Many Types of Flat Roofs on the Market



Over the years, contractors have used different materials to waterproof flat roofs. Today, there are many kinds of flat roof systems, although certain kinds are clearly favored in today's residential and commercial markets.

Here are some of the more common flat roofs used in Maryland and across the country:

TPO Roof - Contractors use Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roofing more often than all other flat roofing materialscombined. Since there are no plasticizers used in TPO roofing, it is popular in green construction. Unlike flat roofing materials that only come in black, TPO materials come in gray and white as well. A white TPO roof offers excellent light reflection properties that minimize energy usage. TPO materials remain flexible and pliable for decades, and they are UV light-resistant.

PVC Vinyl Roof - Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membranes are strong, waterproof and typically light in color. Properly applied PVC flat roofs can last for 30 years or more. Manufacturers reinforce the PVC compound with woven polyester or non-woven fiberglass. The heat-welded seams are typically stronger than the material itself. Over time, plasticizers can migrate out of the membrane, causing brittleness.

EPDM Roof - A synthetic rubber known as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is a single-ply, waterproof material for flat roofs. Factory-applied tape used along the seams speeds installation. A properly applied EPDM roof can last 30 years or more. There are three common EPDM installation methods. Large slabs or stones hold Ballasted EPDM roofing in place.Roofers install mechanically attached EPDM roofs with nails. Fully adhered EPDM roofing employs adhesives to seal seams. A properly applied EPDM roof can successfully stretch and shrink through the changing seasons.

Asphalt Roof - Asphalt is a byproduct of oil refining used to protect flat roofs for a long time. However, asphalt may deteriorate over time, so maintenance requirements are a potential issue. Photo-oxidation ages asphalt, and this process is accelerated by heat. Plasticizers diminish, and the substance shrinks. Therefore, aged asphalt often takes on an "alligator skin" appearance. Asphalt will also dissolve to a degree if exposed to certain solvents.

Installation of asphalt roofs is energy-intensive, and it generates a certain amount of air pollution. Sometimes, an existing asphalt roof is capped with a gel-like, self-healing membrane called turbo seal.

Modified Bitumen - Modified bitumen roofing material arrived in the United States in the 1970s to address the shortcomings of traditional asphalt roofs. Manufacturers enhance the properties of the material with the addition of chemical modifiers, thus improving the material's flexibility to make it function more like rubber.

Cold-applied Liquid Membrane Roof - Cold applied liquid membranes came to the U.S. market about two decades ago. It is an attractive materlal because it requires no heat sources during installation. The glass-fiber reinforced membrane allows for seamless waterproofing around protruding objects commonly found on flat roofs. There are both thermoset resin systems and liquid rubber systems.

Metal Flat Roof - Although contractors use metal shingles on pitched roofs, metal flat roofs are composed of screwed-down or standing-seam metal panels. These panels often include one-third to two-thirds recycled material, making them popular for green construction. The panels themselves can be completely recycled. A metal roof is more expensive, but it is very durable.

Please Contact Us Today

BRAX Roofing is up-to-date on the most cost-effective and durable flat roofing systems available. We use GAF EverguardExtreme TPO for many of our flat roof installations. Our dedicated staff of knowledgeable inspectors and installers stands ready to address all of your flat roof repair, maintenance and replacement requirements.

Please contact us to learn more about our flat roof services. We offer a free, no-obligation estimate to both residential and commercial customers.


About The Author

Ben Matthews is a managing partner at BRAX Roofing, a multi-faceted company that focuses on residential and commercial roofing throughout Maryland and Washington DC. Having obtained the highest certifications in roofing from leading manufacturers around the country, Ben takes pride in providing BRAX Roofing customers with top-quality exterior home improvement service and expertise.