Low-Slope vs. Steep-Slope Roof: What are the Differences?

At Knickerbocker Roofing & Paving Co. we install both! They call us “the experts” because we know roofing like the back of our hands. You might be wondering how we got so seasoned in roofing systems, styles, and selections… With 129 years of experience (yes, since 1886!) we’ve been installing, fabricating, repairing, replacing and maintaining all types of roofing systems, including low-slope and steep-slope roofs.

Before we jump into the differences between low-slope and steep-slope roofs, let’s take a look at some similarities. Both types of roofs should be installed and maintained properly. The ultimate goal is a safe and secure job site with a quality finish. At Knickerbocker we stick to the slogan “safety first.” As a result, our customers understand that they can trust us with their roofing system installations, repairs and maintenance.

Low Slope Roofs vs. Steep Slope Roofs

Now let’s take a look at the main differences between the two.

Low-slope roofsLow-slope roofs:

  • A roof is considered to be a “low-slope” roof if the pitch of the roof is less than 18 degrees.
  • Low-slope roofs require integral components, including flashing, copings and drains to guarantee drainage and promote a dry, durable, long-lasting roofing system.
  • Insulation, most often polyisocyanurate insulation, offers thermal protection from the cold and heat outside.
  • For low-slope roofs, cover boards offer puncture and additional moisture protection.
  • Underlayment provides moisture and temperature barriers.
  • Acrylic, emulsion, reflective and aluminum coatings add to the durability, waterproofing, and corrosion-resistance qualities of low-slope roofs.

Steep-slope roofs:

  • A roof is considered to be a “steep-slope” roof if the slope is greater than 18 degrees.
  • The installation, repair and maintenance of steep-slope roofs, with their “steeper” needs, require an experienced, full-service roofing company with comprehensive steep-slope capabilities.
  • Steep-slope roofs require underlayment that is appropriate for application.
  • Additionally, we can recommend the appropriate sheet metal to deliver a complete watertight and aesthetically pleasing steep-slope roofing system.
  • Steep-slope roofs are often dramatic and eye-catching.
  • They can be designed and installed with a wide variety of materials, including slate, tile, wood shakes or shingles.

One of the most recent examples of our low-slope installation work can be seen at the Zurich Insurance Office Buildings. The new roofs (totaling over 55,000 square feet) are comprised of modified bitumen roofing over tapered insulation. Also, make sure to check out the historic Monroe Building in Chicago. Their clay tile roof and copper gutter installation is one of our favorite steep-slope roofing projects! For more examples of our work, take a look at our website.

At Knickerbocker, whether you choose a low-slope or a steep-slope roof, we’ll be happy to help you install it! As trusted roofing experts, we stand behind all of the work we do and offer a guarantee on all of our services. Contact us to learn more details about our low-slope and steep-slope roofing services.

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