Are you considering installing a flat roof on your home or business? Flat or low slope roofs look extremely attractive on a lot of architectural styles, or even installed only on portions of the roof. Many traditional style homes only flat roof some portions of their home, like porches/balconies, garages or sheds. In the past most flat roofs typically do not last as long as slopped roofs, but but the last few decades the flat roofing membranes have been developing membranes that are highly durable, energy efficient and can even match the longevity of sloped roofs.

Flat Roofing Materials

There are three general types of flat roofing systems.
Single-Ply Roofing
  • One layer is to waterproof and weather the surface
  • Popular types: EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), PVC (Polyvinel Chloride), and TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin)
  • Popular in both commercial and residential environments
  • Formulation, durability, specs and cost depends on the type of single ply used
  • Membranes range from 6-18 feet, with 10 feet the most common
  • Average thickness ranges from 45-90 mil, with 50 mil the recommended

Built-Up Roofs
  • Manufactured using built-up layers of either tar-saturated paper and liquid with gravel, asphalt, rolled asphalt or modified bitumen
  • As the roof is installed, the different materials are added on to increase the durability and longevity
  • 3 Types of built-up roofs: Tar & Gravel, Modified Bitumen, Rolled Asphalt
  • Requires at least 1/12 inch slope in order to be used

Spray-on/Paint-on-Roofs
  • Spray Foam Insulation: foam is sprayed directly onto the roof deck with acrylic or urethane coating, as well as a layer of crushed stones/sand
  • Roof Coatings: ideal for existing roofs and used to extend their service life by 10-15 years and typically installed on top of singly ply, modified or low slope metal roofs.

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Benefits of Flat Roofing Systems

  • Great for large buildings
  • Can have multiple uses such as a deck, rooftop garden, patio or penthouse
  • Huge savings on energy bills since TPO and PVC are able to deflect about 90% of the heat.
  • TPO and PVC are 100% recyclable.
  • Installation costs are lower since you don't have to tear off the old roof before installation this type of roofing system


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