maintenance: Flat roofs require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity. Debris, such as leaves and branches, can accumulate on the roof and cause damage if not removed regularly. Additionally, flat roofs should be inspected at least twice a year to check for any cracks or damage that may lead to leaks.

Less Insulation Space:

The lack of slopes in flat roofs means there is less space for insulation. This can result in higher heating costs during the winter months, as well as less sound insulation compared to sloped roofs.

Less Stable:

Flat roofs are not as stable as sloped roofs, especially in areas with heavy snowfall or high winds.

The weight of the snow can cause the roof to collapse, and strong winds can lift the roof membrane, resulting in damage.

The Different Types of Flat Roofs

There are several different types of flat roofs available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. It is important to consult with a roofing professional to determine which type is best suited for your specific needs and budget.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing, also known as BUR, is one of the oldest and most traditional types of flat roofs. It consists of multiple layers of asphalt and felt, making it durable and long-lasting. However, BUR can be heavy and may require additional support for installation.

Single-Ply Roofing

Single-ply roofing is a popular choice for flat roofs due to its ease of installation and cost-effectiveness.

It is made from a single layer of synthetic material, such as EPDM rubber or TPO, and is lightweight and flexible.

Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt roofing is a budget-friendly option for flat roofs. It is made from layers of asphalt and felt, similar to BUR, but with a thinner top layer. However, it is not as durable as other types of flat roofs and may require more frequent maintenance.

Energy-Saving Solutions for Flat Roofs

Although flat roofs are known for their energy efficiency, there are additional solutions that can further reduce energy consumption and save on utility bills.

Reflective Coating:

Applying a reflective coating to the roof can help reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the building, resulting in lower cooling costs. This is especially beneficial for buildings located in hot climates.

Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems:

Installing energy-efficient heating and cooling systems can also help reduce energy consumption and save on utility bills.

This is especially important for buildings with flat roofs, as they are more susceptible to heat absorption.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

To ensure the longevity of your flat roof, it is crucial to regularly maintain and inspect it. This includes cleaning up debris, checking for cracks or damage, and applying cladding to protect against UV rays and water damage. It is recommended to have a professional roofing contractor inspect your flat roof at least twice a year. They will be able to identify any potential issues and provide necessary repairs or maintenance.

The Life Expectancy of Flat Roofs

The life expectancy of a flat roof depends on various factors, such as the type of materials used, the quality of installation, and regular maintenance. On average, EPDM rubber roofs can last up to 25 years, while TPO and PVC roofs have a lifespan of 20 years.

However, with proper maintenance and care, flat roofs can last even longer.

The Best Option for Your Roofing Needs

When considering a flat roof for your building, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and consult with a roofing professional. They will be able to assess your specific needs and budget and recommend the best option for your roofing needs. At Werner Roofing, we are the roofing experts in Nashville. Our team of experienced professionals can provide expert advice and quality installation services for all types of flat roofs. We also offer roof replacement financing options to make the process more affordable for our clients.


In conclusion, flat roofs offer many advantages, such as energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and modern aesthetics.

However, they also have their own set of disadvantages, such as regular maintenance and less insulation space. It is important to carefully consider these factors and consult with a roofing professional before making a decision. With proper maintenance and care, flat roofs can provide a durable and long-lasting roofing solution for both residential and commercial buildings. At Werner Roofing, we are dedicated to providing the best roofing services in Nashville and helping our clients make informed decisions about their roofing needs.