Ever wonder why roofs are almost always shaped as triangular prisms? When conventional wisdom would suggest that flat rooftops seem simpler to build, and definitely more ‘useful’.
Turns out conventional wisdom is wrong. The sloping effect of the prism is helpful when it rains, snows, or when you are not a fan of clearing fallen leaves and debris from the roof, which may accumulate in the case of a flat-top. Moreover, triangular roofs are preferred as they are more stable and require less material to construct than a rectangular prism. But who would want to bother with choosing and replacing roof shingles every time?
Certainly where it doesn’t rain or snow often, flat rooftops are the way to go. They do have wider applications, especially if you don’t like maintaining your lawns, or are generally cramped for space. Digressing a bit here, the beauty of roof art lies in how they come in different shapes and sizes round the world. Europe and the West largely opted for the prism based design, but flat roofs are common throughout Asia. Many times used alongside a sloping half prism. And then there’s the customary oriental surprise- pretty- looking roofs that sag like a tent, conical, domed, umbrella-shaped and even an inverted umbrella. Since Asians host more guests anyway, that brings us back to using flat roofs for barbecue cookouts and more space for the guests to sleep. Flat roofs are a must if you are an Arab wanting open-air hookah right at home. If you are from the third world, there is plenty of cool fresh air on top even when there is no electricity. Without flat tops, we would be losing several cultural sports plus abridged versions of popular ones- cricket, football, etc.
Do you know flat roofs with raised ends were historically used to store rain water in arid regions? Further, they require even lesser material to build than triangular prisms, so installation costs are low. The key is the clever use of PVC- fiberglass insulation and proper drainage to make sure the roof lasts long.
With flat rooftops, the possibilities are endless. One may even keep pets there. So if you like gazing at the stars, a quick smoke, flying a kite, cherish late night conversations at the rooftop, your son owns a telescope, or just to achieve a certain visual appearance, go for a flat roof. Easy to access. Easy life.