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Which are Different Types of Flat Roof Materials? (Pros and Cons Explained)

There are different types of roofs! You mostly would have seen a hip or dutch roof in most of the house. Here we are going to talk about flat roof, this thing is mostly found in malls, schools, or any commercial building. The question is, why aren’t house owners or builders prefer them? Are there any problems with the same?

To know that, you will need to know about the flat roof. Though this roofing isn’t popular among residential buildings, you will find flat roof houses in Northern America and in arid climates. So it is clear that it certainly has no issues in its form.

What is a Flat Roof?

It is a type of roofing that is at a level as compared to the sloped roof. The flat roof is a misleading term, as there is a slight slope in this as well, somewhere about ¼” or ½”. The slope is necessary for the roof to remove the clogged water. However, they aren’t as effective as sloped roofs.

Recently we have seen many homeowners opting for the flat roof, and as obvious, there are complaints about its leakage problem or durability. The thing is before you get installed the flat roof, you should study a bit about its material, including pros and cons.

So to help you out with types of flat roof materials, we have come up with this blog.

Guide on Flat Roof Materials

1. PVC

flat roof

source: johndobbsroofing.com

PVC is the most used and decorated flat roofing material. It is a single membrane roof providing protection at its best with the energy saving. PVC membrane is made of scrim (a continuous filament lattice) which is laminated with UV resistant PVC thermoplastic.

The roof constructed with PVC will last longer than 30 years. You would want to install a roof that won’t need much of reinstalling, at least not frequently. The PVC has all the features a roof must-have. Just as everything has a downside, this too has! Let’s see the pros and cons of the PVC flat roof material.

Pros:

  • Strong and Durable
  • Weather-resistant
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Environment friendly

Cons: 

  • Too expensive

2. EPDM Rubber

flat roof

source: wordpress.com

The EPDM rubber membrane is also a single layer roofing material and is in competition with PVC. The full form of EPDM is ethylene propylene diene monomer. The EPDM roof will help stop the leakage. Plus they are easy to identify with black color and stretch over the area.

They are relatively lightweight and can beat other flat roofing material in durability (but not PVC). The common benefit of PVC and EPDM is their high recyclability, which makes both them environment friendly. It is mostly found in black color, which will absorb heat, to lessen it you might need to install light-colored coating.

Pros:

  • Easy to repair the patches.
  • Lightweight yet wear-and-tear resistant.
  • Heat-welded seams.

Cons:

  • Complicated installation process.
  • Can absorb heat badly, due to its dark color.

3. TPO

 flat roof

source: pinterest.com

If you are confused about whether to go with PVC or EPDM, we got an option which is a combination of both, somehow.TPO – Thermoplastic Polyolefin is white in color, and constructed from polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubbers.

Due to its white color, it reflects the sunlight and heat making the roof heat resistant. Just like the above options, this one is also recyclable. The TPO is fully flexible, making it easy to install even on the odd shapes of rough surfaces.

Pros:

  • Energy-efficient single-ply membrane.
  • Can be adhered to or mechanically installed.
  • Pocket-friendly.
  • Easy to maintain.

Cons:

  • Installing will require experienced contractors.
  • The width of the TPO rolls is around 6 to 8 feet only, you will see seams at a certain distance.

4. Metal

 flat roof

source: roof-experts.ca

Another durable and effective material for flat roofing is metal. Though it isn’t suitable for a flat roof any less than 2 inches of the slope. So if you are planning on installing a flat roof with a slope of 2 or 2.5 inches, this one is also the best choice.

Metal is heat resistant, it can reflect the heat and keeps the building cool. So if you are from the northern side, metal roofing is an ideal one. It is claimed that metal roofing has life more than that of the building, in an ideal condition it can last up to 35 years.

Pros:

  • Affordable and accessible.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Safest of all, even in a fire condition.

Cons: 

  • Drainage issues.
  • Too noisy at the time of heavy rainfall or hailstorms.

5. Modified Bitumen Roof

roofing material

source: commercialroofusa.com

Modified Bitumen Roof is the replacement of BUR found in the 1960s. It is multilayered roofing and is labor-intensive. The modified bitumen roofing has evolved very much in the present times, from torch down installation to peel-and-stick one.

This material comes in light color which reflects the sunlight, rather than absorbing it. You have a number of options on how to install it. Apart from its positive point, it has negative sides too (like every material). 

Pros:

  • Peel-and-stick is easy to install (even for homeowners).
  • Lowers the energy bills.
  • Best for the areas with cold weather.

Cons:

  • Not tear and scuff resistant.
  • Torch down application may cause a fire hazard.
  • Professional required.

6. Built-Up Roof (BUR)

roofing material

source: roofingsouthwest.com

The most traditional flat roofing materials are used in BUR (Built-Up Roof). The BUR complies with three or more components, waterproof materials added with hot tar, and ballasted with gravel to ensure the stability.

This is the first-ever roofing used by humans and is a bit complicated, but is durable and energy-efficient. Though it has more positive points, it is labor-intensive. Also, know which types of sliding good for your home.

Pros:

  • Cheapest and effective of all the types of flat roofs.
  • Gravel is one of the best fire hydrants.
  • It can tolerate heavy foot traffic.

Cons:

  • Heaviest flat roofing among all.
  • Not a DIY thing, you will need experienced labor.
  • Gravel can clog the drainage pipes (be careful).

flat roof

source: legacyusa.com

Wrapping Up:

So these were the types of flat roofing that you need to know about. Every material has its own advantages and disadvantages, all you can do is figure the budget and requirement, then choose the one for your space. 

For us, PVC and BUR are the best flat roofing material. If you have an occupied space go for the PVC, and if you are remodeling the entire house no one can beat the durability of BUR. 

For more information on home improvement, visit HouseDecorationTip.