If you have ever been to the Big Apple’s most populous borough of Manhattan or “The City,” as it’s locally called, then you probably have marveled at its sheer number of flat roofing. Hundreds of New York City offices and apartment buildings have flat roofing, a tradition that dates back to over 60 years ago.
But perhaps you are wondering why such is a norm, especially in a city as vibrant as NYC!
Well, I know, New York City isn’t exactly a “northern, snowy city,” although sometimes, the extreme weather conditions threaten to force it to look like one. For a city that seemingly belongs to the same latitude as historic European cities of Rome, Sofia, and Barcelona, the reason for its structures to have flat roofing should be easy to decipher.
The flat roof material itself responds well to local weather conditions, works well in densely populated areas with tall buildings and maximizes space. On a different note, some even attribute it to the city’s romantic connotation.
I will now elaborate on these points:
NYC is a place whose structures are mostly multi-story apartment buildings with flat roofing that is pitched at an angle towards the drainage system so that the snow slides off towards the sidewalks. These flat exteriors serve the city well from a plumbing perspective.
New York City receives an average yearly snowfall of 25-inches which occurs an average of 11 days a year. Hence, the flat roofing systems that are prevalent in Manhattan are designed with several drainage systems scattered across the roof to ensure the snow get disposed of.
Also, the fact that flat roofing is relatively inexpensive to install and may require little maintenance is a huge win for developers and apartment dwellers. Technically, it is a matter of design and economics since the commonly used materials like bitumen and asphalt-type substances don’t cost much and last longer. Any maintenance procedure is easy to do as well, given that it’s just a flat roof. Although sloped shingles roof may be a bit more visually appealing on a residential home, it's aesthetic value is diminished when considering the height of the average NYC flat roof.
In the 1960s, there was a popular hit song by "The Drifters" called “Up On the Roof,” a beat that talked about two inner-city lovers who would climb up to the roof to avoid the city’s incessantly filled streets. Today is no different as parties atop NYC structures, what they call the ‘Fifth Wall’ are perfectly normal.
Other reasons why structures in the Big Apple feature flat roofing include the fact that such a style helps significantly slash the operating costs in multiple ways. First, the exterior foundation isn’t sloped, which simply means AC units can sit on the roof where vandalism and accidents are rare to happen. Also, a flat roof simply means you get a more efficient use of top-floor space, including making it a recreation spot, throwing firecrackers, sunbathing or throwing fun parties.
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Royal Roofing & Siding Brooklyn 2380 Ralph Avenue Brooklyn , NY 11234 (718) 536-2667