Solutions for Flat Roofs

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Flat Roofing Services

Flat roofs are different from pitched roofs in a few ways, and understanding those differences can help you figure out whether or not this type of roofing is best for your home.

First off, it is basically what the name implies – it’s what you will find on a structure whose roof has virtually no pitch or slope to it, nor does it have any valleys or other changes in height. The opposite is a pitched roof which is one that actually has slope, peaks, and valleys.

There are some important considerations when it comes to opting for this roofing style.

  • Drainage is one major factor; if you don’t provide adequate drains and ventilation, moisture will become trapped and it will eventually lead to problems such as mold growth.
  • Waterproofing is also key; in rainy areas, flat roofs must be thoroughly waterproofed so they don’t leak.
  • Another consideration is snow – in areas that receive heavy snowfall in winter, you’ll likely need an additional form of protection such as adding pitch to it so that the snow can slide off and won’t cause the roof to collapse under all that additional weight.

Here are the eight main types of flat roofs that we install, maintain, repair, and replace:

Developed in the late 1800s, a built-up roof is essentially what the name implies – a roof that is built up by using an assemblage of different and alternating layers of materials such as bitumen, asphalt, and reinforcing fabric. The final top layer typically consists of a mixture of tar and an aggregate such as gravel.

A BUR system has an average life expectancy of 15 to 30 years depending upon the types of climate that they are exposed to.

Though built-up roofs are more expensive to install than single-ply systems, a BUR can wind up being much cheaper in maintenance over time. Because these systems usually use heavier insulation than single-ply systems, they allow for up to a 50% savings on heating and cooling costs. However, because they are very simple in their design, they do not allow for overhangs or valleys as many other systems do.

Since this roofing system tends to accumulate snow and ice much more easily than others, you should avoid using them in regions that get very heavy snowfalls (such as in Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, or in the North). However, if you’re in an area that gets lighter snowfall, a built-up roof can be a great option.

Developed in Europe in the mid-1960s, modified bitumen is a composite material used for waterproofing flat or low-slope roofs. It consists of an asphalt cement binder and polymers such as polyester, polyvinyl alcohol, and polyethylene.

The term torch down roofing essentially describes the process where an installer uses the open flame of a propane torch to heat rolls of modified bitumen so that it melds together to form a waterproof membrane as it adheres to the roof’s surface as it is rolled out.

Think of modified bitumen essentially being like a long roll of materials that are similar to those found in asphalt shingles but that have been modified for use as a flat or low slope roofing material instead.

Modified bitumen is generally more affordable than traditional 3-tab asphalt shingles, but it also has some serious drawbacks. Because it can be less durable and doesn’t last as long as standard asphalt roofs its lifespan is usually less than 20 years. Mod-bit roofs are best suited for low-traffic buildings that aren’t exposed to harsh weather conditions.

An EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) roof membrane is a very durable synthetic solid-rubber roofing material. The material is extremely flexible, has excellent abrasion resistance, and stands up well against extreme temperatures and ultraviolet light.

A rubber EPDM roof can be easy to care for and is a great option for almost any building. For example, it can stand up well against the elements and does not need additional coatings or touch-ups. It’s also both watertight and corrosion-resistant which means that it will continue to protect your home or structure for decades.

With minimal care, your EPDM roof should last you between 40 and 50 years. This kind of longevity means that you may never have to worry about changing it again!

All of these qualities make EPDM a worthy choice of material to consider having installed.

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a process created in the early 1960’s that combines polyurethane and polyethylene to create a unique foam insulation for both commercial and residential roofing applications.

The liquid is sprayed onto roofs, where it expands and creates a solid, durable, lightweight, and protective foam covering. Spray foam roofing is also an excellent at preventing moisture and heat transfer making for a very energy-efficient solution.

Though an SPF roof may cost more than a standard one, it typically makes up for it over the long run when you calculate all the superior energy efficiency provided over its lifespan.

SPF roofing systems can be used in most any climates and when properly installed and maintained, these foam roofs can easily outlast those using other materials such as shingles for example.

Because foam is lighter than other types of roofing materials, it’s also less susceptible to wind damage. Since it will stay cooler than most other materials on hot days, it’s bound to lower your overall energy bills. If you want a green option for your commercial building or home, look into foam insulation and find out how you can save money on your building costs today.

Installing a foam roof can be one of your best and most versatile options for protecting your home or business.

Glass-Reinforced Plastic (GRP), also known as Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP) is a newer composite material used in roofing that is produced by combining glass fiber and polymers.

One of the key benefits of fiberglass roofing is that it’s a very strong material that can simultaneously withstand water. This makes GRP especially suitable for areas where there’s a high risk of hail or in coastal regions. Water-resistance combined with strength gives glass-reinforced plastic products significantly more durability than other types of roof materials and structures such as metal sheets. When you couple that with its low life-cycle costs due to its low maintenance requirements, it’s no wonder that the use of GRP in commercial roofing applications has gained in popularity over recent years, particularly for flat roofs.

Unlike other composite materials, which absorb heat from sunlight and then reflect it up into a room or building, GRP does the opposite. A fiberglass GRP roof will instead help keep out sunlight from coming into your building as well as similarly retaining heat as glass does within houses. Therefore, in the winter months when there is less sunlight and less heat produced by our sun; people will find their bills are much lower than they were before they made their changeover.

TPO stands for thermoplastic polyolefin. It is a type of synthetic rubber that is an ideal material for use in flat roofing because it is both easy to install and water-resistant, which makes it especially useful in rainy climates.

In addition to being water-resistant, TPO can also withstand extreme temperatures, making it suitable for many different environments. If you live in a cold climate or if your building is exposed to high winds regularly, TPO may be an excellent choice for your situation.

In addition to its resistance to moisture and temperature extremes, another benefit of choosing TPO is its durability. When properly installed, TPO rubber roofs last for 15 to 30 years but have been known to last even more than 40 years without needing replacement or repair in extreme cases.

Thermoplastic polyolefin rubber roofs are a popular choice for commercial and industrial roofing installations and can be maintained and cleaned easily with a standard pressure washer.

PVC is yet another thermoplastic material. It is made from polyvinyl chloride that serves as a fantastic waterproofing membrane for flat roofs. Since PVC is a single-ply membrane, its main advantage is that this sturdy material doesn’t need an underlayment placed underneath it.

In addition to PVC’s low cost, it can have a decent life expectancy typically ranging between 15 and 30 years, depending upon the climate you live in and how well you maintain it.

However, even though polyvinyl chloride membranes usually have a low cost and long life expectancy, one of their drawbacks is that they do not typically provide substantial insulation.

Metal roofs can be an excellent choice for homes with low slope roof lines. However, if your home is completely flat and has zero pitch to it, then you should opt for one of our other flat roofing membranes instead.

Opting for metal will help your home to look more professional and sleek. While many people believe that those made of metal are susceptible to rust, there are actually some metals that are resistant to rust. They are also extremely durable and will last for decades with minimal care.

You won’t have to worry about ice dams forming when you install a metal roof because they offer superior protection against snowfall. Whether you’re trying to sell your home or looking for an easy way to increase curb appeal, installing a metal roof is a quick fix that offers major results.

One other thing you may want to consider is that despite the benefits of using metal, a disadvantage is that it conducts heat and cold from above and below more easily than all the other flat roofing materials listed above.

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~ KODY LANDALS, CEO & FOUNDER

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