Most residential homes have slanted roofs that are likely to be roofed with residential materials like asphalt shingles. Many businesses however have flat roofs that require different types of materials. Let’s look at some of the popular options for flat roofs so you can know the potential materials for your flat roof.

Tar & Gravel Roof

Tar and gravel roofs, also known as built up roofs, have been used for more than a hundred years for flat roofs. The process is simple, hot asphalt and membranes are layered, or built up, on top of the roof than covered in a gravel substrate.

Advantages: Been used for years, very low in cost. Tar and gravel roofs are also very rugged if there is a lot of foot traffic on top of the roof. Very UV and weather resistant.

Disadvantages: Can have a fairly short life, averaging around twenty years but can last up to 40 if properly installed and maintained. Leaks are a major headache to pinpoint on a tar and gravel roof as leaks can occur yards away from the actual source. Very messy, loud and smelly install.

Modified Bitumen

In most cases modified bitumen is fairly simple peel and stick process. Material is similar to ice and water shields used in residential roofing.

Advantages: Fairly simple installation, many homeowners with competency in construction can install it themselves. Not as cheap as tar and gravel but fairly economical.

Membrane Roofing

Membrane roofing materials are fairly new to the new material circuit. Membrane roofing may refer to any number of materials including EPDM, TPO or PVC. The different membrane roofing materials can be mixtures of natural and synthetic rubbers, plastics and other compounds.

Advantages: Many membrane roofing materials have been shown to be excellent against weather, UV damage, material is thin but durable. Much easier to patch tears and holes in membrane roofing than other flat roofing types.

Disadvantages: Cost of install is higher than other traditional flat roofing materials. Some materials have not existed long enough for us to have reliable information on their longevity and durability.

What kind of material you use for your flat roof depends on a number of factors. Your best bet is to meet with a reliable commercial roofing contractor. They can help you make the decision so you have a healthy flat roof for years to come.