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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > February 2017 > Flat roof design basics

Flat roof design basics

Emily Smith weighs up the pros and cons of flat roofs, and explains how to select the right specification and materials for your project

In the past, low-quality insulation, inadequate materials and poor workmanship left flat roofs with a reputation for water pooling and substandard performance. But today there are various modern systems available that make horizontal coverings a thermally efficient, versatile and attractive option that will protect your home in the long-term.

Flat versus pitched

Technically, a flat roof is never actually completely level. In fact, any pitched covering that is lower than 10° comes under this category. This is because a slight gradient is required to allow rain and snow to drain off.

If you’re building a new dwelling from scratch, the decision on whether this type of roof will work for you is likely to come down to whether it will suit the architectural style of your house. If you’re self building a chocolate box cottage, for instance, then a flat top probably won’t suit. But there are plenty of circumstances where a linear design will enhance the exterior aesthetics, and this doesn’t necessarily need to be a strikingly contemporary box-like new build. Many Georgian properties were constructed with flat roofs (often featuring parapets), for example.

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About Build It

The February edition of Build It magazine will help you get your self build, renovation or extension project off on the right foot. It’s packed with inspiration and advice, including: • A run-down barn transformed in to a stunning contemporary home (page 22) • A beginners guide to self build (page 62) • 8 hot ideas for stoves & fires (page 69) • Create your ideal kitchen with our in-depth guide (page 74) • Get room sizes right (page 96) … and more!