Different Types of Flat Roofs

When you are looking over flat roofs, it is easy to think that they are all the same. After all, they are a smooth flat surface typically without many different colors. However, this is far from the truth; there are actually several different systems and materials with significant differences between them. So, let’s take a look at some of the options out there to help you understand what the options out there are.

Single-ply Membrane Roofs

These roofs are often made from three or more layers of a material that is waterproof and alternated with hot tar, and then a layer of smooth stone to stabilize it. These types of roofs used to be made from tar paper and sometimes still are; however, other materials like fiberglass are being used more frequently today.

Commercial facilities often use single ply membranes made from rubber or other types of synthetics that are stabilized and then chemically or mechanically fastened to a layer of insulation, which protects the commercial building. This is used on flat roof systems and will have layers, one of a waterproof membrane having a basemat made of treated fiberglass and then a layer of smooth gravel which is used to seal the surface of the flat roof.

Sprayed Polyurethane Roofs

Another type of roofing material commonly used for flat roofs is sprayed polyurethane foam. This roofing material creates a seamless system without cracks, seams, or joints. This helps avoid problems that can occur with some other systems such as moisture, heat, and cold; it is also a great insulator and helps your roof to be more resistant to severe weather. Additionally, it increases your building’s energy efficiency.

Self-adhesive Roofs

Another flat roofing option you could choose is a self-adhesive roof. This type of roof is quite similar to conventional MBS systems. Self-adhesive roofing consists of a coated bitumen basemat that will give you a waterproof seal on you’re low-sloping or flat roof.  These types of roofs are common on garages or porches that connect to vinyl siding or wood.

Built-up Roofs

Built-up roofs are another common type of flat roof that is generally used on low-slope roofs. This roofing consists of a number of layers of bitumen surfaces which are then completed by applying a coating or an aggregate layer.

The material commonly used for built-up roofing is layers of ply sheets. These sheets are generally reinforced with either organic mats or fiberglass mats. Built-up roofs typically last anywhere from 15 to 30 years.

Bitumen Roll Roofs

One of the sturdier types of flat roofing material is bitumen roofing or modified bitumen roofing. This type of flat roofing can last longer than most types of flat roofs. Modified bitumen is actually an asphalt product. It gets applied in a variety of ways to your flat roof. It is also convenient in that it can be applied in either hot or cold weather. This type of roofing has several advantages and is a possible alternative to built-up roofing.

Bitumen roofs are built to last a long time and can last 20 years or even more. They also tend to have excellent manufacturer’s warranties which can help your roof to stay in great shape for a very long time. Bitumen roofs are also made to withstand a variety of weather conditions such as wind and hail. They are even fire resistant. This roofing is applied with hot-mopped asphalt, cold-applied adhesives, or self-adhesive sheets. The seams are then melted together to prevent leaks.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are several different systems and materials out there for constructing flat roofs. Each of these distinct systems offers different advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before every install. It is generally best to discuss these options with a professional roofer before you decide which system may be right for you.

Contact Us

For more information about flat roofing systems or for quality roofing installations, contact North Shore Roofing. Our professional roofing team has decades of experience helping businesses and homeowners with all of their roofing needs. Call us at (978) 977-3816 and connect with us on Facebook.