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Home | Our Blog | Folded Plate Roof: All You Need to Know

Folded Plate Roof: All You Need to Know

Reviewed by Tomas Kalkys. President.
Qualifications: More than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial exterior remodeling.
Founding farther of Legacy Service.
Written by LegacyUSA Team

posted on July 21, 2021

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Folded Plate Roof: All You Need to Know

Folded plate roofs are most often used for industrial and commercial buildings, but they can also be found on mid-century modern homes. They’re typically chosen because of their high durability and weight-bearing capacity. If you’re a property owner interested in installing or replacing a folded plate roof on your building of choice, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about this type of roofing system.

At Legacy Service, we offer a variety of services to improve the exterior of your residential or commercial property. Whether you’re in need of roofing installation or siding replacement, you can feel free to get in touch with our team at any time.

What is a Folded Plate Roof?

A folded plate roof is best described as an assembly of flat plates, or slabs, that are bent in different directions and joined at their longitudinal edges. The way the structural system is connected makes it capable of carrying loads without requiring the use of additional support beams.

These structures are typically built on-site of precast reinforced concrete, steel plates, or tempered glass. Various shapes include rectangles, pyramids, prisms, and non-rectangular shapes. Since folded plate architecture is less material-intensive than other types of roofing systems used for commercial applications, they’re also usually less expensive.

Where is This Roofing Type Used?

The folding plate structure originated in Germany in the 1920s when it was used for an aircraft hangar at the Orly Airport in Paris, France. The roofing type became commonly used for immense factory buildings and coal bunkers throughout central Europe. It was introduced to North America during the 1930s after World War II.

This roofing type is most often used for industrial and commercial applications. However, it can also be used for mid-century modern homes. We suggest contacting your local roofing experts if you’re interested in the folded plate roof design. They’ll be able to help you decide what would be best for your property.

Are Folded Plate Roofs Still Popular Today?

Folded plate roof structures were introduced to North America in the 1930s after the Second World War. They quickly became popular as a highly accepted and feasible form of construction. The style remains quite popular today, especially for commercial and industrial buildings. Folded roofs offer a variety of benefits, which we’ll discuss in greater detail in the next section.

Folded Roof Pros

Folded Roof Pros

Folded plate roof structures provide an assortment of advantages for property owners. They include:

  • Since they have high durability and weight-bearing capacity, these structures are capable of carrying loads without needing additional support beams. This technology is ideal for large buildings including factories, warehouses, supermarkets, museums, and stadiums.
  • Materials that can be used include steel, glass, and concrete, which help create secure buildings that are filled with usable space.
  • Due to the design of folded plate roof details, both labor and materials are lower in cost than other roofing styles.
  • They’re both easy for architects to design and offer plenty of design options. 

Folded Roof Cons

Folded plates also have a few disadvantages that you should be aware of. They include:

  • The construction of folded plate roofs can be difficult. It requires great accuracy, exceptional labor, and close supervision.
  • Although the basic construction is logical, you’ll need numerical computation for accurate results. This can prove to be tedious.

Folded Roof: Cost to Install

The good news about this roofing style is that it’s often a cost-effective choice for a variety of commercial and industrial buildings. Why? It’s both faster and easier to assemble than other types of roofs, which helps reduce labor costs.

If you’re in need of an estimate for roofing installation or replacement, get in touch with your local roofing contractor. They’ll be happy to walk you through your cost options depending on the style and material you choose.

At Legacy Service, we’re dedicated to providing property owners with the building exterior they deserve. Get in touch if you’re interested in scheduling a consultation with a member of our team.

Folded Plate Roofing Materials

Folded plate roofs can be constructed from a variety of high-quality materials. Ones that are the most often used include steel plate, reinforced concrete, or tempered glass. In the sections below, we’ll discuss each material in detail to help you make a more informed decision. 

When you’re installing or replacing a roof, it’s a good idea to consult with an expert to determine which style of roof and material will work best for you. We recommend getting in touch with your local roofing contractor to get started with your project. They’ll be able to walk you through the process.

Material 1: Steel Plate

Steel is one of the most commonly used materials for this roofing type due to its strength and durability. Steel folded plate roofs not only provide an interesting appearance but also offer the option of having large column-free areas. As for design, a standard module that’s open to prefabrication was created. Design charts have been prepared by experts, and they can be used for the preliminary design of steel frame folded plate roofs without having to use rigorous computer methods. Property owners interested in using steel can contact their local roofing company to get started on their project.

Material 2: Reinforced Concrete

Reinforced concrete is another one of the most popular materials used for folded plate roofs. Like steel, it’s known for both its strength and durability. The basic idea of creating a concrete folded plate roof was to achieve more constructive height and better rigidity while reducing the overall weight of the structure. It’s noteworthy to add that the strength of this type of construction is achieved through the proper design rather than the materials that form it. If you’re interested in concrete folded plate roofs for your property, get in touch with a local roofing contractor as soon as possible.

Material 3: Tempered Glass

Last but not least, tempered glass is the third material that’s most often used for folded plate roofs among property owners. You can use either glass alone or combined with other materials to make various roof, wall, and floor constructions. Whether you select glass or another type of material for your folded plate roof, you can rest assured that the structure will have an intrinsic rigidity and high load-bearing capacity. If you’re a property owner who would like to install tempered glass on your home or business, please do not hesitate to call your local roofing contractors.

Types of Folded Plate Structures

Once you’ve decided that you’d like to install a folded plate roof on your property and you select the material, then it’s time to determine which type of structure would work best for your building. The five main structure types include butterfly-shaped folding plates, V-shaped plates, tapered folding plates, trough-shaped folding plates, and hyped folding plates. 

Folding plate structures are assembled using flat plates, then they are bent in different directions, and finally joined along their longitudinal edges. Modern ones are typically precast steel plates or reinforced concrete. As a shell structure, they consist of a series of thin plates, also known as hipped plates. Folding plates cover large areas, while bent plates are used to cover smaller areas.

In the next section, we’ll discuss each type in more detail to help you decide. You can also get in touch with your local roofing company to receive a consultation with an expert.

Butterfly-shaped Folding Plates

Butterfly-shaped folding plates may not be as widely applied as other types, but they still have their uses. It’s important to keep in mind that they’re commonly used to cover petrol pump roofs and factory roofs as well as provisions for windows.

V-shaped Plate

Among the different types of folded plate structures, V-shaped tend to be the simplest. These types of plates are normally used for short spans since they don’t offer enough surface area for concrete, the bottom, and the top to resist compressive stresses.

Tapered Folded Plates

In many cases, tapered folding plates are mainly used for aesthetic purposes. It’s also important to remember that Z-shaped folding plates are only used for factory construction. The reason for this is that they provide a north-light roof.

Trough-shaped Folding Plates

Unlike V-shaped plates, trough-shaped folding plates will provide sufficient surface area for concrete at the top. They can also resist compressive stresses at the bottom. This type of plate can be used for a long time.

Hyped Folding Plates

Hyped folding plates are a structural type that’s mainly used for two types of projects. These projects include cooling towers in thermal power stations and also tent-shed roofs.

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of folding plates, schedule a consultation with your local roofing professionals.

Shapes and Overall Forms

Not only are folded plate roofs easy for architects to design, but they also offer plenty of design options for property owners. The best part is that they can make any building visually appealing while remaining highly functional.

If you’re wondering what shape would work best for your building, you should research and review the different shapes and overall forms that are available to you. In the next section, we discuss three of the most popular shapes including prismatic, pyramidal, and prismoidal. 

If you’re seeking the opinion of an expert, we recommend getting in touch with your local roofing contractor.

Prismatic (Rectangular plates)

Folded plate structures consist of flat components, known as plates, that are connected along their longitudinal edges. Prismatic is one of the primary types of plates that property owners can select for their roofing structure. What differentiates them from other types is the fact that the plates are rectangular as opposed to another shape. In modern construction, the folded plate structures that are most widely used are made of precast reinforced concrete or cast-in-situ.

Pyramidal (Non-Rectangular plates)

Pyramidal is another one of the main shapes used for folded plate roofing structures. It’s best described as a type of non-rectangular plate. Property owners who’d like to see how pyramidal plates would look on their building should get in touch with their local roofing contractor. Many contractors offer consultations to give owners an idea of what’s best for them as well as a price estimate.

Prismoidal (Triangular or Trapezoidal plates)

The third folded plate shape that we’re going to discuss in this section is called prismoidal. This type is best described as triangular or trapezoidal plates. Depending on the type of appearance you’re going for, prismoidal may be an ideal choice. A roofing professional will be able to review your options to determine which type would be best for the preferences for your building. Folded plate construction is beneficial because it’s simpler to manufacture and requires less material than other types of roofs.

Frequently Asked Questions: Folded Plate Roofs

Frequently Asked Questions: Folded Plate Roofs

If you’re interested in folded plate roofs, then you probably have plenty of questions. In this section, we’ll answer some of the questions that our team is most frequently asked about this type of roofing structure. If you’re still interested in this roofing style, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local roofers to schedule a consultation.

What is a folded plate roof?

Folded plate roofs are assemblies of flat plates that are joined together along their longitudinal edges. The way they are connected allows them to carry loads without needing additional support beams along the edges. These roofing systems are chosen by property owners for their durability and high weight-bearing capacity.

The first roofs originated in Germany during the 1920s; they were constructed for massive factory buildings. They became popular in Russia and North America during the 1930s. It was mainly used for the construction of warehouses back then, but it’s now the preferred solution for commercial buildings, large industrial structures, and even mid-century modern homes.

Why are folded plates economical?

Folded plates are economical over long spans that must be free of internal columns as well as other obstructions. These structures have a more intrinsic rigidity and higher load-bearing capacity than other types of roofing structures. They’re beneficial for property owners because they don’t require additional supporting beams along their mutual edges.

First introduced into the United States in the 1930s, this roofing system quickly became popular for large industrial and commercial buildings. The technology allows the materials to be prefabricated and pre-stressed. Since they’re relatively easy to assemble, this can help shorten installation time and reduce overall costs.

Where are folded plates used?

Folded plates are the preferred roofing solution for large commercial and industrial buildings. They can also be used for modern mid-century homes. They originated in Germany during the 1920s, where they were commonly used for coal bunkers and large factory buildings. After the Second World War, they were introduced into the United States, where they quickly became popular for a variety of large buildings.

If you’re interested in installing a folded plate roofing system, get in touch with your local roofing contractor. Many of them will be willing to schedule a consultation to review your options and determine the best solution for your property.

What is a folded structure?

A folded structure is a set of flat plates that are inclined in different directions and joined along their edges at the top. This type of structure is beneficial because it’s capable of carrying loads without requiring the use of additional support beams. It’s recognized for having many uses, including but not limited to visually appealing roofing of large spans, bunkers in silo structures, sheet piles, and box girders in bridges and overpasses.

The various types of folded plate structures include butterfly-shaped folding plates, v-shaped plates, tapered folded plates, trough-shaped folding plates, and hyped folding plates. Consulting with a professional can help property owners select the type that would work best for them.

What are the basic concepts of folded plates?

If you’re interested in installing a folded plate roof on your building, then you may be interested in the structure’s basic construction concepts. Let’s take a look:

  • First, precast and prestressed folded plate roof elements are placed on a flat surface with hinges between each panel.
  • Next, the elements are transported flat. They’re opened to the desired angles at the construction site.
  • Finally, the joints will be connected and cast in place. This helps unify the structure.

Relatively speaking, folded plate structures are simple to install. The method we discussed was developed in China and is now used in other parts of the world.

Get Started on Your Folded Plate Roof Project!

If you’re interested in replacing or installing your own folded plate roof, then it’s time to get started on your own project. Get in touch with your local roofing contractors to schedule a consultation.

At Legacy Service, we provide installation and replacement services for roofing, siding, windows, doors, and gutters. If you live in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware, please feel free to contact us so that we can help you enhance the exterior of your property. You reach us at 215-798-9790.

Posted on July 21, 2021 in Roof

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