What Is a Low Slope Roof?

GAF Asphalt Shingles Low Slope Roofs

If you’re considering replacing your roof, understanding your existing roofing structure can help you determine the best type of system to replace it. One aspect of your roof you’ll need to consider is the slope or pitch.

A low slope roof can cause water to drain off the roof more slowly than it would on a steeper slope. However, choosing the right roofing system can counter this slow drainage and ensure that your roof remains waterproof to prevent leaks and water damage.

Read on to learn more about roof pitches and the best roofing systems for low slope roofs. Then contact Nelson Contracting today to schedule your free roof inspection or replacement estimate.

Roof Slopes: The Basics

Roof Slopes

The slope of a roof is essentially how steep the roof is. Roofs with steep slopes allow water to flow freely to the gutters. Meanwhile, roofs with low pitches sometimes require special measures to improve water flow.

Roofing companies calculate the roof slope by measuring the vertical change for every 12 horizontal inches. For example, if a roof has a 5/12 pitch, that means the roof’s vertical height increases by five inches for every 12 horizontal inches.

What Is Considered a Low Slope Roof?

A low-slope roof has a pitch of less than 2/12, meaning two vertical inches for every 12 horizontal inches.

You should never try to measure your roof’s slope yourself. Instead, if you’re unsure of your roof’s pitch, you can schedule a free roof inspection with our team. We’ll examine your roof for damage or other issues, measure the slope, and recommend any necessary repairs.

Pros and Cons of Low Slope Roofs

Low Slope Roof With Snow

Low-slope roofing systems have advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few pros of these roofing systems:

  • More efficient heating and cooling due to less attic space
  • Easier maintenance with less risk of falling off the roof
  • Compatibility with solar panels
  • Modern, contemporary designs

However, low slope roofs also have a few disadvantages compared to steeper slopes:

  • Slower drainage of water, snow, and ice
  • Frequent debris build-up on the roof
  • Incompatible with some roofing materials

Which Roofing Systems Are Best For Low Slope Roofs?

Low slope roofs are too flat to have shingles installed on them. As a result, roofing companies typically recommend a few different roofing options instead.

Here are the most popular roofing systems for low slope roofs:

Membrane Roof Systems

Low slope roofs need to use waterproof materials to prevent water from sitting on the roof and eventually seeping into the attic. Membrane roof systems are a popular choice for these roofs because they contain a water-repellent membrane.

Membrane roofs consist of sheets that are anywhere from five to 20 feet wide, depending on the overall roof size. These sheets are made of a synthetic membrane that repels water, preventing moisture from building up on the roof.

The three main types of membrane roof materials include EPDM, PVC, and TPO. EPDM consists of a black rubber membrane, while PVC and TPO are white and reflective.

Many homeowners prefer PVC and TPO, as they can reflect sunlight and help keep the home cool. Meanwhile, EPDM is more common in commercial facilities.

Metal Roof Systems

Metal is another common material to install on low slope roofs. The two main types of metal roofing systems are screw-down and standing seam.

Standing seam metal roofs consist of interlocking panels that can expand when the metal heats up due to sun exposure. Meanwhile, screw-down roofs utilize panels that are screwed into the roof decking, creating less room for expansion and contraction.

We recommend standing seam systems for low slope roofs. These systems offer better performance and water control, and because of their expansion capabilities, they are suitable for heated areas of your home.

Contact Nelson Contracting Today

Whether you’re unsure of your roof’s pitch or you need help determining the right replacement for your low slope roof, we can help. At Nelson Contracting, we have extensive experience in roof repair, replacement, and installation. We can examine your existing roof and inform you about the best options to ensure long-term durability and water resistance.

Call Nelson Contracting today at 402-464-2418 to schedule your free inspection or estimate in Lincoln or Omaha, NE.

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