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Keeping Your Congregation Covered: Church Roof Types & Maintenance

Posted on March 6, 2015 by Bill Skubik in Maintenance, Redevelopment

Church roofs can vary remarkably from one church to another; however, they all serve the same purpose of keeping your congregation warm and dry. Your church can be guaranteed comfort for decades, even centuries, with a properly installed and maintained roof.

What should you consider when looking at church roof types?

  1. Cost. The top factor when picking a new roof type is cost, both immediate and anticipated. Extra costs associated with higher quality roofing products will be returned in the additional life expectancy of the new roof.  The initial cost of installing a flat roof is typically less expensive compared to a sloped roof.  However, your geographic location and weather patterns can quickly escalate maintenance costs with a flat roof.
  2. Efficiency.  Flat roofs are the most efficient use of space in that there is no attic to consider for HVAC costs. They are also easily adaptable to technology including solar, vegetative roof,solar reflectance, etc. Sloped roofs provide additional storage space.
  3. Lifespan.  A well installed flat roof can last you an average of 20 years. Sloped roofs often use asphalt shingles that are rated at 20, 25, 30, or 35 years. The average roof life is 5 to 10 years less, depending on climate conditions in your area.
  4. Water Shedding Abilities. A sloped roof with properly installed gutters can quickly and efficiently get water away from your building and foundation.  A flat roof is susceptible to leaks caused by standing water and therefore must be carefully pitched for proper drainage and remain sealed to maintain its water proof integrity.
  5. Maintenance. Flat roofs are easier to access and repair but their sensitive roof membrane can puncture easily.  Standing water from the climate and/or debris can also cause issues. A roofing company that is familiar with both the traditional materials used and their modern counterparts will be beneficial.
  6. Appearance. An additional factor to consider when searching for the right roof is aesthetics. Flat roofs are typically considered more modern and give the option of adding additional square footage with ease.  Sloped roofs appear on more traditional churches.

Depending on your needs and location, both sloped and flat roofs will serve your congregation well as long as they are properly maintained.  The installation and repair of steeples, concealed gutters, and parapets can be very complex. In addition, the building materials used on traditional church roofs present unique problems that sometimes require specialized training. If you are in the market for a new roof or need repairs, be sure to work with a contractor who has specific experience with church roofs.  The time to inspect and repair the roof is when the sun is shining, not when there is already water in your worship space.


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