The Best Roofing Material for a “Flat Roof” Structure
Flat roofs have traditionally been used on commercial structures, but this standard has been changing in recent years. Currently, you can find many contemporary style homes that employ this roofing system, though the majority still rest atop businesses. The reason for this is the easier installation of a flat roof because no consideration for the pitch is needed. Additionally, businesses don’t care much about the type of roof they have as long as it performs its’ fundamental job. With the boom in utilization of flat roof systems, here is a detailed description of the different materials you can choose from.
Built-up Roofing (BUR)
BUR membranes are designed to incorporate affordability and durability. BUR is usually topped off with gravel and consists of alternating layers of asphalt and tar. The multiple layers allow for exceptional insulation for the building underneath and the BUR is waterproof thanks to the absence of seams. There is a downside to all the layers however- the immense weight they carry. Most buildings just don’t have the foundation necessary to support such a load and therefore should not employ such built-up roofing. The BUR membranes require complex installation and must always be installed by a professional commercial roofing contractor.
This material provides many of the advantages of the BUR system only minus the immense weight and difficult installation. This is possible because it consists of a single layer of bitumen which is a mixture of asphalt that has been modified with solvents. Though historically bitumen has been installed with a blow torch in order to bind the seams together effectively, there are now many “peel and stick” options available. The material has the ability to reflect heat from the sun and has been deemed environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, bitumen does come with its’ own problems. It is not very scuff or tear resistant, and great care and expertise needs to be incorporated when installing it. Improper installation could leave it susceptible to moisture penetration and it is recommended to always employ professional help when using this material as well.
PVC or Vinyl Roofing
This roof type consists of flat sheets of PVC that are bonded together through the use of heat. This particular material provides excellent waterproofing, as it naturally resists ponding water. Its’ additional benefits stem from the easy installation required and the fact that its’ white color reflects the sun well, allowing the building to stay cooler and therefore saving the home or business owner energy costs during the summer months. A significant drawback of PVC roofing comes from the fact that it has seams. Although durable, the presence of seams indicates that the material will not retain its waterproof quality for more than 10-15 years. Eventually, the seams start to loosen, allowing for separation between segments.
Which Should You Use?
A final question you might have is which of these materials is the best option. The answer is, it really depends on your budget and needs. With over 13 years of experience, we would love to tell you which option is best for you at one of our totally free estimates! Call us today with your roofing needs Puget Sound! You can trust Chase Construction North West, Inc. with your residential re-roofs and your large flat commercial projects. You can contact us today to schedule your free estimate at 253-445-8950 or by filling out our estimate form. Thank you for visiting our website and considering us for your next project!