What Flat Roofing Can You Walk On?

Top view dark flat roof with air conditioners of a modern white red yellow apartment building.

The importance of a roof on any structure cannot be overstated. Not only is this something that adds a lot of protection against the elements, but it’s also something that’s going to greatly assist with the strength of the structure, tying everything together, if you will. Though there are different types of roofs out there. With residential roofing, like what you will find on houses, you’re dealing with a sloped roof that’s a lot more aesthetic per its purpose. With commercial roofs, however, you will typically have a flat surface. The cool thing about a flat roof is that you can actually walk on it, and some of these roofs even have living spaces outside, like kitchens and patios and bars.

Flat roofing has a ton of different benefits, and it’s something that architects think about a lot, as they devise more and more ways to get functionality out of a roof. It increases living space by either offering a place to put a patio, kitchen, etc, or it makes a lot more room in the main building by being able to put different necessities up there like HVAC units. But not every flat roof is built the same. Here’s some info on roofs and walking.

Can You Walk on Roofs?

The first thing you should know about roofs is that every single one, residential or commercial, was technically built to be walked on. Look at a small home with a sloped roof. The trusses and the plywood surface has to be strong enough for the roofers to walk on in order to put down the underlayment, the roofing felt, and then ultimately the shingles. Then you have to assume people are going to be walking around sometimes to inspect the roof, or to change the shingles out. So, to be clear, roofs were made to be walked on.

The difference here we’re trying to emphasize is basically the difference between a roof being constructed strong enough to walk on, and a roof that was made to be walked on. You find with flat roofing that it was created for that purpose in many instances. This is a roofing type that was developed much stronger with the idea of people and objects in mind. So it’s rated for a whole lot more weight and usage in this regard. To that end, not every flat roof is quite that strong or rated that well. Let’s go over the roofs that you can actually walk on to that extent.

Flat Roofs Were Made for This

Keep in mind that with some buildings, it was put into the plans that they would have outdoor gardens, kitchens, bars, gathering spaces, etc. So these roofs were made very strong. Even for roofs that aren’t rated for actual outdoor living, they’re still rated to be walked on and worked on without any issue, due to the fact that these roofs are still going to have to hold a lot of heavy items and provide access to people who install and maintain these items.

Strongest Types of Flat Roofs


The first thing we think of when looking into strong flat roofs are apartments. Especially city apartments in tall buildings, these roofs very often have overlook decks, gathering spaces, patios, and it’s where some people go to hang their clothes out on the line and to do other things. These roofs are certainly very tough. They’re not typically that large, but you can walk on them. With most of them, they end up with multiple people gathering on them for everyday tasks or special occasions. So they were created specifically to be able to hold up to this.

Large Scale Buildings

Any large commercial building also has a roof that can be walked on. You might not find the outdoor living spaces, but whether it’s a hospital, school, a factory, or any other sort of large commercial building, this is where the HVAC system and other sorts of systems go, and they need to be installed and worked on, so you can walk on them.

Flat roofs are pretty cool, but they should only be handled by the pros. If you need repairs or the installation of a flat roof, make sure you contact a qualified professional.