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San Antonio Roofing: Article About Flat Roofs

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San Antonio roofing professionals receive many calls from homeowners looking to transform their flat roof into a sloped roof. Some homeowners do this because they want the extra space a pitch roof provides in a home. Others make the change because they have heard that a pitch roof is less problematic than a flat roof and in the long run is less expensive. While pitch roofs do have problems with leaks and will require maintenance, they also have some advantages over a flat roof.

Flat roofs have developed a bad name with builders. Real estate agents, homeowners and insurance companies are leery of these roofs. That being said, flat roofs have provided protection to homes and businesses for most of mankind's history. They are often the best choice for large commercial buildings and in some cases can work well on residential homes.

The downside of flat roofs is that they require additional upkeep and maintenance. Flat roofs have a problem with gravity because of their slight pitch. Flat roofs are not 100 percent flat. One common problem is a sagging roof structure. Poorly installed flashings and shoddy repairs can lead to ponds of standing water forming on a flat roof.

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Flat roofs on residential structures are more prone to problems as opposed to their commercial counterpart. This is because many residential designers and remodelers do not have experience working with flat roofs. They use undersized structural members, especially in delicate areas such as where the roof planes contact the wall. Problems arise because residential buildings are not outfitted with the high end material that is used on the flat roof of commercial buildings. How can a problematic flat roof be converted into a pitched roof?

One option is to leave the existing roof and build the pitched roof above and around it. Wood trusses or wood rafters can be built up around the home to serve as a base. Two of the benefits of keeping the existing roof are that it is less expensive and the home does not need to be vacated during construction. On the other side of the coin, removing the old roof allows homeowners to create a cathedral style ceiling or make an attic or small living space. If the support walls of the home cannot support the weight of two roofs, the old roof may need to be removed.

Converting a flat roof into a pitched roof is an expensive and time-consuming project. Homeowners should carefully weigh the pros and cons of doing this type of replacement.

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