While not as common as sloped roof in residential sector, flat roofs are used considerably more in the commercial sector. This may be as flat roof offers a convenient place for gatherings and installation of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems as the space in the building is more appropriately utilized for commercial purposes.
If you have a flat roof in need of roof repair or new roof installation your options for roofing materials vary greatly from your usual choice of materials. While flat roofing can be limiting in the sense that it is not advisable to use many of the traditional roofing materials like concrete tiles, clay tiles, asphalt shingles, etc. there is a plethora of new roofing systems to choose from. The major reason that these traditional materials are not used in flat roofing system is WATER. While in sloped roof, water and snow often slide off the sides of the roof (given, that the roof is properly installed), that is not the case in flat roofs. As there is not enough slope for water or snow to slide off the roof, water stagnation – more commonly known as ‘roof ponding’, is the major cause of roof damage in flat roofs.
Things to keep in mind
Thus, special steps should be taken during roof installation to ensure that your roof is protected from any form of damage caused by moisture. The roof installers should try to keep minimal seams as water will find its way into any seam which has not been properly closed. The contractors must also ensure that there is a proper waterproof barrier on your roof. But you need not worry about anything. Contractors from 1st PRIORITY ROOFING are highly skilled professionals and will consider not only these but many other salient features to ensure proper installation of your flat roof.
Some of the different types of roofing systems available for flat roofs are:
Metal roofing is a popular choice among people planning to install their flat roofs. The most common metals used in metal roofing is galvanized steel and aluminum. While copper is also a popular choice, its high cost discourages most of the people from buying it. Metal roofs have exceptionally long lives and can last up to 50 – 75 years if properly maintained. Metal roof also has very high resistance to fast moving winds and storms. In fact, some of the most wind resistant roofs are made of metal. Metal roofs are also immune to fire, thus if you expect to conduct any activity including fire in your property it is advisable to use metal roofs. These roofs are also a great choice if you wish to apply solar panels on your roof. The metal roof is generally not impacted by the usual debris or hail damage (usually hail only causes dents on a metal roof, which while a cosmetic damage does not affect the functionality of the roof at all) and only cracks under the impact of most brutal forces. While the metal roof is virtually impenetrable it can still rust. Water ponding on flat roof can fast forward the corrosion of your metal roof. Thus, it is essential that you hire professional contractors from 1st PRIORITY ROOFING to ensure that the roof is properly installed to forgo any damages caused by stagnated water
Built Up Roofing (BUR)
Built Up Roof (BUR) is the most common type of roofing material for roofs which are flat or with low slopes. Also known as tar and gravel roof, it is the oldest commercial roofing style still in use. BUR is waterproof in nature and is built with alternating layers of felt or fabric (known as plies) with layers of tar or bitumen and layer of gravel and other such materials on top. BUR has a life expectancy of 15-20 years but can be easily repaired with tar and gravel. It allows heavy foot traffic without bearing a significant damage as it offers multi-layer protection. While this multi-layer protection protects the roof from any damage it also increases the weight of the roof thus, we at 1st PRIORITY ROOFING advises property owners to hire skilled contractors like us to check the load bearing capacity of your property before doing any kind of work with BUR.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) maybe the best roofing material available in its price range. This roofing material is not only really cheap, but one of the sturdiest roofing material available in the market today. They are not only extremely difficult to ignite, but also go out as soon as the source of fire is removed from it – making it fire resistant. In addition to fire resistance, PVC is also resistant to chemicals. Unlike other roofing materials whose seams are added with adhesive, the seams of PVC are hot air welded, making it extremely durable. The welded seams also stop the moisture from seeping in. PVC has a service life of 20-30 years if properly maintained and this life can be increased considerably if another layer of PVC is added after some years.
Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM) is a highly durable and completely recyclable rubber roofing membrane available at very low cost. EPDM is also highly resistant to fire. While common EPDM can handle foot traffic quite well, it is quite vulnerable to puncturing, especially in the later years when EPDM membrane has shrunk considerably and is stretched across your roof. Thus, reinforced EPDM which is much more resistance to puncturing is generally used for roofing. While traditional EPDM is black in color and not that pretty to look at, nowadays you can even find white colored EPDM, which is not only aesthetically pleasing but also helps you save on energy costs.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Roof is a single ply roofing membrane which can be amongst the best and worst roofing material available in the market. The problem with TPO is that its quality varies greatly between different manufacturers thus it is very important to use TPO material from only a trusted manufacturer. To ensure that you get the premium quality TPO material it is important that you hire a trusted and experienced roofing company like 1st PRIORITY ROOFING.
Modified Bitumen is often considered an evolution of BUR system. It is easier to install than its competitive roofing materials like EPDM and BUR as there is no need of heat in its installation. Modified Bitumen is a cost efficient and UV resistant roofing material that is extremely durable and can admirably handle decent foot traffic. While it has great benefits modified bitumen can be extremely dangerous while installing it, thus, you need experienced roofing contractors like 1st PRIORITY ROOFING to efficiently install Modified Bitumen on your roof. It is generally of two types:
Styrene Butadiene Styrene (SBS)
This makes the roof more flexible and thus gives the roof its expanding and contracting properties. This type of roofing material is recommended for places which have huge temperature fluctuations.
Atactic Polypropylene (APP)
This form of Bitumen has really good ageing properties and enhances the longevity of your roof.
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