When choosing the best flat roofing material, it’s important to consider the specific conditions that apply to your project. Budget, climate, timeline and installer are all variables that must be taken into account when weighing up your options. Certain methods, such as built up flat roofs (BUR), have been around for more than 100 years.
However, in the past few decades, roofing technology has come on leaps and bounds as consumers and installers alike have demanded more energy efficient and inexpensive flat roofing systems.
We take a look at some of the more common roof types available today and discuss some of the finer points to help you choose the best flat roofing material for your project.
Built Up Flat Roof (BUR)
- Used for the past 100+ years.
- Very heavy which could necessitate reinforcing the roof to hold the weight.
- You won’t be able to live in the house whilst the roofing project is going on due to risks/dangers during the installation process.
- Sturdy and good at insulating the property
Modified Bitumen Flat Roof
- Risks associated with application due to the heat required to stick the material down and join at seams.
- When applied by a trusted/professional/experienced installer, can be quick and easy to apply. However, there are safer alternatives that are more effective.
- Relatively cheap option
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) Rubber Roofing
- Synthetic material that is made up of recycled rubber – meaning it is an environmentally friendly choice. Application is done by seaming together strips with adhesive (if roof is large) which means that any noxious/poisonous chemicals that are released when heat applying other materials like bitumen are avoided.
- Long lasting, resistant to your standard weather conditions although dry conditions are needed for installation.
- Flexible – expands and contracts with weather.
- Doesn’t react with heat or light.
- Great lifespan of over 50 years (which keeps replacement roofing costs down to a minimum). If it does get damaged then repair is a simple job for a professional roofer.
- Strong and durable – heat welded seams will last a long time but heat application runs its risks.
- Have a reasonably long service life. A properly installed PVC roof should last more than 20 years.
- Releases toxins into the environment during manufacture and disposal.
- Good at resisting moisture so well suited to more humid/wet conditions
- Can be noisy in the rain – something to consider if extending your living space!
- Relatively, one of the most expensive options for a flat roof.
- Inflexible – if moisture gets trapped under the membrane this can cause blistering.