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Different Roofing Approaches for Flat vs. Pitched Roofs

Although pitched roofs are one of the most common architectural features seen in residential homes, flat roofs are also commonly seen throughout southern Arizona. Different roofs require different roofing approaches, and here at Scott Roofing Company we have the expertise needed for both types of roofs.

Pitched Roofs

Pitched roofs are simply any form of roof which is slanted by more than ten degrees. This can vary from extremely low roofs to the high ones required by vaulted ceilings. They are seen on most residential homes, especially in other parts of the country. Generally, the purpose of pitching a roof is to help water and snow slide off and drain, so that the roof doesn’t leak or cave in. This style of roofing originated in Northern Europe, which tends to have quite a bit of precipitation.

Generally, a pitched roof requires careful work when it is being repaired or replaced. Many different roofing materials are designed for use on pitched roofs, such as:
• Tile
• Wood shingles
• Asphalt shingles

Flat Roofs

However, due to the arid climate of southern Arizona, we have the option of building flat roofs. These roofs are pitched between zero and ten degrees. This style originated in warm Mediterranean climates and are fairly common in Phoenix and Tucson. Typically flat roofs are seen on large commercial facilities such as warehouses, retail outlets, and office buildings—although they do also appear on individual homes. Flat roofs require a quite different roofing approach than pitched roofs do.
The biggest issue with flat roofs is drainage. Although southern Arizona doesn’t receive a lot of rain, there are occasional storms, and getting rid of that water safely is a top priority for flat roofs. This is why many flat roofs are not perfectly flat, but instead have pitches of just a few degrees. In addition, special attention must be paid to details like edges, corners, and pipe or skylight flashings, and a good drainage system should be in place.

Flat roofs in residential areas generally have a waterproof covering that can help wick away moisture during storms. Many commercial facilities use large membranes made out of rubber or plastic, which is then laid in strips and then carefully sealed together.