The Pros and Cons of a Flat Roof

Tony Britskey

Tony Britskey

CEO, Metro Roofing

Modern, minimalist, cost effective & durable – flat roofs are fantastic for residences & commercial buildings. Call Metro Roofing today for more info.

People commonly associate a flat roof with a commercial building. There’s just something about the clean, horizontal top that structurally and architecturally indicates professionalism. But flat roofs aren’t unheard of in residential homes, and if fact they’re in fashion right now.

If you’re deciding between a pitched roof and flat roof, but can’t quite make heads or tails of the two options, allow us to offer some guidance. This article will run through a few of the main advantages of a flat roof, as well as advise on a couple shortcomings.

If you decide on a flat roof, either for your home or commercial space, we here at Metro Roofing are your flat roofing experts in the GTA. And if you already have a flat roof that requires inspection or maintenance, never hesitate to call.


Let’s lead with the advantages of a flat roof. For many commercial architects, these pros are a given, but for all you homeowners out there curious about the style, perhaps taking note of the advantages can help you make a more informed decision.


Architects tend to love a flat roof. The clean, horizontal line emphasizes and contrasts the vertical space around the home or building – the trees, neighouring houses, skyline, etc. – leaving a lasting impression. The roofing style is also closely associated with minimalism: an aesthetic that emphasizes the functional features of a home, rather than its flashier design elements.

In the GTA, you’ll see a lot more new houses built with flat roofing, sometimes even between very old, pitched roof houses. The effect, we think, looks pretty cool. We love seeing a diversity of houses in and around the city.

Outdoor Space

Of course, there’s more to a flat roof than its looks. It can also be functional. A popular use for flat roofs is as an outdoor space. With a few seats up on the roof, you’ve got an al fresco view of your surroundings that you simply can’t get with a pitched roof. It essentially adds another, fresh-air floor to your home!

Cost to Build

Because the surface area is smaller, the cost of materials for a flat roof is less than that of its pitched counterpart. The catch here is that you want experienced, trustworthy professionals building your flat roof; a poorly constructed flat roof can lead to further maintenance and repairs in the future, potentially offsetting the construction savings.

For a flat roof that looks great and can stand the test of time, read about our tar and gravel roofing which uses a 4-ply hot tar system that’s durable and protective.

Equipment Placement

Designers will often hide equipment (HVAC units, etc.) on a flat roof, for a couple of reasons. One, moving equipment out to the exterior allows designers to maximize interior space. Two, keeping equipment on the roof enables designers to hide it from pedestrian view, which improves the overall look of the building.

Overall, it’s an efficient use of the flat roof space, but you have to include expert roofers in the conversation. Moving equipment to the rooftop necessitates creating a watertight seal. If you’re planning on putting equipment on your flat roof, call us to make sure that it’s properly roofed into the design.

Safer Maintenance

Working on a flat roof is, simply put, safer than working on a pitched roof. That’s true of the maintenance we do, but it’s also true of homeowner tasks like cleaning the eavestroughs. It’s far safer to remove those gutter leaves from the comfort of a flat surface than atop a ladder.


There are different types of flat roof systems, each with their own pros and cons. But the flat roof installation systems we use – including 4-ply build up, EPDM rubber and peel and stick membrane – are durable and long lasting. Flat roofs may get a bad reputation for ongoing maintenance troubles, but installed correctly they should be as reliable as a pitched roof.


That leaves us with the cons. No roofing style or system is 100% infallible; the effects of time, weather and unexpected events will put strain of a roof, no matter the kind. It’s the reason why, in addition to offering top-notch roof installation, we offer expert emergency roof leak repair and maintenance. But flat roofs come with a few particular limitations.


Pitched roofs have gravity on their side. Without proper installation and maintenance, water can puddle on a flat roof and cause damage. The best antidote to your drainage problems is to schedule regular maintenance and inspections, and ensure that the materials used are backed by warranty. To learn more about maintaining flat roofing in Brampton, Mississauga, North York and elsewhere in the GTA, give us a call!

Debris Build-Up

Leaves, dirt, dust and branches can all pile up on a flat roof. To prevent this debris clogging your gutters and drains, it’s a good idea to clear any overhanging branches, clear away any accumulating debris from the roof and regularly clean your gutters.

Flat roofs aren’t just for office buildings. This versatile, cost effective, durable and usable design goes with just about any modern structure. If you’re installing a flat roof, or maintaining the one you already have, call Metro Roofing today!

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