The Different Roofing Materials Used for Flat Roofs, Their Advantages and Disadvantages

The roof has had many different innovations in regards to the materials used to make them. Different designs through the years have made it a necessity to find newer, lightweight and more durable roofing materials. Add this up to other elements such as location, weather and natural elements and you have the requirement for different types of roofing materials.

There are two kinds of design for the roof. There is the Sloping or pitched and then there is the flatroof. Many architects and builders recommend the pitched or sloped because they are easier to maintain and install. Usually, flatroofs are used when pitched roofs cannot be. What must be watched out for is water infiltration when it is not regularly maintained and routinely repaired for damages.

For an effective flat roof, it should provide a waterproof casing for the building. Usually, Flatroofing materials form one or two layers of water resistant materials. These materials should be long lasting and cost-effective. Flatroofs should be perfectly aligned so as to redirect the water to the gutters, drains and downspouts to avoid buildup. Below are some of the roofing materials used for flat roofs, each will consist of their upside and downside, also the lifespan of the flatroof roofing materials.

One of the newest flatroof roofing materials available in the market that has been getting high praises is the Thermoplastic Polyolefin Roofing Membranes or the TPO. The TPO is regarded as the new-generation of single-ply roofing materials. Even though its single ply, it consists of three components or layers that make up its entirety. It has a structural deck or the outer skin; in the middle you will find the thermal insulation barrier, then a waterproofing skin is what adheres to the roof. Its materials are very efficient in the task at hand, they can be reusable if installed properly or applied with water or pebbles. TPO is very durable and has low toxicity TPO though is not recyclable since it has petrochemical in it. Since TPO has been around for only ten years, life span cannot be calculated yet.

Another flatroof roofing material is the Elastomeric membranes or EPDM. They are usually used for industrial, institutional and commercial buildings. EPDM is also a singly ply roofing material made from ethylene propylene rubber. EPDM can be installed by either ballasting, mechanical fastening or full adherence. If ballasted or mechanically applied, EPDM can be reusable; they are also durable with an average lifespan of 20 plus years. One problem with EPDM is that they have been known to shrink in some circumstances.

Polyvinyl chloride or PVC roof membranes have the distinction of having the longest track record of usage among any thermo plastic roofing membranes. They have been in use since the start of the 1960’s. Even with the emergence of other flatroof roofing materials, PVC is still employed by many. PVC’s offer many inherent features such as, can be produced in different colors, it has high resistance to perforation and impact, and resistant also to fire exposure. It has great flexibility and tolerance to extreme temperatures. The problem with PVC is that they are not reusable and unrecyclable. The average span of PVC flatroof roofing material is twenty-five years and some.

One of the most durable flatroof roofing material and has been use for a long time is the mastic asphalt. Mastic asphalt is the most durable waterproofing membrane on the market. It is very durable and flexible as well. Mastic asphalt is recyclable, non-toxic, and odorless and can withstand extreme temperatures. They can also last for over 60 years.

Depending on the location, use and budget of your structure, each and everyone of these flatroof roofing material can benefit you. Talk it over with your designer, engineer, architect and builders and find out which one would best suit your structure.