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Flat Roofs 102: Thermoplastic Polyolefin Vs Built-Up Roofing

May 12, 2019
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Flat roofing is a simple albeit efficient roofing technique. As the name implies, flat roofing has no slopes or angles whatsoever, and it just comprises of an even horizontal surface. Flat roofing bears little or no engravings or patterns on the surface to ensure easy movement of water or snow droplets, dust particles, and other form of debris within the environment.

Being even surface, flat roofing is often surrounded with boundaries, to prevent loose dirt particles and waste from rolling down from any side of the roofing structure and causing stain on the walls of the structure it covers. Drainage pathways are also made available at convenient areas around the roofing structure, to rid the top of excess accumulation of dirt and stagnant water from rainfall.

Two popular flat exterior materials commonly used in residential, commercial and industrial roofing are:


TPO shares several of the good characteristics of PVC roofing material. It is basically white in color and constructed from polypropylene and ethyl propylene rubbers. This arises to a perfectly flat, unitary piece of membrane. Due of the white color of the roofing material, it is very effective at reflecting the sun’s heat, in other words, dropping down drastically, the amount of money needed to cool buildings that use it. It is super easy to install and can be either fully attached by adhesion or mechanically attached to the roof deck. It is quite the potential when there are odd shapes and objects on the roof, because it is extremely malleable and weld-able without altering its durability. Also, as an added benefit of TPO, it is fully recyclable.


Built-up roofs are commonly made up of hot tar and gravel and are one of the most financially convenient (Affordable) flat roof systems, but have quite a lot of limitations. They are typically made up of three or more compartments of waterproof ply sheets which are placed in-between surfaces of hot tar. These roofing layers are then kept in equilibrium by a layer of gravel or smooth river stone for solidity and longevity.

Regarding the worries about the fire safety of your commercial structure, built-up roofs meet higher fire expectations. Gravel is a fire-proof roofing material. However, roofs that are balanced with rocks are also extremely hefty, which can put extra pressure on your building’s structure. This type of roof system is also incredibly hard to tear-off after its lifespan has been reached. This difficulty in removal leads to more bulky roof replacement budgets. Built-up roofs are often not the corner factor for some applications owing to the fact that roofing installation is very messy and unkempt, and the molten tar gives off a strong and somewhat irritating smell of asphalt, which can be hazardous to the air and also some people who might be very allergic to the stench.

NY Roofing 553 Prospect Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11215 (646)-838-0441

NY Roofing is the premier residential & commercial roofing service in Downtown Brooklyn. We are GAF certified Master Elite Contractors. We provide full repair & install solutions for our clients. Contact as now for a free estimate.

Royal Renovators Inc is Fully Licensed and Insured, with Offices Throughout the NYC Area.
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