What is the Best Material for a Flat Roof?

Traditional tar and gravel built up roofs are just one of many types of flat roofs.

What are the different types of flat roofs?

While some residences have flat roofs or parts of homes have flat roofs, most flat roofs are seen in commercial building.

There are several different types of flat roofs. Among the roofing systems you can find with flat roofs include:

  • Built-up Roofing or BUR: Built-up roofing, commonly referred to as BUR or tar and gravel roofing, has been available for more than a century. These roofs are designed with alternating layers of waterproof ply membranes and tar and finally ballasted by a layer of gravel or stone. Inexpensive to install, these roofs are valued for their durability and especially for fire resistance. But, they can be heavy because of the gravel layer and put stress on your building.
  • Modified Bitumen: These roofs use a single layer of asphalt and tar material and are often heat-adhered, though some are also self-adhering. They are usually light colored and help reflect sunlight, which reduces energy costs since it puts less strain on the HVAC system. These roofs can be prone to scuffing and tearing by foot traffic or debris.
  • PVC: Essentially a strong, durable laminated plastic, these roofs are some of the most effective. They are valued for their fire resistance, damage resistance, chemical resistance, and flexibility. They are also lightweight and highly reflective, which helps cool your building.
  • EPDM or Rubber Membrane: Single-ply rubber membranes have been popular for more than 40 years. Easy to install and repair, they are valued for their leak resistance. They are installed in wide strips with few seams, which helps prevent leaks. They are also lightweight and durable.
  • TPO: Gaining in popularity for flat roofs, TPO roofs are similar to EPDM and PVC in durability. They are a single-ply rubber material, light-colored and highly reflective. This reflective quality makes them sought after for those interested in saving money on energy bills, especially in hotter climates.

If you are interested in TPO roofing in , , make sure to get in touch with for quality roofing solutions. Call us today at 806-771-9780.

Is a flat roof a good idea?

While flat roofs are generally accepted as a standard in commercial building and especially valued for their usually low installation costs and durability, many homeowners are also considering flat roofing as good option over traditional sloped roofs. They work especially well in warmer climates because most of the materials used in flat roof designs are highly reflective and help keep the roof and building cooler. If you want to go green, you can take advantage of the flat roof design and add vegetation, which can increase energy efficiency and improve drainage. At the same time, flat roofs often need to be replaced sooner than sloped roofs, and are prone to poor drainage, which causes the roofs to pond.

How long do flat roofs last?

In general flat roofs rarely last as long as sloped roofs. Most flat roofs, depending on the material used last about 10 to 15 years, although some last upwards of 20 to 25 years at the high end. Sloped roofs with asphalt shingles usually last about 20 to 25 years. Much of the longevity will depend on maintenance.

Good maintenance plans are essential for the upkeep of anything from roofs to plumbing.

What were two advantages of having a flat roof?

Two major advantages of having a flat roof are cost and space. Flat roofs are generally low cost to install and maintain. Flat roofs also open up more exterior space in your building for other things like HVAC systems.

Other advantages include:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Opens up more interior space
  • More accessible than sloped roofs
Flat roofs actually have a slight slope for drainage.

Are flat roofs really flat?

While flat roofs appear flat, they technically are not 100% flat. Flat roofs do have a slight slope to allow for drainage.

Is flat roof cheaper than pitched

For the most part, flat roofs are cheaper than pitched roofs, especially when it comes to installation. But, flat roofs generally require more maintenance over the course of the roof’s life span. Flat roofs, however, can be more energy efficient, especially in warmer climates because the materials used to design them reflect sunlight better than sloped roofs.

Flat roof with deck

One advantage of having a flat roof installed for your home is that you can easily install a deck on the flat roof. Once you inspect the roof and get building permits, a contractor or even a DIY-er can add the deck in a weekend.

Flat roof with garden

Adding a garden to a flat roof has increasingly become a popular environmentally friendly choice. Roof gardens, or green roofs, besides being an attractive addition to your house can benefit your home’s energy efficiency. Roof gardens reduce the roof’s temperature in the summer and can help lock heat inside the home during the winter. Green roofs are also valued because they improve air quality.

Flat roof or balcony

In addition to decks, you can also add a balcony to a flat roof to give your home more space. The biggest consideration is whether the roof can handle the weight.

For any flat roof installation or repair in , , you can rely on the roofing professionals at . Call us at 806-771-9780 to learn more.