Flat roofs are common in many residential areas where housing tends to extend upward, rather than outward. As simple as they are, flat roofs do present some challenges for a roofing services business, since roofing must be waterproof, unlike the roofing materials used on many other buildings. For flat roofs, a roofing company will usually turn to one of the following types of durable roofing materials, which reliably handle the need for seamless, waterproof roofing.
EPDM or TPO Membrane Roofing
EPDM and TPO membrane roofs have become the a very popular roofing for flat, and slightly-pitched roofs today. They are comprised mostly of rubber, along with some other ingredients for added stability and durability. Made largely from recycled tires and other rubber and plastics, these roofs are durable against hail damage and cracking, and very easy to install by a good roofing company; although they are more expensive than built up roofing (BUR) options. Although these membrane roofs are predominantly produced in black, they are now also available in energy efficient white and lighter colors as well; aiding in the reduction of energy costs by reflecting UV light. EPDM and TPO roofs are also light and extremely resilient to damage due to expansion and contraction. This type of roof also helps to prevent damage caused by UV light, making it the most preferred material for flat roofs today.
BUR or Built-Up Roofing
Built-up roofing is the traditional method of flat roofing, and also the least expensive; however, this method is quickly being replaced with cleaner, easier, and more cost efficient rubber roofing. Basic built-up roofing is made of hot tar and gravel, which roofing services spread across the surface of the roof. These roofs are durable, inexpensive, fire-retardant, and easy to install; but there are some disadvantages, as well. Built-up roofs are extremely heavy, which can be a problem on some older structures, making it undesirable in these situations. They are also messy to apply, not particularly environmentally friendly, and can increase cooling costs in summer since this type of roofing absorbs heat.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
Another type of BUR, known as modified bitumen roofing, is something like a combination of built-up tar roofing and asphalt roofing shingles. This roofing method is achieved by applying rolls of asphalt-coated fabric on top of roofing adhesive, forming a waterproof layer. Modified bitumen roofing is much lighter than BUR, and it can be more heat-reflective and energy efficient than BUR, yet it is not as durable.
Standing Seam Metal Roofing
Metal roofing has always been a popular roofing option due to its low cost, durability, and long lifespan. Today, standing seam metal panel roofing can provide waterproof protection for flat and slightly pitched roofs because of the way in which the panels are seamed together, creating a tight, protected, and waterproof connection. Metal roofs cost more initially, but many homeowners are opting for standing seam metal roofing for their flat-roofed homes since it is stylish, durable, and has an extremely long service life, making it a much more cost efficient option over time. Additionally, metal roofing is often made of recycled metal, and can be recycled if it is removed, making it an environmentally friendly roofing option.
Built-up and modified bitumen roofs may be the least expensive choices for flat roofs offered by roof services today; however, membrane and metal roofing are becoming more desirable for a variety of reasons, as referenced above. If you want more information about which flat roofing options are best, talk to an experienced roof company to learn more!