Lifespan: 25-30 years
Flat roofs offer multiple architectural and financial benefits for both residential and commercial property owners. When analyzing your roofing needs and the options available for one of the most valuable and costly property improvements. Flat roofing is a great option. They are cheaper to install because they don’t require the same support structure as a sloped roof. Meaning you spend less on materials and labor costs. Flat roofs are also quick to install and are a perfect option if you’re thinking about adding solar panels on to your roof. When you have a roof that is sloped, it is easy for the rain water to simply run off it. Although, flat roof, leaks must be prevented before they have a chance to start. When a flat roof has a crack, water can find a way through and begin to cause damage. A regular roof inspection is important because of the rain amounts we get in the Pacific Northwest.
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- The materials are cheaper, and the labor is cheaper because there is less risk in installing them. They also have fewer complications in repair or damages, which makes for a lower cost over the lifespan of the roof.
- Another advantage to choosing a flat roof is that they are quicker to install. If there are any repairs down the line or when you inevitably need to replace your roof, the re-roofing process is relatively quick and painless. Some jobs can be done in a day or two.
- Flat roofs increase outdoor usable space. If your property is on a narrow lot without much property, your roof can become an incredible outdoor lounge space. It is also a perfect location to set up a garden or anything else you might desire.
- These roofs are great for maintenance as they’re much safer and easier to inspect or clean.
Disadvantages of Flat Roofing
- Flat roofs are not considered as stylish, and they likely won’t blend as easily into a neighborhood as their pitched counterparts.
- Buildings with these roofs have less space for insulation and therefore can be more affected by extreme temperature changes.
- Buildings with flat roofs have less stability and the ability to withstand weight naturally, builders will need to compensate elsewhere in the construction to strengthen the building.
- Flat roofs do not drain as easily as pitched roofs, roofers will likely install additional mechanisms to ensure proper drainage.
TYPES OF FLAT ROOFING
Single-ply roofing systems (SPS) have grown in popularity over the past 30 years as a preferred commercial roofing system, due to their ability to provide strength, flexibility, and long-lasting durability, architects, roofing contractors and building prefer this product.
SPS membranes are strong, flexible sheets composed predominately of synthetic polymer manufactured to strict quality control requirements. SPS provides maximum freedom of choice in roof design, performance and appearance to suit new construction and refurbishment.
- Consistent product quality—Manufactured in a factory, single-ply roofing materials are designed to meet strict quality controls, unlike those used in BURs.
- Easy installation, often faster and cleaner than putting in BURs.
- Energy efficient due to its light color and reflectivity, which can lead to potential HVAC savings and a more environmentally friendly solution.
- Lightweight materials work well on modern building designs that require material flexibility.
Built-Up Roof (BUR)
BURs use multiple layers of tar and gravel to create a watertight seal over the roof, which protect bottom layers from damage.
- Tried-and-true—Roofers have been successfully using this method for more than 100 years.
- Thick coverage—BURs contain numerous plies that offer protection if outer layers are damaged. You’re not placing all your eggs in one basket.
- Highly resistant—The gravel surface is durable against everyday wear and tear, reducing maintenance requirements.
Modified bitumen membranes are roofing sheets made of asphalt that has been modified with either rubber or plastic that offer greater stretch and flexibility. Modified bitumen can also serve as the cap sheet of a BUR roofing system. This is commonly referred to as a “hybrid” roof system.
- Uniformity—Modified bitumen sheets are manufactured under tight quality control, resulting in consistent thickness.
- Broader temperature range—The modified material can handle high and low-temperature extremes.