What Is a Tapered Roofing System?

Tapered Roofing

A tapered roofing system is helpful and the most often required building requirement for many commercial buildings with flat roofs. A tapered roof allows precipitation to flow into the drainage system rather than pool on the surface and potentially leak through the upper membrane. Learn more about tapered roofing systems and the options building owners have when it comes to slope variations.

Commercial Building Code Requirements

The Uniform Building Code nationally suggests that all flat roofs have at least ¼ inch slope per foot. However, some local building codes contradict that guideline, verifying roofing slopes which provide only 1/8 inch slope per foot. It is vital to know the standards of the local municipality before finalizing building plans, but tapered roofing systems can always be added after the fact as well.

How Are Tapered Roofs Installed?

For brand-new builds, the plans should include variations in the height of the roof support beams, resulting in a well-designed slope to facilitate adequate drainage. For a renovation of the current roof, the membrane can be removed and tapered insulation sections placed beneath in a sloping pattern.

Slope Options

Four different slope patterns are commonly used for commercial tapered roofing systems: the shed roof design, the two-way slope, the three-way slope and the four-way slope. The pattern chosen for any commercial roof depends on a number of considerations, including total square footage, drainage systems already in place and other fixtures present on the roof such as skylights, HVAC systems and more.

The shed roof is laid out in a traditional roof format, with a high point leading to a low point, where all precipitation is collected in the draining system.

The two-way slope involves dividing the roof into two sections, with two high points from which the water can drain. Some designs direct the water inward to a roof drain and some direct it outward to a gutter. Since this approach divides the square footage in half, the tapered insulation at each high point is not as thick, providing a break in the cost.

The three-way slope involves building three main slopes all leading to one central drainage point, normally located on the edge of the building.

The four-way slope is constructed by either inverting four surfaces to lead to a central roof drain, or by tilting each slope to create a higher center of the roof where precipitation is led to all four outer sides of the building.

Tapered Roof Benefits

A commercial tapered roofing system provides efficient moisture control, preventing ponding on top of the installed membrane. It also adds a significant level of insulation, harboring interior heat in cold winter weather and decreasing energy costs.

Call Knockout Roofing today to schedule an assessment of your commercial roof and learn about the many ways their professionals can install a customized tapered roofing system to improve the life and effectiveness of your roofing membrane.