Flat roofs aren’t too common these days, as a majority of new homes are built with a decent slope. Flat roofs aren’t entirely flat, with a slope of a ¼ inch to a ½ inch per foot, they might as well be. They do not shed water nearly so easily as their sloped counterparts, so they need to be able to handle a bit of standing water without leaking.
There are three main kinds of flat roofs available on the market:
Membrane Roofing (Also Called Single Ply or EPDM Roofing)
Membrane roofing is the most common type of flat roofing material. There are a number of options, including PVC and Neoprene, but the most common material is called EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer). Made of recycled rubber, EPDM is an environmentally friendly material and also helps to insulate the upper-most level of your home, such as an attic. This can help to reduce the cost of temperature control.
EPDM is also waterproof and repairs to the material are relatively simple, though initial installation is rather difficult. Rubber roofing can be difficult when surrounding exterior roof features such as chimneys and air conditioning units. It is lightweight and tends to be fairly durable in most climates, lasting thirty to fifty years on average. Membrane roofing materials come in a variety of colors and textures, which makes it amenable to a wide range of home styles.
Built-Up Roofing (BUR)
For many years, built-up roofing was the only sort of flat roof available. Built-up roofing uses a combination of gravel and tar, something like a refined version of road asphalt, to create a waterproof layer over the roof. Built-up roofing is an impressively long lasting roofing material, regularly making it ten to fifteen years without any trouble, and offers a high resistance to impact and damage. Forming a thick layer of coverage over a flat roof deck, it brings a pleasing aesthetic as well.
There is a range of built-up roofing types, including smooth asphalt build-up, cold build-up, and ballasted asphalt build up, that are available to meet your aesthetic and structural needs. These roofs all offer excellent water protection and shield your home from harmful UV rays.
A low level of maintenance means that you won’t have to think about your roof for years on end—and that’s the sort of roof that you want. When the time does come to repair or replace your built-up roofing, it’s no trouble at all to remove layers and patch different areas. Most people who choose another roofing option cite the installation process of built-up roofing as their main reason. With numerous materials involved, it can take some time to put into place. Roof beams often have to be strengthened beneath this heavy material, and there are potentially hazardous fumes and vapors released during the initial installation.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
In the early 1960s, modified bitumen roofing came on the scene as an alternative to built-up roofs. It offered the same protection of the built-up roof, without the same hassle at installation. This material can create a near-seamless roofing cover when applied in overlapping layers and is much less complex than built-up roofing to install. Its polymer layer offers flexibility at low temperatures, making this material safe from cracking.
There are also a number of different ways to apply this material, including heat, torch, cold and self-application. Like its predecessor built-up roofing, modified bitumen roofing is also low maintenance and durable. Unlike its predecessor, it is also recyclable, making it a more environmentally friendly option. It is somewhat difficult to install and can be prone to leaks when installed incorrectly, so you will want to make sure that your contractor is very careful with all modified bitumen roofing seams.
The Bottom Line
No matter which one of these materials you decide to install on your flat roof, you are sure to be pleased with both its appearance and its longevity. The different material options offer you a range of styles and colors to chose from, and each material has unique items to recommend it. Our team here at Calgary Roofing is more than glad to discuss all of these options with you to help you select the best material for your home or business.
All of the materials that we work with, whatever they may be, are of the highest quality and have been tested and labeled by the proper quality assurance. Throughout the roofing process, we will make absolutely sure that we coordinate with all local building departments and adhere to the codes and regulations in your area. When you work with Calgary Roofing, you do not need to worry at all about the legality and safety of your new roof.
Siding in Calgary has many years of experience installing flat roof roofing and we are always careful in our installation. With us, you can rest assured that your flat roof will last as it is meant to and that it will be well worth your financial investment. Pick up the phone and give us a call if you have any questions about flat roofs or roofing in general. We are always more than happy to chat!