Garden Office Roofing Guide

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Garden Office Roofing Guide

For many people across the country, working from home has become the new norm. Despite the convenience and no travel, working from home can cause difficulties with lack of space and the general need to have your own peaceful area in which to concentrate. This is where a garden office can deliver the ideal solution. Not only do garden offices provide a fantastic practical purpose but can also add superb value to your home plus are not as tricky to install as you may think.

Why Build My Own Garden Office?

Building your own garden office gives you the freedom to cater to everything you need it for. With a variety of different building options and styles to choose from, creating your own garden office can be stress-free with the right materials and techniques under your belt. With our handy Garden Office Roofing Guide, you can discover the best shape and roofing type for your garden office structure.

Table of Contents

Pitched Roofs vs Flat Roofs

The choice of roofing covering will depend on the shape of the roof you choose for your garden office. Here is a brief overview including pros and cons of both roofing types to help you decide which is best for your structure.

Pitched Roofing

Pitched roofs are a fantastic choice for those looking to create a more traditional look and can coordinate stylishly with classic style homes. When correctly fitted, they are extremely long-lasting with top weather-resistance and a robust build. Pitched roofs also drain rainwater easily thanks to the sloped design which prevents pooling and potential water damages. However, pitched roofs can often be more expensive and time-consuming to install which may be a factor to consider if you are looking to preserve time and money when building your garden office.

Types of Pitched Roofing

There are various pitched roof styles that are popular in garden office design. The most common is the apex or dual pitch roof which features two slopes that meet in the middle at the highest point. This design is great for water drainage, offers extra head space and creates a more traditional look for your office. Another popular design is the single slope or mono pitch roof which features a single slope, forming an incline with the highest point at one full length side. This roofing style creates a minimal, contemporary aesthetic and is also good for minimalizing weather damage caused by rainwater and snow.

Flat Roofing

With a more compact design, flat roofs are great for this kind of project. They create a modern aesthetic for your office plus are a more affordable option with quicker installation times. Although not to the same degree as pitched roofs, flat roofing also still incorporates a slight slope which allows rainwater to drain. The main disadvantage to flat roofs is that they can sometimes offer less durability than pitched roofs although with newer, more robust materials, correct maintenance and proper installation, the lifespan of your office roof can be easily extended.

Cold vs Warm Roofs

There are two main types of roofing insulating systems in flat roof construction which are named cold and warm roofs. Whilst they both achieve insulation; they differ in technique.  

Cold Roof

Cold roofs are often used in garden building design, most commonly with timber frame structures. With a cold roof structure, the insulation is placed between the rafters which is an easy, low-impact insulation method that makes use of unused space. The cold roof technique leaves an average 50mm gap between the top of the insulation and the above roof deck which allows air circulation whilst also allowing cold air to enter, hence the name ‘cold roof’. Cold roofs can be vulnerable to condensation build-up so suitable ventilation is required.

Warm Roof

Warm roofs have now become much more popular in garden office designs as insulation covers the whole roof, leaving no ‘cold spots’. With a warm roof structure, insulation is laid over the top of the roof deck, on top of the vapour control layer and underneath the roof covering. This method keeps the entire roof structure warm, offering enhanced thermal insulation for the whole garden office. As the insulation is fitted on top of the rafters, there is also no problem in fitting recessed downlights.

The Best Roofing Materials for Garden Offices with Pitched Roofs

Cedar Shingles

A hugely popular choice for garden offices, cedar shingles not only create a beautiful, natural aesthetic but are resilient, long-lasting and are supplied from sustainable sources with a low carbon footprint. They have a higher R value than other materials, meaning better insulation to keep your office warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Cedar roofs may require some easy maintenance and can be more expensive than other materials, but the extra cost is down to the practical and visual quality you can achieve. Something to note is that cedar shingles start out as a reddish brown colour and weather to a silver grey over a few years.

Average Lifespan: 40 – 50 Years*

Slate Effect Tiles

A fantastic alternative to traditional slate, slate effect tiles are a light-weight, more affordable option for those who still want to achieve the slate look. They are much to easier to install and come without tricky maintenance so are ideal for those who want a hassle-free roofing choice for their garden office.

Average Lifespan: 20 – 60 Years*

Metal Sheeting

Perfect for creating that bespoke chic finish, metal roof sheets not only looks stylish but is a highly durable choice for your garden office. Metal sheets are resistant to fire, rot, insects and mildew plus are easy to install with little maintenance needed. Appealing to some, metal sheeting will allow the soothing sound of rain on a stormy day although it can be fitted with extra insulation if you prefer the sound of silence when working. The only real disadvantages to metal sheeting are that it can be more expensive and isn’t invulnerable to some dents and scratches over its lifetime.

Average Lifespan: 40 – 70 Years*

Felt Shingles

The first choice for many garden office designers, bitumen shingles are lightweight, yet highly durable and waterproof plus are available in multiple colours to create the perfect roofing look for you. They are affordable and easy to install, ideal for DIY homeowners looking for an uncomplicated garden office option.

Average Lifespan: 30 - 40 Years*

* estimate with correct installation, care & maintenance

The Best Roofing Materials for Garden Offices with Flat Roofs


EPDM has become a go-to roofing choice for flat garden office roofs thanks to its impressive durability and robust resistance to harsh weather conditions. This thick rubber sheeting offers a lifespan of up to 50 years with simple maintenance plus is usually manufactured using recycled rubber for environmental benefit.

Average Lifespan: 50 Years*

Living Roofs

Ideal for immersing your garden office into the natural environment, a living roof is a stylish alternative to just EPDM alone. Living roofs incorporate a waterproof membrane, a water-retentive fleece sublayer and soil and a layer of growing medium. A living roof offers an array of advantages like reduced carbon footprint, enhanced insulation, and easy maintenance plus is a haven for garden wildlife.

Average Lifespan: 30 – 50 Years*

Insulated Roof Panels

Insulated roof panels incorporate two layers of robust colour coated steel with an insulation layer in between. These roof panels are a popular choice for a DIY garden office project as they remove the need for framework which in turn significantly reduces material costs. The downside to this is that you don’t have the option of recessing lights into the ceiling. Quick and easy to install, your office roofing can be finished in just a few hours, ideal for someone with a tighter timeframe.

Average Lifespan: Up to 40 Years*


Popular for its easy maintenance and top durability, fibreglass roofing is a wet-applied membrane that combines glass fibres and polyester. Although it can be more expensive, fibreglass is a long term roofing solution for your garden office that when correctly installed, is fully waterproof and provides high-quality protection against potential damage.

Average Lifespan: 25 – 30 Years+*

* estimate with correct installation, care & maintenance

Why Install a Roof Window on Your Garden Office?

Adding roof windows to your roofing structure is a fantastic way of introducing natural light into your garden office. They can lessen the need for more electrical lighting used in the daytime, reducing the running cost of your garden office. Roof windows can be installed in flat and pitched roof designs and are also a fantastic way of enhancing the ventilation of your garden office. Designers suggest using a roof window in the back end of the office that would otherwise be darker.

So, what next?

After carefully reading through the benefits and setbacks of each roofing idea, evaluate which kind of roofing will best suit the needs of yourself and your garden office. With each option displaying a variety of advantages, ensure you accommodate both the practicalities and visual design of the garden office you want to create.

If you have any more questions about choosing the ideal roofing for your garden office project, get in touch with our award-winning customer service team. They can be reached via telephone on 01295 565 565 or the live chat on our website.

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