Your experience with flat roofing will depend on where you live. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow during the winter, then you may only see flat roofs on businesses and government buildings. If you live in a warmer climate, then you may see flat roofs everywhere. In snowy climates, the maintenance on a flat roof can be expensive because of the possibility that snow could build up and collapse the roof. That is why flat roofs in colder climates are very sturdy and very thick.
If you are considering a new roof for your home, then you may want to consider having a flat roof installed. There are several types of flat roofs to choose from and you may be able to find one that fits your needs. Be sure to discuss the practicality of installing a flat roof in your area with a professional roofer before making your final decision.
Rubber Membrane Roof
These are actually fascinating roofs to talk about for people in and out of the roofing business. The material used for these kinds of roofs is called ethylene propylene diene monomer. It is the same kind of material that is used to make inner tubes for larger tires, but it has special additives that allow it to withstand the sun and elements.
The installation costs for this kind of a flat roof are lower than other flat roofing types and the material is surprisingly durable. The biggest drawback to the rubber membrane roof is that it only comes in black and it absorbs energy very well. It absorbs energy so well that it can raise your cooling bills by as much as 20 percent.
Torch Modified Bitumen
If you watch professional roofers installing a flat roof, you may see them using a flame thrower to put down sheets of material. This is referred to as a torched modified bitumen roof. The roofers are using heat to soften adhesive prior to laying the bitumen coating on top of the roof. These torch roofs tend to be very durable, but they should only be installed by professionals. The torch process creates a fire hazard and can become a catastrophe in the wrong hands.
Peel and Stick Modified Bitumen
The peel and stick modified bitumen material is the same material as the torch bitumen. The difference is that the material comes in sheets that already have adhesive applied. All the roofer needs to do is remove the protective covering and then put the sheets in place. It sounds easy, but it takes years of practice to get it right. The adhesive on a bitumen peel and stick sheet is extremely strong and if it is placed in the wrong spot, then it can become extremely difficult to remove. The peel and stick bitumen has the same durability as the torch process, but the torch process roofs tend to last longer.
In the roofing world, BUR stands for built-up roofing. If you have ever looked out the window of a hospital or other government building and noticed a flat roof with gravel on it, then you are looking at a BUR roof. These roofs are created using alternating layers of hot tar and gravel. The newer processes also include layers of fire retardant and weather-resistant material in there as well.
The biggest advantages to a BUR flat roof is that the gravel is very fire retardant and can do an excellent job at defending your property from fire. A BUR roof also helps to add value to a building because of its attractive look.
The single largest drawback to a BUR roof is its weight. All of that tar, gravel and layers of protective materials are extremely heavy and require special reinforcement on the roof and walls of the building. This is one of the main reasons why BUR flat roofs are not widely used in residential homes or small apartment buildings.
Discuss Your Options With A Professional
There are many advantages and disadvantages to having a flat roof installed on your home. Before you commit to one type of flat roof over another, be sure to discuss all of your options with an experienced contractor. Flat roofs often require regular maintenance by a professional contractor that can add to your cost of ownership. Get all of the facts about flat roofing before you decide to put a flat roof on your home.