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Tiny house flat roofs explained – Are they the best solution?

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the tiny house flat roof on the ibot tiny house

Flat roofs are perfect for tiny homeowners looking for an easy and inexpensive, yet durable roof for their property.

While tiny house flat roofs have lots of benefits, there are also many things to be aware of.

Flat roofs have historically been known to be used for larger homes as the design dates back to Ancient Egypt and Persia. However, they are very popular within the tiny house community.

A flat roof is exactly what it sounds like. A completely flat surface with no pitch to it. The pitch of a roof is the angle of it, and of course these being flat have no angle.  Regardless, making sure it’s secure is the most important thing because roofs in general are a huge part of the foundation of your home. 

While there are many different kinds of roofs available for tiny homes (such as tiny house curved roofs), flat designs are one of the most inexpensive options out there.

In this article we’ll cover the pros and cons of tiny house flat roofs, how to construct them, as well as some key considerations you must make before choosing one. Let’s go.

Can a tiny house have a flat roof?

Yes, tiny houses can have flat roofs. In fact, tiny house flat roofs have become popular recently and are on the rise for homeowners everywhere.

Tiny house companies do not always use flat roofed homes for the looks or glamour, although some people say that flat roofs are timelessly chic.

The flat roof on the Charme tiny house

What to consider when choosing your flat roof design

One of the most important parts to owning a tiny home is ensuring the safety and security of the roof, so investing in one that is functional and high quality is important. 

Before building a flat roof for your tiny home it is important to know both their advantages and disadvantages.

As mentioned above, flat roof designs do not have an angle to them. They are made with an underlayer and topcoat. Check out below to see the pros and cons of having a flat roof. 

Pros of tiny house flat roofs

One of the biggest benefits tiny homeowners report is the inexpensiveness of building and maintaining these kinds of roofs.

One expensive part of roofing and home owning in general is keeping the home insulated. Thankfully with tiny homes in general they are cheaper to keep insulated as the smaller space holds more heat.

Nevertheless, in an area where it gets below freezing temperatures it can still be expensive to keep tiny homes heated. Tiny house flat roofs are pretty cheap to insulate at about 80 cents per square foot.

Of course, every home is different, and some owners may opt for more expensive materials.

In general, though flat roof homes are easy to put up giving owners options for various materials.

The Bitser tiny house by Build Tiny

The other benefit and cost saver of a flat roof is the ability to place other things on it.

Some tiny homeowners put solar panels on their flat roof homes which are extremely ideal looking for people to save money on heating and cooling their homes. This also means it’s easier for inspections to take place on top of flat roofs than ones with slopes to it.

The flat roof space can also be used for functional purposes such as outdoor lounging or having a tiny house rooftop garden.

I mean to be honest, who wouldn’t want to be able to stargaze from their roof?

Cons of tiny house flat roofs

Firstly, one disadvantage of flat roofs is as the area increases the stability decreases.

This shouldn’t be a problem for the majority of tiny homes but it’s still something to keep in mind. Tiny house flat roof materials can last about 10-15 years.

One other common disadvantage of a flat roof for your tiny home is the extra risk of leaking. Because flat roofs lack a slope, this often prevents water from draining properly.

To ensure the maximum efficiency of your flat roof home, the topcoat and underlayer must be perfectly sealed.

They are also not extremely ideal with heavy winter weather conditions as the build up of snow can sometimes be too heavy and damaging to the flat roof surfaces. 

How to build a flat roof on your tiny house

While there are many steps to getting the foundation of your tiny home together in order to lay the flat roof (e.g. having flooring and side panes build and the shell and rafters constructed), we are going to assume those are taken care of.

Laying a flat roofed home is easy and efficient once you have the base and materials to get started.

Here are some points to remember when you construct your tiny house flat roof:

Roof Decking

Installing your roof decking either with OSB or Plywood will ensure a sturdy foundation for the underlayer of the roof.

This is pretty simple. Just use a nail hammer to nail your wood to your rafters. 

Roofing Paper

Roofing paper is an important step in weather and water proofing your roof.

Tiny house flat roofs already come with a risk of their own in regards to water damage, so don’t skip this step.

With a typical roof it is recommended to start from the lowest point and work your way up. The nice thing about flat roofs are that this isn’t an issue and can be laid out pretty smoothly.

The paper comes in decent sized rolls. Simply roll these over the roof decking and staple them down with a nail gun.

With flat roof homes it’s important to make sure the seams are sealed extra properly.

Access water that sits on flat roof tops have potential to drip through so these should be imperative to the process.   

Drip Edge Flashing

Another water and weatherproof piece that is very important.

This is a metal beam that goes on the corner parts of the roof. These are also placed with a nail gun. 

Install roof shingles

The last, final and honestly easiest part. Simply lay your panels down.

Other materials such as solar panels could be laid down at this part too. And begin nailing your panels to the deck with roofing nails. 

Options for tiny house flat roofs


While there are many different materials on the market for tiny homes in general, it is a little more limited when searching for proper materials to build a flat roof. The best and most common materials are as follows:

  • Metal Panels: One of the most common flat top roof materials. These are easy to find and easy to build with and lay. Prices for these range around $75-350 per 100 square feet! 
  • Ceramic Tiles: While these aren’t quite as common, they are still an ideal choice for having a solid surface as a roof. Although sometimes heavy, it may be harmful if you live somewhere with winters that get heavy snowfall. These cost on average $2-$10 per square foot. 
  • Asphalt Shingles: Shingles can come in various materials although asphalt is beneficial for its choice of bold or neutral colors. They are also durable and reported to be great against weather impact. Price points for these average at about $100-$150 per square of shingles. 
Asphalt shingles for tiny house flat roofs

Size and dimensions

Flat roofs are easy to work with in size dimensions because well, they’re flat.

They only have a height and width to them. No messing around with the angle of the pitch.

Individual size dimensions will depend on the size and coverage of the tiny home. 

Roof pitch

Flat roofed homes have no pitch. The pitch is the slope or the angle of the roof.

So for example, many larger and standard houses that have dutch or gable roofs have triangular slopes and angled pitches.

Flat roof homes take out the hassle in having to deal with the extra detail that goes into perfect and upkeep with the roof pitch.