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The Pros and Cons of Pitched and Flat Roofs

Housebuyers can easily forget that one of the most important and influential elements of their new home is the roof; although it might be difficult to see it at close quarters, it is essential to the overall look, functional design and structural integrity of the property.

Most homes in the UK, will have either a flat or pitched roof. Here Anderson Associates, who offer a range of independent property surveys for new and older homes in south east London, Suffolk, Kent and Essex, look at the pros and cons of both pitched and flat roofs.

Pitched Roof Advantages

Pitched roofs are generally seen as the ‘normal’ type of roof as their features make them far more popular than flat roofs on homes in the UK. Pitched roofs have a longer life span compared to flat roofs because the materials used are more weather resistant and durable.

If insulated and converted correctly, a pitched roof also creates extra space in the loft that can be used as another bedroom, bathroom, living space or study. Improved insulation in the loft will also mean the entire property is less susceptible to extremes of temperature.

Because they are constructed at an angle, pitched roofs generally also have better drainage than their flat roof alternatives. And because they are so common and considered ‘the norm’, chances are they will fit in better with the roofs of the surrounding neighbourhood.

Pitched Roof Disadvantages

As attractive as they look, pitched roofs tend to cost more than flat ones. This is because of the materials used and the length of time it takes to install them.

In addition, it may not always be a good idea to replace a flat roof with a pitched one because pitched roofs can put extra stress on a property’s foundations.

Flat Roof Advantages

While they are referred to as ‘flat’ roofs, they are never truly flat. They always have a gentle slope to assist with water runoff; roofs are rarely built to hold large amounts of pooling water.

Flat roofs are much easier to design and build than pitched roofs and are also comparatively easy to add extensions to because there are fewer difficult or unusual angles to take into consideration.

Although it is highly recommended to check with an expert beforehand that it is structurally sound, a flat roof may also be able to be used as a roof garden or veranda. This could prove to be a valuable addition to a property in a city or town centre where personal outdoor space is limited.

Flat roofs also offer easier access for maintenance, as well as providing a contemporary and stylish look compared to a traditional pitched roof.

Flat Roof Disadvantages

Although their longevity and build quality is improving, flat roofs still tend to have a shorter lifespan than pitched roofs. If the water runoff does not work as well as it should, you could also be faced with the problem of ‘pooling’ or ‘ponding’. This is where you get areas of standing water on the roof. The weight of this standing water can have serious effect on the structure of the roof and potentially the rest of the building.

Flat roofs are also known to be less energy-efficient than pitched roofs. They can absorb a lot of sunlight in the summer, making the inside of the property too hot. Likewise, if they are poorly insulated, they can lose a lot of warmth on the winter.

Another disadvantage of flat roofs is the security concern; flat roofs can be very tempting to thieves and burglars due to the ease in which they can be accessed. This can have a negative effect on insurance premiums.

Peace of Mind with Anderson Associates

Whatever type of roof your home or the property you are looking to buy has, Anderson Associates recommend a full building survey. This particularly applies when deciding on a flat roof property survey as it will throw up any structural issues that the building might have.

If there are any problems with the integrity of the roof, whether flat or pitched, then our report will highlight it. If this is the case, you may not wish to proceed with the sale of the property, or you may be within your rights to negotiate a reduction in the asking price.

Anderson Associates offers a full range of property surveys in south east London, Kent, Essex and Suffolk, and, because we are independent, we have no ties to any lenders, so you can be sure of the integrity of our impartial reports.

Anderson Associates’ principal Paul Anderson has been working in the private and public property sector for more than three decades. He is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Building. Follow the link above if you would like to get in touch or to send us an emailed inquiry.


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Whether you need a simple valuation or a full structural survey as well as being expert building surveyors we’re happy to give you free, impartial advice on anything to do with buildings and property.
Anderson Associates
(Head Office & Correspondence Address)
Warneford House, Portal Avenue
Martlesham Heath, Ipswich
Suffolk IP5 3QY
T. 01473 623 656
T. 0800 652 8285
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Registered Office: Anderson Associates (Surveying) Ltd. | Warneford House, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk IP5 3QY
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