Two areas that most DIY alternative home builders struggle with are the foundation and the roof. Not only do these areas often require more expertise than a novice homebuilder has, there are also many confusing options to choose from. If you are building with adobe, rammed earth, or earth bags, you may want to skip the domes and reciprocal roofs and go with a modern flat roof. A flat roof can be inexpensive to install while giving you more living space or growing space, making installation and maintenance of solar panels easier, and still allowing for efficient water harvesting.
Cost of Installation
Whether you install your roof on your own, or hire an expert, flat roofs can be significantly less expensive than their pitched counterparts. While pitched roofs require complex anchoring techniques with most alternative building methods, flat roofs can actually be built directly into the structure.
While it is true that flat roofs tend to have a higher maintenance cost, such as applying sealant and clearing drains regularly, the accessibility of these roofs allow you to do much of that maintenance on your own. Also, with the advances in roofing materials your flat roof can last for decades before it needs major repairs.
Extra Living and Growing Space
One of the drawbacks of most alternative building techniques is that you have to find a balance between the thickness of your walls and the height of your building. This usually results in single floor or two story homes. A flat roof can nearly double your usable living space in most alternative homes. Many people use flat roofs as a patio and barbecue area. However, they also make a great place to do yoga, work on your laptop, or star gaze in the summer.
One of the really great things about flat roofs is that they make an excellent living roof. Living roofs, also known as green roofs, can increase your home's insulation, provide you with edible berries, and add an interesting look to your home. However, the weight of a green roof can sometimes be problematic for flat roofs. To get around this, you can select a light-weight moss for your roof, or add additional support walls on the interior of your house while you are building.
Installation and Maintenance of Solar Panels
The two best types of roofs for solar panel installation are either flat or single sloping shed roofs. Both of these roofs allow you to use the entire surface of your roof for the installation of PV panels. However, shed roofs limit the orientation and design of your home more than flat roofs.
Additionally, since most flat roofs are easy to walk on, the installation of the panels tends to be easier. The installation will require extra bracing for the panels to create the correct slope, however, this comes with the benefit of being able to change the slope of your panels to get the most direct sunlight every season.
If you are planning to harvest water on your property, you may be concerned that a flat roof will not be as effective as a sloped roof. However, flat a properly built flat roof actually has a barely detectable slope that encourages water to run off, protecting the roof during storms. You can install the same gutter system that you would use with a sloped roof to catch your rainwater and funnel it to your desired destination.
Flat roofs work particularly well in arid regions, which are also the places where alternative building methods are most successful. If you are going green with your building and using an alternative building method, you should consider the benefits of a flat roof for your home. For more information, contact a roofing company such as Right Way Roofing Inc.Share