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How to Change a Flat Roof into a Pitched Roof

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 27, 2019 1:08:00 PM / by Krystal Coddington

Krystal Coddington


You aren’t alone: there are a lot of reasons to dislike your flat roof. Unless, that is, you’re one of the few that like such things, in which case you are in the wrong place and reading the wrong article.

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Advantages to Pitched Roofs Over Flat Roofs

  • Pitched roofs last substantially longer in most climates.
  • Aesthetics are a real consideration here. People generally tend to prefer the style of a pitched roof, especially on residential structures. However, do take the architecture of your home into consideration: pitched roofs look very out of place on certain modern styles, for example.
  • Converting to a pitched roof can generate extra square footage for living space, if finished, or storage. This can come at the cost of extra outdoor space on the flat rooftop, depending on how your roof is set up.
  • Pitched roofs are resilient to most damage, although certainly repairs will still be needed from time to time.
  • One of flat roofs’ most persistent problems is leaking caused by standing water, which pitched roofs avoid entirely.

Related: How Long Does a Flat Roof Last?

How to Change Flat Roof Into a Pitched Roof

The process for converting a flat roof into a pitched roof depends on your individual structure and your individual needs–there is no one size fits all option. Some will choose to keep their pre-existing flat roof on their structure underneath the new pitched roof, to save removal costs…but others might not be able to consider that option, as their building couldn’t support the weight of two roofs.

Generally speaking, most decision points are made before hammer ever strikes nail, such as whether or not to leave the pre-existing flat roof intact or remove it, whether to use trusses or roof frame (which determines if your under-roof space has living area in it), and so forth.

Once these decisions are made, your flat roof will be removed (or not), and the carpentry work will commence. After the new space is framed or trussed, the pitched roof can be installed and any necessary HVAC or interior renovations can be concluded. Finally, finishing touches such as gutters and exterior siding will be added.

Note that if you elect to have your flat roof removed, it may result in displacing the building’s residents for several days while the work progresses.

The Cost of a Remodel From Flat to Pitched

Of course, even if you’re sold on the idea, there are substantial costs involved with any major roof work. The new roof itself can be expensive, but other contractors will also need to be involved, as a major roofing remodel involves more than just the roof. Siding will need to be extended up into the new eaves, and any existing chimneys or HVAC pipes will also need to be extended.

Evaluating the costs of a project like this can be difficult, as they can range significantly depending on region, season, and current costs of materials. However, our research indicates that as a very rough ballpark figure, you should be prepared to spend upwards of $30,000 for an average-sized residential structure.

Related: How to Fix a Leaky Flat Roof?

Why You Shouldn't DIY

Do-it-yourselfing can make a for a wonderful–and productive–hobby, and while it can frequently save you money while ensuring you get exactly the results you’re looking for, this is a type of project which is best left for professionals.

Your roof is one of the most important aspects of a building. After all, one of a person’s basic needs is referred to as “a roof over their head.” Aside from the knowledge and expertise of trained professionals, one of the most significant reasons to avoid DIYing for a project as sweeping and complex as this one is simply the range of things that can (and will) go wrong.

Given the importance of your roof to your home, we suggest consulting with roofing professionals before taking any serious or permanent steps. Not only can you leverage their years of experience having worked on roofs just like yours, but a consultation will also shore up any uncertainties you may run into, such as costs for your area, and give you a better idea of how to move forward.

Krystal Coddington

Written by Krystal Coddington