Low Slope and No Slope Roof Considerations for Buildings in Park City, Utah

 

Low slope and no slope roofs are the latest craze in mountain town commercial and residential buildings. For good reason, too — they are not only cost-effective but also aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

However, as with any roof installation, there are many things to consider for a low slope roof in a city such as Park City, Utah. When you’re in a climate where the winters are cold and snowy, but the summers are hot and dry, your roof needs to be prepared for both.

 

Material

The material you select for your low slope roof depends on many factors, two of the biggest being the pitch of the roof and the climate of the environment your building will live in. If you’re building in Park City, Utah with hopes of a low slope or no slope roof, we recommend these three materials:

  • — Hot applied waterproofing membrane: a premium waterproof membrane for buildings with a flat roof aesthetic that have a slope less than 2:12. This membrane is also ideal for green roofs, protected ballast roofs, paver roofs, paver plaza decks, decks over living spaces, and more.
  • — Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO): a cost-effective technique using single ply membrane and hot air to connect the seams.
  • — Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM): a synthetic rubber solution with good durability.

 

Aesthetic

The two primary aesthetic components to consider are the pitch of the roof and the color.

A roof pitch is a measure of the steepness of your roof. This is measured in inches per horizontal foot. The higher the pitch, the more steep your roof is.

 

What roof pitch qualifies for a low slope roof?

A roof is considered “low slope” if for every 12 units horizontal, there are no more 4 units vertical. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when deciding how you will design your material.

It’s been a recent trend to angle roof pitch inwards instead of outwards, like pictured below.

 Angling inwards like this can become a large issue for water when snow and ice melt in the spring — all of the water is going to rush directly into your building. Remember: roofs are designed to shed water, not hold water.

And even if you angle outwards, you’ll still need to consider a drainage system to ensure water is being taken away from your building and not collecting right outside of it.

When it comes to choosing colors options for your materials, be sure to consider the climate. Park City summers are extremely hot and winters are extremely cold. Dark colors will absorb and hold heat. Light colors will not conduct as much heat and are more likely to reflect some of it back.

 

Insulation

When building in a city like Park City, you’ll want to opt for cold roof insulation. Meaning the roof framing is external to the thermal envelope of your building. It goes: dry wall, air barrier, insulation and ventilation, roof framing, and then the roof itself.

In some cases, there may not be enough room within or under the wood framing to add insulation. A vaulted ceiling is an example of where you may encounter this. If this is the case, there are insulation assemblies to install on top of roof sheathing to create the thermal break.

Cold roof insulation will ensure the warmth of the building cannot melt the snow. If the warmth of the building does melt the snow, the snow acts as insulation and water collects between the roof and the building, causing water buildup that could lead to damage.

Proper insulation will only get you so far — you’ll also need to install a drainage system to continuously carry the melted snow, ice, and rain away from your building.

 

Plumbing

The most common drainage systems you’ll see in buildings are:

  1. Roof or deck drains (interior)
  2. Scuppers + Downspouts
  3. Gutters + Downspouts

Gutters are installed on the edge of a roof with the intention of collecting water and carrying it to the next part of the drainage process — ideally to either a downspout or another roof that has been designed to shed water or drain it with roof drains .

A downspout is a horizontal pipe fastened to the side of the building. Water from the gutters is carried into the downspout, travels down, and is then flushed out and away from the building.

A scupper is an opening where water flows into and is then moved into either a gutter or a downspout to continue the drainage process.

Something our team of experts commonly see is buildings with a lack of drains. Architects and engineers can calculate the appropriate amount of drains based on expected water flow. Whether you’re the building owner or the general contractor, don’t forget to check this box during your project.

 

Installation + Maintenance

A low slope roof has many requirements to ensure its longevity and preserve the integrity of your building. Because of this, we strongly recommend you work with experts for the installation and maintenance. Viotell prides itself on quality-focused manufacturing and installation. If you’re looking for a partner on your next low slope roof building project in the Park City area or surrounding neighborhoods like The Preserve, Tuhaye, Glendwild, and more — connect with us here.

 

Anthony Ortega, COO & Partner

Anthony Ortega is a dynamic and results-driven executive with a proven track record of fostering growth and innovation. With extensive experience in business operations and high-functioning business acumen, Anthony has consistently demonstrated his ability to integrate and optimize complex business processes.

As the Chief Operating Officer of VIOTELL, Anthony oversees all facets of the company’s operations, finance, fabrication, vendor relationships, and client success. His strategic leadership and expertise in operational excellence have been instrumental in driving the company’s sustained growth and competitive edge.