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Flat roofs are an architectural mainstay in commercial buildings and some multi-family housing complexes. Their unique design and functionality offer certain advantages that buildings with traditional sloped roofs miss out on. However, they also have drawbacks you should learn about before deciding which type of roof to install on your property in Anne Arundel County. Here’s a look at several flat roof pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Flat Roofing in Anne Arundel County

Pros of a Flat Roof in Maryland


Installing a flat roof is typically faster and safer than installing a sloped roof, primarily because the flat design prevents the need to work on a slanted surface. This enhanced safety during installation translates to lower labor costs. Plus, flat roofs require less material than sloped roofs, bringing down the overall cost and making flat roofs more environmentally friendly.


A flat roof is more versatile than a traditional sloped roof. The level surface provides valuable outdoor space for housing HVAC units, setting up solar panels, or creating a “green” roof. This flexibility enhances the building’s functionality and value.

Energy Efficiency

Flat roofs can boost a building’s energy efficiency, especially when covered with a reflective material. Such designs reflect sunlight and heat away from the building, reducing the need for air conditioning during Maryland’s hot summers. This natural cooling effect can lead to substantial energy savings over time.

More Interior Space

The lack of sloping sides means flat-roofed buildings have more room for an attic or even an additional floor. This feature is beneficial in commercial and residential buildings where maximizing square footage is a top priority. The added space can lead to more operational capabilities or occupancy levels, and consequently, increased revenue.

Easy Accessibility

Thanks to their level design, flat roofs are easier to access than sloped roofs, simplifying routine maintenance, inspections, and repairs. This makes caring for your roof and any mechanical equipment installed there quicker, safer, and more cost-effective. Since regular maintenance and prompt repairs help the roof last longer, this is an important benefit you shouldn’t overlook.

Cons of a Flat Roof in Maryland

Maintenance Challenges

Flat roofs have less effective drainage than their sloped counterparts, which can compromise the roofing materials and potentially cause leaks. Routine waterproofing is essential to prevent this, adding an extra step (and cost) to the maintenance process.

Limited Material Options

The most common types of flat roofs include built-up roofing (BUR), multiple reinforced bitumen (MRB) roofing, and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) or rubber roofing. Each of these materials has pros and cons, and their suitability depends heavily on the building’s specifications and the local climate. Talk to a certified roofer to determine what’s best for your needs.

Shorter Lifespan

Flat roofs may require significant repairs or a total replacement after about 10 years. In contrast, sloped roofs made from asphalt shingles, metal, or other durable materials can last 20 to 50 years, offering a significantly longer lifespan and better return on investment.

Unreliable in Cold Weather

Unlike sloped roofs that allow snow and ice to slide off, flat roofs can accumulate snow and ice, causing extra weight and pressure to build up. In addition, the freeze-thaw cycle can cause roofing materials to expand and contract, potentially leading to cracks and leaks. To prevent these issues, building owners in Maryland must develop a robust snow removal and roof maintenance plan.

Not as Stylish

From an aesthetic standpoint, flat roofs may be less appealing than sloped versions. They offer a more utilitarian look that doesn’t complement all architectural styles. This is why homeowners often prefer the traditional look of a sloped roof for single-family homes.

Green Roof Concerns

While planting an extensive rooftop garden can be eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, it also presents certain problems. Common issues include added weight on the structure, the need for complex irrigation systems, and potential roof damage caused by constant exposure to moisture. Research this option thoroughly before growing a living roof on your building.

Call Cunningham Contracting, Inc. to Install a Flat Roof in Anne Arundel County, MD

The unique advantages of flat roofs make them an attractive option. As long as they are installed correctly and maintained adequately, flat roofs can function well for many years.

For help weighing the pros and cons of a flat roof, turn to Cunningham Contracting, Inc. We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality flat roof installation in Anne Arundel County. Our skilled roofers have over 25 years of experience and an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction, ensuring our work will exceed your expectations. For more information or to request a free estimate, please call us at (410) 721-8757 today.

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