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Nothing makes your home stand out on the block quite like a flat roof. Modern architecture especially is known for sleek horizontal lines that can present some structural challenges in home construction. Done correctly, flat roofing can be beautiful, stylish, and structurally sound. Done incorrectly, it can be risky and disastrous.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of installing a flat roof, or you’re looking to upgrade your existing flat roof, it’s important to learn about the pros and cons and choose the right type. 

Pros and Cons of Flat Roofing Types

Flat roofing comes in five main types: built-up roofing, modified bitumen roofing, rubber membrane (EPDM) roofing, PVC roofing, and TPO roofing. Your region and home construction will alter the price of your project, but you should expect to spend between $250 and $350 per square foot. A flat roof also often comes with a warranty between 10 and 20 years, but these roofs can last around 25 years if built and maintained properly. 

When it comes to flat roofs, you’ll need to be careful about its capacity for bearing weight and redirecting rainwater. Pitched roofs naturally allow debris, rain, and snow to fall off, and their angle adds support, but flat roofs need more support and do not help anything naturally roll off. Further, when it comes to specific flat roof materials, each type has its strengths and weaknesses for you to consider before you buy.

Related Article: Should I Replace My Roof Before I Sell?

Built-Up Roof

Of all the flat roof options, built-up roof is the most traditional. It uses layers of hot tar, gravel, river stone, waterproofing material, and sometimes fiberglass. These materials make the built-up roof very fire-retardant, affordable, and beautiful to look at from above.

On the other hand, a built-up roof is extremely heavy and often requires the contractor to strengthen the joists. Because it is made of tar and gravel, the installation process is smelly and messy. Unfortunately, the nature of the material also makes it difficult to find leaks.

Rubber Membrane (EPDM) Roof

An EPDM roof uses a lightweight rubber membrane engineered to resist damage like UV exposure, tears, and scuffing. It’s easier to find and patch leaks in this type of flat roof, unlike the built-up roof. Unfortunately, the material absorbs heat from the sun much easier than others, even when you pay more for lighter colors. 

Modified Bitumen Roof

The modified bitumen roof can be installed in different ways. The more traditional way was to apply heat to the adhesive as the layer is unrolled across the roof, but the newer way is to apply a peel-and-stick system. The modified bitumen roof is a favorite as it has a moderate price, reflects light to reduce energy bills, and is fairly easy to install with the newer technique. At the same time, the material is not as damage-resistant as other types.

Related Article: Is My Roof Damaged? The Subtle Signs: Part 1

PVC Roof

PVC roofing uses the same material found in plumbing pipes to fuse roofing sheets together. A professional roofing company will use a heat gun for this technique, making your roof almost completely waterproof. PVC roofing is also heat-reflective, which will help cut down on your energy bills. Because PVC roofing requires welding, repairs can be costly.

TPO Roof

Thermoplastic Polyolefin is a synthetic fabric material installed with fasteners, adhesives, or welding. This type of roof is single-ply and white, typical of commercial buildings. This strong material reinforces your roof so that it lasts longer and resists wear and tear. Like PVC roofing, TPO roofing often requires welding, which makes repairs more expensive than other types of roofing. 

Related Article: What to Ask Before Hiring a Roofing Company

Trust the Flat Roof Experts 

Flat roofs need specialized care and attention due to their tendency to hold water, snow, and other debris, and have different leaks than other types of roofing. Advance Inc. has experience installing, replacing, and repairing all types of flat roofing, making this company your go-to choice for your flat roofing needs.
Contact Advance Inc. to schedule your in-home consultation for your flat roof project.

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