Flat roofs are popular because of their simple design and minimal maintenance requirements. Even so, they’re not appropriate for all types of buildings and situations, and routine inspections and care are required to keep them in good condition. Here are a few important things you should know if you’re thinking about installing a flat roof on your building.
There Are Several Types of Flat Roofs
Built-up roofs are constructed using a combination of hot tar and gravel with waterproof sheets between the layers. Built-up roofs are less likely to be damaged by fire than roofs made of some other materials. That’s because gravel is a flame retardant. Built-up roofs are heavy, which can affect installation and replacement costs.
Flat roofs can also be made with a PVC membrane. That material is lightweight, customizable, and highly reflective. It can also resist damage from fire and chemicals.
Thermoplastic membranes are similar to PVC. The material is strong and flexible, and its white color reflects sunlight. When a flat roof is designed with a thermoplastic membrane, that can translate to affordable utility bills.
EPDM roofs are stronger than flat roofs made with other materials and are easy to fix. EPDM is black and can cause a building to absorb heat. That can lead to high utility bills. An EPDM roof can be covered with a light-colored coating, which can add to the installation cost but can lead to lower long-term utility bills.
Flat Roofs Aren’t Completely Flat
The surface of a flat roof has a slight pitch. That causes rainwater and melted snow to flow toward the gutters and keeps water from accumulating and forming puddles on the surface of the roof.
Flat Roofs Are Easy to Install and Maintain
The installation process for a flat roof is simpler and shorter than the process to install other types of roofing. Flat roofs therefore generally cost less to install than sloped roofs.
Little maintenance is required for a flat roof, but it’s important to clean the gutters regularly and to conduct routine roof inspections. Checking a flat roof for signs of damage is much easier than inspecting a sloped roof since there is less risk of falling from a flat roof.
If a flat roof gets damaged, repairs tend to be straightforward. Since installation and maintenance costs are generally low, a flat roof can save you money in the long run.