steep slope roof vs low slope roof

Low-Slope Vs Steep-Slope Roof: What are the Variations?6 min read

All roofing performs the same vital function, but the way they go on it can be quite different. The primary definition of a roof is the top cover envelope of a structure.

And the function is to cover the building and protect the contents of the building from the elements such as precipitation etc. the roofing system will support the overall building structure. But all roofs are not the same. New designs of modern roofs have various slopes from a wide range of materials.

They can typically add some pleasant aesthetic look and add insulation value base upon the type of roofing styles and materials you choose. Let’s take a look at the primary difference between low slope and steep-slope roofing design.

Read More: What Is Skillion Roof | Types Of Skillion Roof | How To Build A Skillion Roof


Post Contents

Low-Slope Roofing

The design of this roofing style is to cover the low slope structural surfaces of the building. The criteria of low-slope roofing must have below 18 degrees of pitch. When people talk about low-slope, they often speak about flat roofing or very close to flat.

Because most of the industrial and commercial buildings significantly entail square footage compared to residential roofs. A low-slope or flat roof is typically a cost-effective roofing design for this type of facility.

And the most common materials of this roofing include modified bitumen and built-up roofs, metal, EPDM, TPO, and PVC roofing materials.

  • It requires integral components, such as copings, drains, and flushing, to guarantee the drainage system and promote long-lasting, dry, and durable roofing systems.
  • Often it uses polyisocyanurate insulation that offers thermal protection from the heat and cold outside and provides temperature and moisture barriers.
  • Typically, a low-slope roof adds reflective coatings such as acrylic and aluminum coatings to add durability, waterproofing, corrosion resistance, and become cold roofing.
  • Minimize risk during maintenance tasks, though the low-sloped roofing requires higher maintenance than the steep-slope roofs; however, the risks to conduct maintenance with it are lower.
  • This roofing system is almost flat, it drastically reduces falling and sleeping troubles and maintenance tasks such as clearing debris are easy compared to other roofing systems.
  • It can also improve cooling and heating in the building. When installing a steep-slope roof system creates extra space like an attic, and when this space fills with air, it can affect the cooling and heating in the room.
  • A low slope roof limits the amount of air entering the building and helps to maintain the warmer temperature in the area during winter and cooler during summer, and helps to reduce energy bills on heating and cooling.
  • Low slope roofing systems have a lower price to install as it only requires fewer materials and is easy to install and leads to lower labor costs during the installation.

Downfall Of Low Slope Roofing

Low slope roofs require more maintenance as they receive more exposure to the elements than steep slope roofing. It is more challenging to manage snow and rainwater, which eventually leads to deterioration and damage. It typically requires maintenance, most especially after storms.

Low slope roofing is not ideal if the structure’s location is in an area that is prone to snow as this roofing design cannot slide snowfall going to the ground; instead, it will build upon the roof. Unfortunately, if the snow buildup becomes heavier, it tends to collapse.

Read More: What Is Lean to Roof | Lean to Roof Design | How to Build A Lean to Roof


Steep-Slope Roofing

This type of roofing is widespread in residential properties. To be classified as a steep-slope roof, the roof’s pitch must have 18 degrees or more. This type of roofing style is typical for homes, small commercial spaces, or businesses with a homelike design look.

The most popular pitch roof or steep-slope roof is the asphalt shingles, and other common materials for steep-slope include wood shakes, slate, composite tile, metal, and natural tile. This type of roofing is ideal for incorporating the Roof Access Hatch in your design as it can add an aesthetic look to your home.

  • The installation, maintenance, and repair of this type of roofing require an experienced roofer with comprehensive steep-slope capabilities.
  • Require appropriate application of underlayment
  • Steep-slope roofing often provides an eye-catching, dramatic, and aesthetic look in the structure.
  • It creates extra space. A steep slope roof is ideal for those interested in attic spaces for extra room or storage. It can even provide an extra living space depending on how steep the pitch of the roofing.
  • It reduces snow buildup. The biggest downfall of low slope roofing is contrary to the most significant advantage of a steep roof.
  • A steep roof effectively helps manage snow on the roofing; it allows snow to slide off, and it is very beneficial in areas with a great deal of snowfall during winter.
  • It helps to manage efficient water flow. During the rainy season, rainwater will flow efficiently into the gutters.
  • This fast dispatch of rainwater helps avoid mildew and mold growth in the roofing system, potentially increasing the roofing lifespan.

Read More: What Is Pitched Roof | Types of Pitched Roof | Single Pitched Roof


Downfall Of Steep-Slope Roofing

Steep slope roofing is more difficult to install than low slope roofs, and the labor cost during the installation is higher. Having said the steel roof does not require more maintenance; however, the price of this roofing offsets itself out in the long run.

The design of the steep-slope roofing system is not ideal for complex structures. A structure having a complicated rafter is not advisable to install a steep-slope roof system as it cannot serve well, so if the building structure is complex, the better option is a low slope roof or flat roof.

Some factors to consider in selecting a roofing material to ensure its efficiency and longevity are weather and the structure’s location.

No matter what kind of roof, whether low-slope roof or steep-slope roof, we are sure that both styles are widely seen commercially and in residential places; it depends on structure design or style of which type of slope will work best.

And each of the two pitches has its unique characteristics, drawbacks, and benefits. However, both of these pitches serve the same purpose to the structure, to protect the building from outside elements.


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