Low-Slope vs Steep-Slope Roofing | Differences and Similarities

july 15TH, 2020 UPDATED 3:00PM CT

Picking out the right roofing for your home is a big decision. And when it comes to roofing in San Antonio, one of the factors that you will need to consider is whether you want to invest in steep or low slope roofing. The main difference between these two roofing types is obvious – one is steeply sloped and the other has a lower slope. But what are the other differences between these two types of roofing? And what are the pros and cons of each? Today we’ll answer both of these questions and more – so let’s not waste another minute!

What is low-sloped roofing?

Low sloped roofing is exactly what it sounds like – roofing that has a low slope. This type of roofing is often flat, or pretty close to. While there are some residential properties that use low-sloped roofing in San Antonio, it’s mostly seen on commercial properties. Low sloped roofing can be made from several different materials including:

1. Metal roofing panel systems

2. BUR (Built-up roof) membranes

3. Polymer-modified bitumen sheet membranes

4. Single-ply membranes

5. Spray polyurethane foam-based roof systems

Anytime you install low sloped roofing system in San Antonio it typically includes:

  • Layers for weatherproofing that help to prevent water from leaking
  • Reinforcement that adds strength to the membrane and • helps to prevent shrinkage
  • Surfacing that also helps to protect against extreme weather conditions like hail and heat.

In order to be considered a low slope roof, it must have a pitch of less than 18 degrees.

What is steep roofing?

When it comes to residential properties you will most often see steep-sloped roofing (or roofing with a steep slope). This can be made from:

Anytime you install steep roofing in San Antonio it typically includes:

  • A roof deck (the section of the roof onto which the rest of the roof is placed)
  • The underlayment (that helps to provide weatherproofing and additional protection)
  • The roof covering (the main material used for weatherproofing).

In order to be considered a steep roof, it must have a pitch of more than 18 degrees.

Along with the differences between these two roofing types, there are pros and cons of each:

What are the benefits of low-sloped roofing?

Low sloped roofs can improve your heating and cooling. When you install a steep-sloped roof, extra space is created. When this space fills with air, the way that heating and cooling systems work changes. With low sloped roofs, you don’t have this problem. Low sloped roofing systems limit the amount of air entering into the structure, helping to keep it cooler in summer months and warmer in winter months. This can help to keep down on your heating and cooling bills.

Reduced risk during maintenance tasks. Though maintenance on a low-sloped roof is higher than on steep-sloped roofs, the risks that come along with it are lower. When you’re on a high-sloped roof, you have a much higher risk of slipping and falling. When your roof is flat, this risk is drastically reduced. This means that small maintenance tasks, like clearing debris, can be done by the average layman.

Lowered cost. Low sloped roofs cost much less to install because they require less building material. They are also easier to install which helps to keep down on labor costs.

What are the benefits of steep roofing?

Extra space. If you are interested in more attic space for storage or activities then steep roofing is the way to go. Depending on how steep the pitch, you could even insulate the attic and turn it into an additional living area.

Reduced buildup of snow. One of the biggest downfalls of low pitched roofing is one of the biggest advantages of steep roofing. Steep roofing helps to effectively manage snow. When you have a steep roof, snow will just slide off (providing you don’t have a snow dam). This can be very beneficial if you live in an area that receives a great deal of snowfall.

Improved flow of waterJust as steeped roofing can help to manage snow, it can also help to manage rainfall. When rain falls onto a steep roof system, it will just redirect into your gutters. This quick dispatch of rain helps to prevent mold and mildew buildup, thereby increasing the lifespan of your roof.

What are the downfalls of low sloped roofing San Antonio?

Requires more maintenance. Low sloped roofs typically require more maintenance than steep roofs because they receive more exposure to the elements. Low sloped roofs have a more difficult time managing rain, snow, and UV rays, which can eventually lead to damage or deterioration. If you have a low-sloped roof, regular maintenance is required – especially after storms.

Limited materialsWhen it comes to low sloped roofing San Antonio, you can’t use materials that overlap. Materials like asphalt shingles can cause water to soak in between the layers, resulting in damage of the roof. For this reason, you are limited in what material types you can use on a low sloped roof.

Snow buildup. If you live in an area that is prone to snow, low-sloped roofs are not recommended. This is because low sloped roofing is not designed to release snow. Rather, snow builds up on the roofing. If the snow becomes too heavy, it could result in collapse.

What are the downfalls of steep-sloped roofing?

You won’t want to attempt your own repairsIn other words, you need to hire a reputable roofing company for repairs and maintenance work. When you have a low-sloped roof, you can safely climb on top without worrying about slipping and falling (for the most part). This means that home handymen can do a fair amount of maintenance work themselves. But sloped roofing is more dangerous. The risk of falling is high so maintenance should be left to the professionals.

It’s more difficult to install. Steep roofing is significantly more difficult to install than low-sloped roofing. This means that the cost of installation and labor is also higher. Having said that, it doesn’t require as much maintenance so the price really evens itself out in the long run.

They aren’t designed for complex structures. If you are installing a roof on a complex structure, pitched roofing won’t serve you well. More complicated rafter systems are required for a pitched roof, so when structures are complex flat roofs are the better option.

Not sure whether you need to install low-sloped roofing or steep pitched roofing? Contact a professional contractor today to learn about your different options. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing between a low or steep pitched roof. The strength of your structure, what type of building, the weather your roof will be exposed to, and your budget will all play a role in what type of pitch is the best option for you.  A good contractor will be able to examine your roof and help you decide which angle of pitch is the best option for you and your structure.

Schedule a Roof Inspection with the Experts at

McAllen Valley Roofing Co.

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5828 Sebastian Pl, Suite 102 San Antonio, TX 78249

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