What you need to know before installing a flat roof
Types, prices, and anything else you need to know about flat roofs
Flat roofs need certain supplies and maintenance. They are not merely physically different from their sloping counterparts. Regarding flat roofing, there are differences in the materials, advantages, and costs.
If you own a business building, you most likely have experience with flat roofs. It can be challenging to understand what you’re entering into if you’re not familiar with their specialist nature.
According to Campbell Roofing team of certified roofing specialists at Roofing Campbell is well-versed in all facets of commercial roofing. No matter how sloping the roof is, we are familiar with it. Discover all there is to know about flat roofs by reading on.
Various Flat Roof Types
Even though flat roofs may appear straightforward, there are actually quite a number of different ways they can be constructed. You can better understand how to manage your roof if you are aware of the differences between different kinds of flat roofs.
The various flat roofing materials are as follows:
Flat Roof with Thermoplastic Membrane (PVC or TPO)
A single-ply layer of material is used for this form of roofing, and it is fastened to the roof via screws and plates. It usually comes in white or grey, although it can also be found in other hues.
They are praised for their resistance to high temperatures and toughness. The thermoplastic membrane roofing options include thermoplastic olefin and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (TPO).
The third most common synthetic plastic polymer is PVC. Because of its flexibility, roofing is generally simple to install. Of the two thermoplastic membrane roofing options, it is also the strongest. Typically, they have a 20-year lifespan.
The thermoplastic membrane roof is regarded as having a more environmentally friendly variant, TPO.
You can recycle the old sheeting when it’s time to replace it. This roofing material has benefits including flame resistance and UV absorption. TPO roofing has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.
In general, thermoplastic membrane roofs are still a well-liked choice because of how affordable, energy-efficient, and long-lasting they are.
Increase Roofs (BUR)
Since almost 100 years ago, build-up roofs have been a flat roofing mainstay. They are quite simple to recognize thanks to their tar and gravel exterior texture. The installer will pile it up—hence the name—until the roofing is covered in a thick coating of minerals and tar.
This is a well-liked choice because it requires little upkeep and is inexpensive. It is also very effective at blocking UV radiation. They have a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years when properly maintained.
However, there are a few drawbacks. When a leak does happen, it might be challenging to locate the source because it doesn’t hold up well in bad weather. Additionally, it uses a lot of energy and is rather heavy.
Flat Roof with Rubber Membrane (EPDM)
Rubber makes up the single-ply membrane that makes up this roofing material. It is either cemented down, fastened with bolts, or secured with rocks. It will resemble a build-up roof if rocks are used to anchor the rubber. The membrane will be secured by much larger stones as opposed to gravel.
EPDM roofing is available in white or black. It is thought to be the least expensive of all roofing solutions to install and repair. Typically, installation is a short and simple task.
Rubber roofing typically lasts for 25 to 30 years. The white choice is preferable if you live in a cold environment because dark roofing materials can absorb heat and increase your cooling bills.
Bitumen Modified Flat Roof
A modified bitumen roof is a sheet made of asphalt that resembles the BUR in appearance and texture. Insulation is the first of five layers that are put. The modified base sheet, modified bitumen membrane, adhesive, and surface topcoat are the following components.
A modified bitumen roof requires a lot of time and effort to install. Every time, a specialist should handle it. Materials may be self-adhering, cold-pressed, or hot-mopped onto the roof surface during installation.
Despite the difficulty of the installation, the results are worthwhile. Modified bitumen roofs are extremely resilient, have a 20-year lifespan, and are simple to maintain.
Flat Roof Spray-On
As the name suggests, this roofing alternative is sprayed directly onto the roof. A base layer of high-density polyurethane foam is first installed using a wand or sprayer. The builder will then apply a layer of waterproof elastomeric finish with a spray gun.
Frequently, it will be finished in white or grey. The entire procedure facilitates a speedy, easy installation.
Although expensive, a spray-on roof has an excellent reasons for being so. Since it has no seams, it can easily adapt to any roof shape and provides a finish that is almost entirely waterproof. This roofing can endure up to 40 years if it is put properly.
Gains from a Flat Roof
There are a few advantages to flat roofing that the owner of a commercial building may find quite useful.
First of all, flat roofing is substantially less expensive than a conventional sloped roof. The main reason behind this is that the materials are typically less expensive. For the contractor, the installation process entails less risk and work.
They also wind up being less expensive in the long run because repair issues don’t typically arise as soon as they do with pitched roofs.
The potential for additional usable area is another advantage of flat roofing. You can convert the area into an outdoor area or a lounge if you have easy access to the roof. You might think about building a patio or perhaps a garden. The most typical setting where these kinds of roofs are used creatively is in multi-family buildings.
The rapid installation time of flat roofing is an additional benefit. You don’t have to rearrange your entire life to accommodate a roof replacement. Typically, flat roofing takes no longer than two days. But keep in mind that this will change based on the type of roofing you select and the size of the roof as a whole.
The basic, simple maintenance of flat roofing is a last advantage. Flat roofs don’t typically need repairs, as we briefly mentioned. And if they do, taking care of it usually won’t be that difficult. Their flat surface makes it easy to inspect them frequently so you can quickly address issues.
Draw backs and Regular Issues with Flat Roofing
There are certain drawbacks to flat roofing as well.
For starters, they have lower capacity for insulation than conventional roofing (pitched/sloped roofs). There is less space to add materials to insulate your building from the weather. This may result in inadequate protection from the cold weather outdoors.
In order to allow for water drainage, some flat roofs do have a very slight pitch or angle. But in the case of intense rain or snow, this isn’t always enough to stop pooling. This may eventually cause degeneration. For this reason, routine inspections are essential. To avoid excessive pooling, be sure to routinely empty your drainage system.
Another issue to be on the lookout for is debris accumulation. On a flat roof, debris like leaves, dust, pine needles, and more can accumulate. This may result in clogged drains and ultimately pools.
Your flat roof may stretch and crack over time. In addition to being a problem in and of itself, this may cause leakage. This is yet additional justification for routinely inspecting your flat roof. If a problem area is discovered, make sure to address it as quickly as you can.
To replace or to repair?
A flat roof can typically last up to 25 years if it is constructed properly and maintained. Naturally, this will change based on the type of roofing material you select. For instance, spray-on roofing often lasts longer than rubber roofing. Consider the age of your roof and the extent of the damage when deciding whether to repair or replace it.
Examine the trouble spots on your flat roof. Is the leak isolated or is it more of a general problem? It will generally be advisable to fix any minor issues, especially if your roof is more recent. If your roof is past its prime and requires significant repairs, it can be more cost-effective to replace the entire roof.
Speak with a professional if you’re building a new home and are trying to decide what kind of roof will best suit your needs and vision.