Dream Homes (To be or not to be – A flat roof?)


Dream Homes Flat Roofing

Why might you choose to put a flat roof on your dream home?  Maybe the question doesn’t apply to your dream home design because you have already opted for a house design where a flat, or low-pitch, the roof is an integral part of the architectural style.  But where the choice of roof type is open to you there are reasons why you might opt for a flat roof design in order to fulfil a preferred requirement, and in some cases, the flat roof becomes a necessity and the body of the house has to be designed around a flat roof condition.

Before delving too deep into the concept we need to just clarify the meaning of a flat roof.  For the purposes of this blog, we are talking about flat roofs as defined in BS 6229:2018 – Flat roofs with continuously supported flexible waterproof coverings, which defines a flat roof as a “roof with a weathered surface at no more than ten degrees (10˚) to the horizontal”.

Modern Flat Roof House Designs

If your preference is for a modernist or contemporary style of architecture, with a focus on simple, smooth and understated façades, sharp lines and defined angles, a flat roof is usually a standard feature which complements this geometry.  The choice of a flat roof therefore purely an aesthetic or architectural one.

In other circumstances, the choice of a flat roof is led by other criteria.

PVC Green Roofing

On some sites, in certain locations, and with Local Authority Planning or Environmental requirements in force, the building may need to have a low visual impact on the surrounding landscape, and a flat roof helps to achieve this.  A pitched roof, especially a more traditional one, can occupy the equivalent of an extra storey on the house, and this additional height may be deemed too intrusive on the landscape by Planners.  A flat roof removes this extra volume from sight.

Go Green Roof

The aspect of low visual impact can be further enhanced by the addition of a green roof covering.  Where a house is to be built in an area of green countryside, a green-covered flat roof blends in with its surroundings and may even become almost invisible.  A big plus for Planning consent.

Of course, a green roof may be one of your aspirations irrespective of satisfying LA Planning.  Green roofs are an architectural, environmental and ecological bonus to most properties, including houses.  They provide an aesthetic improvement (when they are visible) as well as providing ecological habitats for birds and insects.  They help to cool the building in summer, and air-conditioning of buildings is beginning to overtake heating in terms of costs and CO2 emissions (but it should be remembered that they don’t contribute to keeping the building warm in winter as their thermal insulation value is negligible).  

Green roofs are also increasingly being specified for their rainwater attenuation ability.  They detain the rainwater within their build-up and release it more slowly into the drainage system, so preventing storm surges.

Green roofs can, of course, be installed on steeper pitched roofs, with technical provisos, but are easier and safer to maintain on a flat roof.

In order to maximise the available space of your dream home, a flat roof can provide an additional amenity by creating a roof-top terrace.  With suitable parapets, balustrading and a wearing surface over the waterproofing system, additional recreational space can be obtained within the footprint of the building, and at little relative cost.

The roof of a building, particularly a flat roof, is often referred to architecturally as ‘The fifth elevation’.  The fifth elevation of your dream home doesn’t need to be simply a weatherproof lid to the building but can have added value by becoming a pleasing aesthetic, and environmental friend, a storm-water drainage assistant or useful family space.

Flat Roof Design Options

Of course, once you have decided that the dream home is to have a flat or low-pitch roof it’s then necessary to design the technicalities of it with regard to the structure, thermal performance, drainage and waterproofing.  That’s where we can help.

We at AAC Waterproofing specialise in all aspects of flat roofing from initial design specification to final installation, with green or land-scaped coverings.  We’ll be happy to assist with your dream home roofing proposal.