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Steep Slope and Low Slope: Which Type of Roofing Material Should I Use on My Home?

July 27th, 2022 | 7 min. read

Steep Slope and Low Slope: Which Type of Roofing Material Should I Use on My Home?

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Not all roofs are built the same. No, that’s not a dig at your previous roofing contractor, I swear. Structurally speaking, each type of roof has its unique composition. A gable roof is built differently than a mansard roof, just as a saltbox roof is built differently from a butterfly roof, and so forth. You get the picture.

 

Roofs are predictable in this way, especially steep and low slope roofs. Each roof has a specific structure, which is why we roofers can rest assured that when we arrive at your home for an inspection, repair, or replacement, we can expect what we’re going to see. However, that’s just the structure. What about the roofs that have the incorrect material?

 

Yes, you read that right. It’s possible to have the incorrect material installed on your roof, and that’s the can of worms that’s getting opened within this article. Why? RoofCrafters has been in business for nearly 30 years, and we’ve seen our fair share of steep and low slope roofs that are installed with a less than desirable material placed upon them, and we want to put a stop to that.

 

As a homeowner with a steep slope or low slope roof, you deserve to be educated on which type of material will look best and operate functionally. So, by the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of steep and low slope roofing, as well as which types of materials work best for each. Let’s jump right in! 

 

What Is a Steep Slope Roof?

 

black metal standing seam roofUnless you’re a roofing connoisseur like myself, you may not know the difference between a steep slope and low slope roof. That’s okay! Let’s start with steep slope, shall we? A steep slope roof is what you most frequently tend to see around your neighborhood, and is pretty much the standard for most residential areas.

 

Both steep and low slope roofs are classified by their pitch. The roof pitch is simply the steepness of your roof expressed by how many inches the roof rises for every 12 inches in depth. That being said, steep slope roofs have a pitch of no less than 18:12 degrees. So, next time you’re driving around your neighborhood, look out for this common and popular type of roof. 

 

What Is a Low Slope Roof?

 

Flat-Roof-Porch-Home

Low slope roofing, steep roofing’s counterpart is essentially exactly what it sounds like - a roof with a low slope. A low slope roof is most commonly classified by its pitch of 0-3:12. Low slope roofs are not as commonly seen in residential areas, but when they are, they’re usually extending from the home to act as a carport, or even a covering for your front porch. 

 

They’re considered standard in commercial and industrial buildings, as these spaces require a significant amount of square footage compared to a home. For commercial facilities and buildings, this design is cost-effective and allows for a sleek design.               Photo credit: Modernize Home Services

(Installing a low-slope roof on the entirety of a home is not as common)

 

Which Type of Roofing Material Should I Use on My Roof?

 

When it comes to steep and low slope roofs, they’re vastly different when it comes to the types of material they require. Common steep slope roofing materials include:

 

 

Whereas common low Slope Roofing materials include: 

 

  • Modified bitumen (self-adhering and torch down)
  • TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin)
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • Metal panels

Asphalt Shingles

 

large home with designer asphalt shingles

 

Asphalt shingles are a type of waterproof roofing material. They’re relatively inexpensive cost in addition to their longevity and durability making them a popular choice. These shingles are made up of a base mat on the bottom, a layer of waterproof asphalt in the middle, and ceramic granules on top. Shingles are a perfect choice for a steep slope roof and will function well on this structure. 

 

 

 

Clay or Concrete Tiles

 

Clay and concrete tiles are not only a highly aesthetically-pleasing roofing option for many homeowners but a great option for those of you facing the brunt of this hurricane season. These tiles come in a variety of colors customized to match the architecture of your home and are a popular choice amongst upscale communities. As for the type of roof this material works best on, steep slope is your guy. 

 

Metal

home with shingles and metal roofing-1

 

Metal roofs are sleek, aesthetically pleasing, and offer great curb appeal potential for your home. Metal roofs can be installed on both steep and low slope roofs, here’s how: On a steep slope roof, metal can cover your entire home. However, if you have a low slope roof with an extending carport or porch area, metal panels can be installed to add a pop of style to these flatter surfaces. 

 

Slate

 

Slate tiles are naturally beautiful and have a longer lifespan compared to many other roofing materials. Slate roofs oftentimes come with a 50-year warranty, and are made from high-quality metamorphic rock, which can last you well past 100 years with proper maintenance. Slate tiles pair best with a steep slope roof. 

 

Wood Shakes

 

Cedar Shake roof

 

Last but not least on the list is wood shakes. Wood shakes are rustic wooden shingles that are made from split logs. This type of material will look and operate best on a steep slope roof. 

 

Self-Adhering Modified Bitumen

 

Self-adhering modified bitumen is a roofing material made of bituminous membranes that provide an effective, long-lasting system when applied to a low slope roof. 

 

TPO and PVC

 

flat roof

TPO is a single-ply roofing membrane and is one of the fastest-growing roofing materials on the market. This material is made up of a layer of synthetic, reinforcing material that is used to cover your low slope roof. 

 

Like TPO, PVC is a single-ply roofing material. It’s made from a low percentage of petroleum and oil and is a great addition to a slope roof. 

 

       Photo credit: Home Remodeling Costs Guide

 

Which Type of Roofing Material Should I Use on My Home?

 

Whether you have a steep slope roof or a low slope roof, you now understand the different types of materials that can and should be used on your roof. If you were to install asphalt shingles that are primarily used on a steep slope roof onto a low slope roof, you’d be met with many issues. 

 

These problems could range from:

 

  • Pooling water after storms
  • Accumulated debris
  • Unnecessary added weight
  • Leaks

 

And that’s just shingles. Be sure to use the appropriate materials on your steep or low slope roof, and you’ll avoid any potential problems.

 

Finding a qualified contractor in your area that understands the specific needs of a steep or low slope roof may seem tricky, but with our “Top 10 Most Critical Questions You want to Ask Your Potential Roofing Contractor”, finding a roofer you feel most comfortable to complete the job will be a breeze.

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If you believe your steep or low slope roof currently has improper materials installed, and you’re suffering roof leaks and other unsightly issues, as a result, drop us a line on our contact page. One of our friendly representatives will schedule an inspection at your earliest convenience, and have your roofing crisis averted as soon as possible! 

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