A flat roof as the name implies, it’s a roof that is flat in design, as opposed to a roof that is built at an angle or has a peak on it. However, within the category of flat roofs, there are actually four different types to choose from. So before you choose a roof from a company like Vertex Roofing, know what is out there on the market.
4 Types of Flat Roofing
Rubber Membrane Flat RoofA rubber membrane flat roof, covered in ethylene propylene diene monomer, or EPDM, is a surface that will remind you of a very smooth rubber tire. However, it is specially designed to be unharmed from intense, direct sunlight. There are a number of ways to attach EPDM to a roof: glue, various types of fasteners or stone ballast.
TPO Flat RoofThermoplastic Polyolefin, or TPO, is a membrane that can be unrolled and heat welded together. By doing this, they provide a bond that is four times stronger than EPDM roof.
Modified BitumenThis rolled roof is single-ply and is similar to what is known as an ice and water shield. They used to have to be applied with an adhesive that had to be heated with a torch while the material was unfurled on the roof itself. Newer types of modified bitumen are peel and stick, making them easier to apply, and safer.
Built-Up RoofAlso known a BUR, this is the traditional flat roof, constructed out of hot tar and gravel. Three or more layers are often put together and once used tar paper but now use more durable fiberglass membranes when built new. We often recommend converting these roofs to a more durable rubber roof.
Pros and Cons of Flat RoofsEach of the aforementioned types of roofs has its own pros and cons. These are listed below, so you can make a more informed decision.
Rubber Membrane Flat Roof
- Pros: Easy to install for the average homeowner and these roofs are easy to patch if and when a leak forms
- Cons: The material itself is usually black, so while it is designed to be unharmed by sunlight, it still absorbs a ton of heat during days of direct sunlight and in the summer months. If you want it made from a lighter material, expect to add around thirty percent to the overall cost. This flat roof is also quite vulnerable to punctures.
TPO Flat Roof
- Pros: The TPO is widely considered the strongest bonded roof out there on the market today, four times stronger than EPDM. This means you’re far less likely to have a leak if it is installed correctly, and it is tough to puncture.
- Cons: TPO flat roofs cost more than other options.
- Pros: It’s easy to install because most modified bitumen is peel and stick. It is reasonably priced and has a light-colored surface which reflects light and saves you money on utility bills.
- Cons: The old fashioned installation method of torch down is incredibly dangerous to you and the house itself. It’s also not as tough as the rubber membraned roofs out there.
- Pros: Incredibly inexpensive, and the gravel helps to protect against fires. It also looks pretty good with most houses.
- Cons: It’s heavy, tough to install and smells bad during installation. When leaks do occur, they can be incredibly difficult to find due to the design.