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The Best Materials For A Flat Roof

November 13, 2022
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Whether you’re replacing a leaky garage roof, or you’re looking for something to protect your new pent-roof shed, finding the right material is key. After all, the flat roof material you choose will play a major role in determining the longevity and reliability of your new roof. You want something that offers solid protection, whilst looking smart, and at a reasonable price. But with such an abundance of different materials to choose from, it can be difficult to choose between them. That’s why we’ve written this article on the best flat roof coverings, to help you find out more about each, so you can make the best decision for your project. Unless you want the services of a professional roofing company to help with the choice. However, here the best flat roof coverings currently;

Roofing Felt

Roofing felt is perhaps the most common flat roofing material available. It can be seen atop flat roofs right across Britain, largely thanks to its superb cost-effectiveness. A felt roof is straightforward to install, providing a reliable weatherproof seal to protect almost any flat roof. What’s more, a roof covered with felt can be repaired cheaply and easily, almost no matter the damage.

  • Durability: Whilst not the most durable flat roofing material, a felt roof still provides an effective watertight seal and will resist severe weather and temperatures, as well as suffer moderate impacts without issue.
  • Longevity: A felt roof can be expected to last around 15-20 years, depending on wear and tear and how well it is maintained. It is, however, not unheard of for roofing felt to last up to 25 or even 30 years.
  • Installation: Roofing felt is notably simple to install, with a few different methods available. These include self-adhesion, torching-on, and fixing with nails or screws. Installing a new felt roof will take a few hours, and is often much faster to fit than other materials.
  • Appearance: Whilst not offering the grand aesthetics of pitched roofing materials such as traditional tiles, roofing felt will still offer a smart, clean finish when installed correctly, with multiple colour options available.
  • Great For: Roofing felt is an incredibly versatile material and can be used on virtually any flat roofing project, whether big or small. From garden sheds, to garages, or even warehouses.

EPDM Membranes

Quite possibly the best flat roofing membrane, EPDM is a relatively low-cost flat roof material that offers a number of significant advantages. Clean, straightforward installation, incredible strength, a long lifespan, and a smart finish combine to make EPDM membranes a difficult one to beat. It’s easy to see why they’re favored by DIYers and tradespeople alike.

  • Durability: Fully waterproof, highly resistant to weather and temperature conditions, and able to absorb strong impacts, a flat roof covered with an EPDM membrane can withstand almost anything
  • Longevity: An EPDM roof can be expected to last for 40-50 years, with very little maintenance or repairs required across this time.
  • Installation: Fitting an EPDM membrane onto a flat roof is fairly straightforward, especially thanks to the complete system of accessories and fixings provided by manufacturers.
  • Appearance: Whilst EPDM remains a firm favorite due to its simple installation process and incredible performance, it is not highly visually appealing.
  • Great For: Projects of any size, including garage roof replacements, flat extension roofs, commercial premises, and more.

GRP Roofing

GRP, also known as fiberglass roofing, is a fantastic flat roofing material. Able to withstand almost anything, a GRP roof will truly stand the test of time. What’s more, GRP is notably lightweight, and offers a clean finish when installed correctly. Most often supplied in the form of GRP roofing kits.

  • Cost: One of the most expensive forms of flat roofing, GRP is nevertheless very popular due to its solid performance.
  • Durability: One of the most durable materials on the market, a GRP roof will withstand major impacts, as well as extreme freezing or hot temperatures and stormy rains without issue. GRP is truly one of the hardiest flat roof coverings around.
  • Longevity: A GRP roof can be expected to last around 20-30 years when correctly installed.
  • Installation: The process involves a number of steps, including applying resins, topcoats and other elements from the kit using brushes and rollers. We’d suggest having more than one person to hand when fitting a GRP roof.
  • Appearance: Like EPDM, GRP roofing boasts a smooth, seamless finish that appeals to many. However, the level of choice is highly limited, usually only to very dark colors.
  • Great For: Medium-sized flat roofing projects, such as large garages or extensions, and commercial projects.

Built-Up Roofs

Built-up roofs are roofs that are made up of multiple layers of different materials. These often include alternating layers of reinforced bitumen and fabric, before a final layer of stone or gravel on top. It is a very common roofing material for flat roofs due to the increased lifespan it provides.

  • Durability: One of the hardiest forms of flat roofing available, built-up roofs can resist many things other forms of flat roofing simply cannot. However, the stone or gravel covering can come off during high winds, but this is easy to replace.
  • Longevity: A built-up roof can be expected to last for as long as 60 years, rivalled only by flat roof decks. This is the main reason why many still choose built-up flat roofs, particularly for residential projects.
  • Installation: Installing a built-up roof is usually a job that only professionals should undertake, however the process is by no means impossible for an experienced DIYer. This generally involves fixing materials layer-by-layer before applying the final stone or gravel, which will be spread generously in an even layer atop the roof.
  • Appearance: Another option that is highly limited aesthetically, built-up roofs feature a granulated texture in dark colors of gravel or stone depending on what is used.
  • Great For: Residential roofing, particularly on bungalows featuring a pent or single-sloped roof.

Do you need professed roofers to handle your roof repair or replacement? Reach out to us at 553 Prospect Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215 for a quick assessment.

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