Dec 4, 2016

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A Practical Guide To Flat Roofing Materials

your practical guide to flat roofingIf you’re reading this article the chances are that you’ve a flat roofing matter on your mind. Your could be planning an extension, property garden project or maybe looking to replace an old flat roof. There’s plenty of choice out there and deciding on the best option for you is a juggling act between cost, durability and flexibility.

After a few ‘flat roof’ related Google searches you’ll discover a multitude of flat roof materials can be found, offering a range of interesting features and coming with a range of costs. Some are DIY-able, others you’d be better employing a flat roofing expert. We say flat roofing expert because general roofers might not have the expert understanding necessary to fit a flat roof correctly. This comes with ability and experience so you want to chose your roofing company carefully. It you would like to take advantage of a flat roof it should be installed adequately, or else you expose yourself to a number of complications.

In this article we hope to make clear some of the main types of flat roof & offer a little help with choosing which sort of flat roof might be best for you.

But to begin with, in case you’re still on the fence between getting a tiled or slated pitched roof and a flat roof allow us to explain why we believe flat roofs are the best.

The Main Benefits of Flat Roofs

The main benefit of a flat roof is its low maintenance and high durability. Once a flat roof is installed you can more or less leave it alone and it’ll hold fast no matter what our mother earth tosses at it (in the UK at least).
Flat roofs are generally cheaper than tiled/slate roofs- taking installation, maintenance and maintenance costs into account, flat roofs are versatile- you could have a roof garden, a veranda, or even easy access to your first floor windows and gutters and they’re quick to install. If you want to talk to the specialists in flat roofing, Churchill Roofing is a well established roofer in Manchester, experts in all aspects of flat roofing and would be pleased to take your call & help you with your flat roofing dilemma.

So, the next question to answer is- which material will be best for your flat roof?

Types of flat roofing

Felt & Asphalt
Also Called: Felt Paper, Asphalt Felt Paper (comparable to tar paper)

Pros: Affordable, is effective within it’s lifespan

Cons: Degrades quicker than other kinds of flat roofs, confined aesthetics, exposure to the sun can lower its lifespan

There are a range of types of felt roofs so lets start with the earliest one we’re going to cover- Mastic asphelt. Asphalt is more commonly known to be used in road and pavement construction but its also a valuable roofing material. This material was used in the early 20th century as it worked well on properties made with dense, bonded material due to their limited movement. Mastic felt isn’t very flexible, movement, specially in winter when it can be brittle, may cause it to crack.

Felt is frequently found on garage and shed roofs, they’re quick to install, are lightweight and the cheapest choice for flat roofing projects.

However, they have a short lifespan of around 10 years and are susceptible to weather damage, becoming soft and pliable in hot weather and brittle in cold temperature. It can still be a good solution for small projects though, especially garden buildings, tool sheds as well as garages.

grp roofing imageGRP roofing

Also know as: fibreglass roofing and glass reinforced plastic.
Pros: Durable, light weight, resistance against corrosion, affordable, suited for smaller roofing projects

Cons: Needs dry weather to install (could be a struggle in the UK!), high-priced, inflexible

GRP, or Glass Reinforced Plastic, is a really popular flat roofing solution for most home jobs in addition to small to medium sized commercial roofing projects.
Fibreglass flat roofing is really strong and durable, it comes with a guaranteed warranty of 20 years but its life expectancy is in excess of 40 years if effectively maintained. GRP roofs are weatherproof and so are at little risk of leaking or establishing frost damage.
Their durability also makes them very good for footfall, which can be practical if you plan to use your flat roof for access to first floor windows and gutters.

Rubber roofing

Also termed as: EPDM, ethylene propylene diene monomer, waterproof felt, single play membrane roofing.
Pros: durable, flexible, cheap to repair, economical, weather resistant

Cons: Easily damaged/vandalised, risk of joint glue contamination, expensive

Rubber roofing is a type of single ply membrane roofing, we know we’ve covered single ply membranes in the next section below, but rubber roofing is specially popular and so we thought we’d give it specific attention. In brief single ply membrane roofing is a single layer of water proof roofing material. They’re lightweight, quickly installed and cost effective roofing systems which are produced to extremely strict manufacturing quality control requirements making them increasingly popular in both domestic and commercial roofing.

Rubber roofs are incredibly durable and long last coming with a 20 year warranty and a life span of over 25 years. EPDM comes in a number of grades and the higher the grade the better quality the materials. It’s glued instantly to the timber roof structure and joints are glued together making this type of roof very waterproof when it’s in good condition. It comes in a small range of colours, grey shades being the most in-demand and so its also the cheapest.

kingspanSingle Ply Membrane

Also Known As: Upside-down roofs, protected membrane roofs
Pros: lightweight, cost effective, flexible, durable, weather proof, mostly simple to install.
Cons: not often recyclable, often calls for very clean installation.

Single ply membrane roofing is slowly but surely becoming a seriously popular roofing solution for homes, gardens and corporations. It’s main benefits come from it’s long-lasting durability, easy installation and cost effectiveness. There are a selection of single ply materials available coming in a range of colours and with a variety of joining or fixing methods making it a sensible selection for most budgets.

Single ply membranes are fantastic for all roofing projects including new builds, refurbishments, flat, pitched or curved roofs, garages, extensions, conservatories and dorma conversions.

To bring the primary pros and cons of each flat roofing material we’ve covered in this post we’ve created a venn diagram. It covers durability, flexibility and cost effectiveness. We hope it helps display how the options pan out.

flat roof diagram

If you want to examine your particular flat roofing needs with a professional and friendly flat roofing specialist contact Churchill Roofing in Manchester.  Consultation and initial estimated cost is a completely free of charge service, accurate estimates are only offered after a full survey has been completed.