Available Flat Roof Options

Posted on: 28 December 2015


Residential roofing systems are bound to suffer degradation after being in use for several years. In order to preserve the structural integrity of the building, it becomes necessary for a homeowner to call in a residential roofing contractor for a re-roofing exercise.

There are various types of flat roofing systems available for homeowners looking to re-roof. Homeowners need to understand the various flat roof options available so as to make an informed decision on the option that best suits their needs.

Built-Up Flat Roofing Systems

The built-up flat roof is the traditional flat roofing system and is common on a large number of residential buildings. The typical built-up flat roof is made up of at least three layers of a waterproof material. Smooth river stone is then used to ballast the waterproof material, thereby adding an additional layer. A large number of modern built-up flat roofs use alternating layers of gravel and hot tar as the waterproofing material.

Apart from the fact that built-up flat roofs are often the most affordable type of flat roof, they are also advantageous in the sense that gravel is naturally fire resistant. Therefore, chances of fire damage on a built-up flat roof are next to nil.

On the down side, built-up roofs can be quite heavy due to the heavy nature of gravel. As such, this type of flat roof may not suitable for smaller houses that may lack the structural strength to support the weight of the roof.

Rubber Membrane Flat Roofing Systems

Flat residential roofs can also be made of a special type of rubber. Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is the rubber used on flat roofing systems. Installation of the rubber membrane involves the mechanical anchoring of EPDM using appropriate roof fasteners. Once this is done, stone is used to ballast the roof.

Advantages associated with rubber membrane flat roofs include the fact that homeowners can undertake DIY installation of the roof. Another advantage is that EPDM is engineered to resist sun damage, hence its suitability for use on the roof.

On the down side, homeowners who choose this type of flat roof should be prepared to deal with punctures on the rubber membrane, which tend to be relatively common.

Also, the black rubber membrane has a high affinity for heat. This makes it necessary for the homeowner to apply light-coloured coatings on the rubber so as to regulate heat absorption on the roof. This is an additional expense that homeowners who choose this option should be aware of and prepared for.