Upgrading A Flat Roof to Pitched – A Beginner’s Guide

Flat roofs are a common feature on properties across the UK, whether it’s on a garage, extension or the entire building. In most cases, they’re used because they’re quicker and cheaper to install. But given the various benefits of a pitched roof, it’s understandable that some people want to upgrade their flat roof.

In this post, we’ll discuss the practicalities, benefits and costs when upgrading a flat roof to a pitched one.

Benefits of a flat-to-pitched conversion

First of all, it’s worth looking at the reason behind a flat-to-pitched conversion. While flat roofs are cost-effective in the short term, they’re much more prone to leaks than their pitched counterparts. Flat roofs typically have a small slope of less than 1 degree (1:80 as a ratio). That makes it easier for water to run off, but over time water can eventually pool on the roof as the materials wear away and timbers deflect,  as is their characteristic.

As many flat roof owners will know, they need a lot more maintenance to prevent leaks, as well as requiring replacement much more frequently. Even with the best materials and flawless installation, flat roofs are limited to around 30 years.

Pitched roofs are much better at resisting water, as they use longer-lasting materials and have a much higher slope for water to run off. The result is less maintenance and a longer lifespan of 60+ years for tiles and upwards of 80 years for slate.

They’re also more visually appealing than flat roofs, which could add to the value of your property – as well as the kerb appeal, depending on where the flat roof is currently.

Can I upgrade from flat to pitched?

The next question when it comes to flat-to-pitched upgrades is whether it’s possible. In the vast majority of cases, the answer is yes.

If your entire property has a flat roof – as many commercial buildings do – then you will require planning permission to convert it to a pitched roof. That’s because the conversion will surpass the highest part of the existing roof.

However, if you’re simply converting the flat roof on your extension, it will usually count as a permitted development. Single storey extensions are permitted up to 4m in overall height, meaning your pitched roof can be added as long as it doesn’t push your extension past this threshold. It’s also important that the materials used are similar to that on your existing roof.

With double-storey extensions, things are a bit trickier. You’ll need to make sure the eaves aren’t higher than the eaves of the house and ensure the pitch of the roof doesn’t extend beyond the pitch of the primary roof of your house, as well as staying within the permitted height limit of 6m for double-storey extensions (or 8m for detached houses).

How much does it cost?

As you can imagine, the cost of replacing a flat roof to a pitched roof depends almost entirely on the size of the roof. The average cost listed on Checkatrade is £3,000 to £4,500, which is a rough estimate based on smaller flat roofs like extensions and garages.

The cost will be much higher for properties where the whole roof is flat, as the area that needs a pitch adding will be much greater. There will also be an added cost for certain materials, with natural slate being the most expensive (but also the most long-lasting) roofing material compared to clay or concrete tiles. Always check if planning permission is required.

Converting your flat roof

If you’re ready to enjoy the long-term benefits that come with a pitched roof, DPR Roofing can provide the slate or tiled roof you need.

Working with major tile suppliers including Sandtoft, Marley, SIG, Burtons, JTD and specialist reclamation yards, we can find the closest match to your existing roof for domestic projects. We’ll then install a pitched roof to replace your flat roof with all work guaranteed for full peace of mind.

Alternatively, we can install full pitched roofs for commercial properties, working to your specific requirements. Want to find out more? Give us a call on 0113 335 0043 or email [email protected].