Flat roofs are easy to maintain especially residential roofs. They cost less than gable roofs and shingle roofs. With the proper maintenance, a flat roof will stay in its place for multiple years. If you want to install a flat roof in your home, you need to be aware of the various types of flat roofs available. There are a lot of roofing materials that can be used for installing flat roofs. Here are some roofing designs with materials for all types of climates with installation tips.

Built-Up Roof (BUR)

The most commonly used and cheapest residential roof is a built-up roof. It is composed of three alternating layers of asphalt and plies on a cover board on top of a steel deck.

Installation

The first step is the installation of a steel deck on the base of the residential roof. This is called the base sheet of the metal roof and is covered by a fabric or felt. Three consecutive layers of asphalt and ply sheets are then installed on top of each other. The last step is to cover the whole setup with asphalt or tar to assume the final shape. 

Ballasting

Ballasting is the process of strengthening the flat roof without any additional support. It is also a waterproofing system that reduces any leaking in a residential roof. The gravel used in built-up roofing to make it waterproof ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 inches.

Lifespan

A built-up roof can last from 15 to 20 years. You can prolong the lifespan of your roof by up to 40 years.  

Advantages

  • Protection from leaks
  • Affordable
  • Saves Space
  • Environmentally friendly

Disadvantages

  • Delayed installation
  • Damaged by UV Rays

Bitumen Roof

Bitumen roofs are made up of a combination of asphalt, plastic, and rubber. They are available in 1, 2, and 3 plies. The seams of the bitumen roof are melted together to give it a flawless exterior.

Installation

Bitumen roofs are installed on a base of tar and asphalt and can be installed on residential roofs. Once all the debris is cleared off, the roofing felt is fixed with the help of roof nails or other adhesive materials. The modified bitumen sheets are then installed one by one. Some part of the sheet is left as an overhanging like a metal roof. The seams of adjacent roofing sheets are melted together with a propane torch to avoid any extra space.

Lifespan

10-15 years.

Advantages

  • Extensive lifespan
  • Seamless application
  • Wind, Hail, and Fire Resistant

Disadvantages

  • Its black color absorbs heat.
  • 1 ply bitumen roof does not last long.
  • No runoff especially during heavy rains.

Rubber/EPDM Roof

EPDM or rubber roof is made up of Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer. It is a highly durable residential roof. It comes in two colors white and black.

Installation

An EPDM membrane is laid down on the deck of a residential roof and left for half an hour. When the membrane has been allowed to rest, it is folded to the center. A water-based adhesive is applied on one half of the deck and the membrane is laid over it. After the membrane is attached, the roofers will broom out any air between the deck and the membrane. PVC trims and caps are used to fix the membrane on the sides of the residential roof and provide a base for the gutter lines.

Lifespan

50 years

Advantages

  • Extensive lifespan
  • Heat Resistant
  • Self-Insulating
  • Recyclable

Disadvantages

  • Prone to Damage
  • Compression

Spray Polyurethane Foam Roof

Spray Polyurethane Foam is a liquid that is sprayed over a roof in the form of foam. The foam expands over the roof and forms a solid layer. Residential roofing is reinforced with the help of SPF roof coatings.

Installation

The residential roof substrate is prepared by removing all the debris. The liquid chemicals are sprayed onto the substrate in layers. As one layer of foam dries up another one is added to avoid any gaps

Lifespan

SPF roofs can persist for more than three decades depending upon the thickness of the layers.

Advantages

  • Saves Energy
  • Long-Lasting
  • Waterproof

Disadvantages

  • Professional Application

PVC Roof

Polyvinyl Chloride or plastic roofs are perfect as residential roofs as they can be easily installed.

Installation

A PVC roof can be attached with an adhesive, mechanically installed, or simply ballasted on top of asphalt and gravel on a residential roof. In the final step, it is welded to the top of the roof with hot air.

Lifespan

30 years

Advantages

  • Easy application

Disadvantages

  • Not feasible for cold climate

TPO Roof

Thermoplastic Polyolefin is a heat-resistant roofing membrane used to protect residential roofs. It is available in the form of sheets in varying lengths ranging from 10 to 20 feet and can be used to protect residential roofs.

Installation

TPO membranes are placed on the cover board and attached to the base with an adhesive. They are also mechanically attached to provide extra protection to a residential roof.

Lifespan

22-30 years

Advantages

  • Fire Resistant
  • Reflecting material

Disadvantages

  • Weak Seams

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