Flat Roof Materials: How to Choose the Best Option

Choosing the perfect roofing material for a flat roof can be difficult. Even though you have fewer choices compared to other roof sizes, there are still several flat roof material types to pick from, depending on your needs.

With that in mind, let’s examine the different flat roof materials and determine their pros and cons. Then, we’ll compare the best of them and find out what is the best flat roof material for your house.

installing a flat roof

What Are the Most Common Flat Roof Materials Types

Roofs are very complicated constructions that consist of several different roof parts. Similarly, there are several flat roof materials to choose from. Some of the most common ones include:

Built-Up Roofs

Built-up roofs, or BURs, are the oldest roofing materials and have been in use for over a century. These roofs consist of multiple layers of gravel mixed with hot liquid tar to stick together. On top of the roofing layers, you’ll find an additional gravel layer to avoid tar deterioration.

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen roofs are very similar to built-up roofs but are much thinner as they only consist of two layers of asphalt rolls. The bottom and top layers are applied in a few different ways, including adhesives, melting the layers with a blowtorch, or using hot tar.

Single-Ply Membrane

Membrane roofs are becoming increasingly popular since they are durable and easy to install. They usually consist of one layer of PVC or TPO membrane, which can quickly be installed on almost any surface and under weather conditions. Plus, the membrane material has a very long lifespan.

Rubber Membrane

Rubber membrane (or EPDM) roofs are a subcategory of membrane roofing materials and are very easy to recognize, thanks to their black color. EPDM roofing can simply be glued down on your roof, or it can be weighted down with the use of large rocks.

Metal

A standing seam metal roof is an excellent high-quality roofing material for your flat roof. They are extremely durable and can easily outlive other roof types under perfect conditions. You can also customize the finishing to your liking, ensuring an attractive roof.

What Are the Best Materials for a Flat Roof

Out of the several available flat roof materials, a few stand out for different reasons. These are:

EPDM

EPDM is one of the best materials for a flat roof in terms of durability. It can withstand even the harshest conditions and is highly resistant to impacts, which has given it the nickname “bulletproof” roofing material.

Pros

  • Easy to install on any roof
  • Long lifespan of up to 30 years
  • Doesn’t show dirt and deterioration

Cons

  • Not ideal for bedrooms as it absorbs heat

PVC/TPO Membrane

The PVC and TPO membrane roofs are very similar to each other in terms of appearance, longevity, and installation process. These membranes are very elastic and can be installed on even the most deformed roofs.

Pros

  • Strong resistance to deformation
  • White color reflects heat
  • Very good lifespan of up to 25 years

Cons

  • Can show dirt and stains easily

Metal

If you want a premium material for your roof, then your best bet is to choose a standing seam metal roof. It’s highly durable and can be shaped and finished however you want, making it unique and attractive.

Pros

  • Superior build quality over other materials
  • Up to 50 years of longevity
  • Environmentally friendly material

Cons

  • Can be expensive to install

What Is the Longest Lasting Flat Roof Material?

The lifespan of flat roof materials can vary depending on the conditions, the installation process, and the material itself. Assuming ideal conditions, most flat roof material types will last for a few decades, except for built-up roofs, which typically last for 10 to 15 years.

Membrane flat roof materials will generally last between 25-30 years, while metal roofings are the most durable ones and can easily last for more than 30 years. In fact, in ideal conditions, a standing seam metal roof can last up to 50 years or more. Plus, if you want your roof to last even longer, you can consider adding a silicone roof coating to it.

How to Find a Great Roofing Contractor for Your Flat Roof

If you still can’t decide what the best flat roof material for your needs is, you can leave it to us. Our team of experts has installed countless roofs and will be glad to help you find the best roofing material for your flat roof.

Call us at (833) 315-7663 to book an appointment. We’ll assess your roof, and we’ll decide which solution is best together. Then, you can leave the installation and yearly maintenance to us!

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