Flat Roofing

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There’s no doubt that a roof takes as much abuse as it gives protection, especially on the Tampa, FL area coastline, where salt spray from the ocean is constant and the probability of a hurricane is high. A sloped or pitched roof is a good thing to have in environments like this because the overlapping design, as well as the angle of the gradient, function to shed water and minimize any build up from moisture or outside elements.

Flat roofing doesn’t function in the same manner – but that doesn’t mean it’s not functional, and it certainly doesn’t make it any less of a popular design option: They are very aesthetically pleasing, after all. While they may seem untraditional, they’re widely popular for residences in dry weather regions, like the Southwest part of the United States. They’re also widely and commonly used on commercial properties. There are several types of flat roofing systems to meet your roofing needs. At All Star Roofing and Repair, we can install and repair them all, and we are introducing you to all of your options below.
 

Appearance

Metal

Specifically aluminum – but in general metal – is one of the most popular materials used for flat roof replacements because of its durability and power to reflect the heat from the sun, which lowers energy costs. Metal roofing is usually ordered in large sheets, and while prone to rust in disagreeable conditions, it has the ability to last at least 30 years in ideal ones.

Membrane (‘Single-Ply’ or EPDM)

There are several types of rubber/polymer roofing options on the market, including Neoprene and PVC, but EPDM is the most popular option, particularly when it comes to residential use. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) is a durable, inexpensive, and waterproof flat roofing option that is very easy to install. The material itself is a type of synthetic rubber that is made from recycled materials, which makes it environmentally friendly. When EPDM is installed, it needs to be seamed to the roof, which means water has an opportunity to seep through seams and potentially cause damage to your home. Of course, EPDM roofs can also be spray-applied, which significantly lowers the chance of seams pulling away from the roof, thereby reducing the chance of water seeping through.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

When one thinks of flat roofs, a built-up roof is likely what comes to mind: For 60 years, it was the only option on the market. They’re highly attractive roofing options that are made of tar and gravel, and are very sturdy because they are made up of many layers; however, these roofs also have the tendency to be quite heavy as a result of all of the layers. Installations or replacements of this type of roof could be hazardous, so the home or commercial property should be emptied prior to beginning any building or replacement project.

Modified Bitumen (MBR)

Modified Bitumen roofing is a technological advancement of the 1960s. It’s rolled out onto a roof in seamless and overlapping joints, and typically secured by using a blowtorch. While this could pose as a danger – especially for an inexperienced roof installer – it’s quite affordable, easy and quick to put together.
 

Environment and Effectiveness

There’s no mistaking the eye catching and modern appeal of a flat roof. However, it’s important to consider any potential consequences that are associated with this type of roof. We’ve touched already on the fact that flat roofs are not angled in any way that is sufficient to shed water or minimize moisture build up. This means they are known to leak more often, because water has the tendency to pool on these roofs until it evaporates, which gives water a longer amount of time to find weaknesses in a roof’s surface.

Some signs of leaking in your flat roof can include:

  • Water dripping or damage/stains on ceilings or walls
  • Paint is bubbling up
  • Mildew on ceilings or walls outside

However, there are certainly some positive aspects to installing/replacing a flat roof. Consider the following:

Metal

  • durable
  • reflects sun’s heat – reduces energy costs
  • can last up to 35 years when properly maintained

Membrane (‘Single-Ply’ or EPDM)

  • can last 30-50 years when installed correctly
  • repairs are easy
  • lightweight and waterproof – leaks are incredibly rare
  • easy to install
  • economical – rubber material helps insulate roof and attic which cuts cooling and heating costs
  • doesn’t scratch or scuff easily, so repairs are relatively simple and inexpensive

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

  • low maintenance, and doesn’t cost much to maintain
  • great protection against water, UV rays and inclement weather
  • easy to repair or resurface
  • can last 10-15 years easily with regular repair and maintenance
  • thick coverage of roof deck
  • highly resistant to damage

Modified Bitumen (MBR)

  • easy, quick, and affordable to install when done by a professional
  • low maintenance and low cost
  • installs like EPDM, and is more durable than BUR
  • recyclable at the end of its useful life

 

Cost Effectiveness

While most of the flat roofing options available are at a cost or repair rate that may seem less than ideal, it’s also important to note that they are economical and cost effective as it pertains to energy efficiency and low maintenance. Flat roofing systems can generally last anywhere between 10-50 years depending entirely on the type of system you choose and your regular maintenance routine. However, the maintenance is still minimal if your roof is installed correctly.

On average, the installation costs depending on the material you choose could cost anywhere between $3 to $9 per square foot. Modified bitumen is likely the least expensive choice, while metal roofing could potentially be the highest cost. If you have any questions about what type of flat roofing system would best suit you, installation, or costs, don’t hesitate to call us or click for an inspection or an estimate. We’ve got you covered!

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