The Different Types of Flat Roof Systems

Roofing Tips

flat roof infographic

Whether it’s for commercial or residential properties, there are multiple options available when it comes to roofing. A flat roof system is just one of many on offer, however, there are different types of flat roof systems available on the market. The type of roofing system that’s suitable for you depends on your specific needs, your budget, and the type of property you would like to install a flat roof on.

The Basics of A Flat Roof System

The average flat roof has a lifespan of 10 – 20 years, but that depends on the materials used, the skills of the roofing contractors who installed the roof, and regular preventative maintenance. If your roofing contractors did not install your roof correctly or if you do not regularly maintain it, the lifespan of your roof will dramatically decrease. This is irrespective of any warranty on the roofing materials used. You must ensure that whichever company installs or repairs your roof is reputable and reliable. Remember – quality workmanship alongside regular roof maintenance can actually extend the lifespan of your roof beyond the average lifespan estimate.

The Different Types of Flat Roofs

There are different kinds of flat roofing and the type depends on the materials used and they each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Membrane (Rubber) Roofing

Membrane roofing is also known as Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing. It is a single layer of rubber roofing. It’s engineered to weather strong sunlight.

The advantages of EPDM include that it’s easy to install even when there are people in the home, it’s a lighter material than BUR or MBR, and it’s relatively easy and cost-effective to fix.

The disadvantages of EDPM include the cost and how easily it punctures when in contact with sharp objects in comparison to BUR or MBR roofing. It is also harder to install if there are protrusions from the roof such as chimneys.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-Up Roofing is a more traditional and common type of flat roof. It’s made from multiple layers of waterproofed material and tar or asphalt. Traditionally made of tar paper, built-up roofing has advanced to a stage where different materials such as fiberglass are now being used instead.

The advantages of built-up roofs is that the tiles are damage-resistant and low maintenance, they’re easily repairable, are more aesthetically pleasing, and it’s a more cost-effective option.

Conversely, a few disadvantages of this type of roofing include a few things.

  • the weight of the roofing tile
  • the arduous installation process
  • the extra labor done in order to strengthen the building to hold the weight
  • Additionally, the property must be unoccupied when the installation occurs

Keep in mind that due to the weight of the roofing and the installation process, it’s used more for commercial properties than residential ones.

Modified Bitumen Roof (MBR)

Created as an alternative to built-up roofing, modified bitumen roofing is a lighter, more flexible roofing material. It’s made from asphalt and lined with a mineral topcoat. This is purchased in rolled sheets. The application method differs from BUR roofing. Additionally, it’s recommended that the install is performed by a licensed roofing contractor. This is because before being laid down, the bottom must be heated. There are different versions of modified bitumen roofing. These include more easily installed self-adhesive versions.

The advantages of modified bitumen roofing include the ease of installation and durability of the roofing material.

A few disadvantages? Depending on the type of MBR used, skilled roofing contractors need to install it. Considerations must also be made for the joints to ensure that there are no leaks. This type of roofing is also not as aesthetically pleasing as other flat roof options.

Finding The Flat Roof For You

It can be difficult to find the right fit for your residential or commercial property. That’s why it’s important to consult with a licensed roofing contractor like ABC Roofing. Moreover, you’ll get the best advice for your commercial or residential roofing needs. Contact us today at 954-344-4622 to find out how we can help!

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The Different Types of Flat Roof Systems (Infographic)

The Different Types of Flat Roof Systems (Infographic)

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