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Guide to Flat Roof Material Types

An informative guide to flat roof material types. Read below for more.

flat roof material types - All Climate Roofing

If you have a flat roof that needs to be re-roofed, then are some things you’ll have to consider that you wouldn’t with other roofs. One of those is the materials that are used in their construction. The right materials will help avoid water getting into your roof and causing damage long term, so you’ll need to pick carefully.

Here are the roofing material types that are available to you right now, so you can pick the right one for you.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

This is the traditional option when it comes to flat roofing materials. This setup allows flat roofs to take on what the elements throw at them, in a way that asphalt shingles can’t on a flat surface. 

The material gets its name as the roof is built up in several layers. What exactly is used depends on the roofer, but usually, you’ll see they use several layers of felt that have been impregnated with asphalt and embedded in bitumen. 

The felt is rolled out across the roof, and then asphalt is applied hot to the surface. This creates an unbroken surface, one that ensures that water can’t get in through it. This is done in several layers to create a strong surface. 

Once this has been done, the top will be covered in a layer of finely crushed stone granules. This protects the felt from UV rays and keeps it in good condition overall.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

This is a newer version of built-up roofing, made to improve upon the techniques used in flat roof applications. It was created in the 1960s to use polymer reinforced roof layers, to reinforce the roof further. 

There are lots of different ways that these roofs can be installed, and you’ll see roofers either apply them hot, using torches or with self-adhering sheets. The way they’re applied depends on the kind of polymer being used. 

As there’s polymer used in the construction of the roof, there’s more elasticity involved. That allows the roof to expand and contract without breaking apart, especially in lower temperatures.

Single Layer Membrane Roof

This is one of the newer roofing technologies out there and is commonly used on newer buildings. You’ll usually see it being used on commercial properties, as it offers a lot of benefits. It comes in a range of different materials, such EPDM or rubber roofing, PVC, Neoprene, and so on. EPDM is the most commonly used option right now. 

These materials are applied to the roof in a single layer, and they can be as thin as 0.030 inches thick. As they’re rubber, they’re much more elastic than other roofing types and can handle temperature changes better. 

Depending on the type of roofing you’re using, it’ll be attached to the roof in different ways. EPDM and neoprene can be attached with adhesive, while PVC seams are sealed with heat or solvents.

Metal Roofing

This is an option that’s popular for both residential and commercial buildings, as it’s very versatile. A metal roof can be made of a variety of different metals, such as zinc, copper, and aluminum to name a few. Each gives you its own benefits to protecting your roof and making it attractive too. While some metal options are more utility-based, you can get attractive styles too depending on your needs. You can even get metal roofs that are designed to look like shingles. 

Metal roofs are usually installed in large sheets, and screwed down. The seams fit together to create a watertight seal and will be able to last for up to 70 years. It’s a good option for you if you’re looking to install a roof that will last for a long time.

Green Roofing

One option that’s becoming more popular is green roofing. This is when you install a layer of vegetation across the roof, making it ‘green’. There are all kinds of reasons why you may want to do this. Firstly, they’re very attractive and different looking. If you want to create a habitat for insects and birds to use, then this is a good way of doing so. It can also be used as an outdoor area to enjoy if the roof is well reinforced. 

One of the biggest benefits of a green roof is that they’re more ecologically sound. That’s thanks to the extra habitat space for animals, as well as the insulating effect they have on your home. They have been shown to help absorb heat rather than letting it into your home. That allows you to reduce HVAC costs, and keep your energy costs down. They also absorb water, so they can prevent flooding

As you’d expect, a green roof will take a bit more work to keep in good condition. However, it has a lot of benefits so it’s something you’ll want to consider.

Which Roof Is Right For You?

These are some of the main roof materials that you can use on your flat roof. Which one should you use? They all have their advantages and drawbacks, so the best thing to do at first is talk to a roofing service. They’ll be able to run you through your options and help you see which one is right for you.

If you want something that’s more ecologically sound, then this will have to factor into your decision. Again, your roofer will be able to help you work out which one is right for you. 

Price will also be a big factor when choosing a roof. All these options will give you what you need, but you’ll need to have a budget in mind. If you’re trying to save on costs, some of these options will be out of your reach. 

There are lots of options available to you when it comes to flat roofing materials. Take a look at what’s available, and talk to your roofer. They’ll be able to help you find something that works for you and your building.