What is a Flat Roof?

The name “flat roof” suggests that this type of roof is, well, flat. That’s actually not the case. Flat roofs have a slight pitch (or slope) that allows for rain and snow to run off. Flat roofs are common in industrial buildings and businesses, but we’re also seeing more of them on homes.


A flat roof is great for industrial buildings because unsightly heating and cooling equipment can be stored on the roof, hiding it from view. For homes or other residential buildings like condos and apartments, it can become a rooftop patio or garden where homeowners and residents can entertain guests.

Thinking about installing solar panels? You’ll get the most out of them on a level surface that exposes them to the sun constantly. Lastly, flat roofs can also be cheaper to design, but building them requires special consideration for waterproofing and drainage.


You might suspect that flat roofs can have drainage issues, and you’d be right. Water easily flows off a pitched roof, but if a roof is flat, water can pool and cause leaks.
Flat roof drains are also susceptible to clogs and need to be inspected and maintained regularly. In Edmonton, ice dams that are created in the winter can become leaks in the spring. Again, proper inspection and maintenance is key to getting a long life out of your flat roof. Insert Information on 2-ply SBS. This is the preferred system as it is the most durable and friendly on a house.

Roofing Materials to Use

Thermoplastic membranes are a roofing material that is engineered to last a very long time. It is flexible, puncture-resistant, excellent for waterproofing due to heat-welded seams, UV resistant, and it’s available in large sheets that can make for quicker installation. For more information on the different types of thermoplastic membranes, click here.

Traditionally, flat roofs are covered in layers of tar and gravel that are adhered with molten asphalt and are still a good option for flat roofing material. A properly done tar and gravel roof can last up to 30 years. It is still a preferred material, especially on industrial and commercial buildings since it is cost effective and proven.

Roofing Materials Not to Use

Shingles aren’t a great choice for a flat roof, and many shingle manufacturers do not recommend use of their products on flat roofs.

For a modern looking, energy saving home (or other building like a shed, apartment, of business), you may decide to build a flat roof, but be aware of the special considerations that come with this design.

Looking to get your flat roofing questions answered? Give us a call at (780) 466-1601 or contact us today using our online form!

6 replies
  1. Tony The Roofer
    Tony The Roofer says:

    Appreciating the time and energy you put into your blog and detailed information you offer. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] green) roofs are rare, but if that’s what you’re after, consider a shed-style roof or flat roof […]

  2. […] preferred styles of homes and business change from decade to decade and vary by region. For one, tar and gravel flat roofs gained popularity in the 50’s and 60’s, especially in commercial […]

  3. […] we replace a flat roof, first we have to rip off the old one. We take spades and basically dig up the roof. The old […]

  4. […] sure your contractor has the right insurance when doing flat roof applications. Ask for proof of fire insurance, especially if someone gives you a really low […]

Comments are closed.