Will a Shallow or Steep Pitched Roof Last Longer?

February 28, 2023

There is a reason why throughout the Carolinas you see the classic holiday card pitched roof. While in New Mexico, many homes have flat roofs; however, neither is necessarily better. What determines if a shallow or steep pitched roof is right for you depends on your location and weather.

Then you have to consider other aspects such as ventilation and shingle type. To put it simply, the steep of the roof is not the only thing to consider. In fact, you could go so far as to consider what trees are near your home.

Consider Heavy Rains

Even further inland, South Carolina experiences heavy rain through various parts of the year. Rain can be one of the biggest factors for the life of your roof, especially when paired with high winds. A shallow pitched roof may not lead to pooling water the way that a flat roof will, but it can take on more damage. With a shallow pitch, the leaves and other debris on your roof won’t get the chance to roll off as easily before the rain comes. Then when it does start raining the water will wash away the debris into the gutter system and likely clog the entire system.

In the middle of heavy rains, a clogged system will lead to shingle damage, and possibly water damage. That’s not saying that steeper pitches don’t come with the same risk. However, with a steeper pitch, gravity is likely to get leaves and other debris to roll into the gutters before it starts raining. Then you can clean the gutters or install gutter nets to prevent clogs.

Surrounding Greenery

This aspect is a double-edged sword. If you have a lower steeped roof, then it’s likely that your roof will catch a lot more sun. Sun damage is hard on any roof. However, if you have a lot of surrounding trees, or coverage, then you don’t have to worry so much. Until it rains. As just mentioned above, a lot of tree coverage for your roof will likely lead to clogged gutter systems, debris on your roof, and ultimately water damage.

However, if your roof doesn’t have tree coverage, it will take on a lot of sun damage. You can’t do anything about sun damage other than waiting it out and eventually make repairs or a replacement.

If you have a lot of surrounding trees, then you could have a low-pitched roof with less risk of sun damage. In that case, you would need to set up regular cleaning or maintenance schedules for your roof.

Snowfall and Ice Dams

The example above between the steep-pitches you see here in South Carolina, and the flat-roofs in New Mexico comes down to one issue. Snowfall. In South Carolina, there is regular and frequently heavy snowfall. Even if you have a light year, there is the chance of ice dams, your home living under the extra weight, and damage to your shingles.

A steep pitched roof is most common in areas with heavy snowfall because they distribute the weight of the snow. In essence, it encourages the snow to “roll-off” before it gathers so much density that it strains the structure of the roof.

With a shallow pitched roof, cave-ins are more likely, and so are ice dams. An ice dam occurs when the snow has fallen, partially melted, and then refrozen. These are dangerous and highly-damaging. If you live in a region that sees snowfall through the winter season, you probably need a steeper pitch.


The common misconception is that shallower roofs have fewer maintenance needs. However, when you look at where shallow pitches are common, they often have fairer weather. That’s where this myth stems from, a shallow pitch will need the same amount or possibly more maintenance.

If your home is subject to adverse weather or has a lot of sun exposure, then a shallow roof will need maintenance. In fact, it will likely need regular maintenance. Now, a steep pitched roof also needs maintenance, and because they’re in moist areas that often see a lot of rain and snow, they may need more. Keep in mind as well that nearly all roofs will require occasional shingle replacement and cleaning treatments.

Contact Anderson Metal Roofing

If you are starting to consider a roof replacement or are building your home, then you need a roof consultation. Contact our offices at Anderson Metal Roofing & Shingles to speak with an experienced roofing contractor about your options. We’ve spent years helping the Anderson, SC community and we know that we can help you too. Call us now or complete our online form.

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