What is the Best Material for Flat Roofing?

Flat roofs are a standard in commercial roofing.

Low cost and durable

For commercial projects throughout Connecticut, many builders choose flat roofs. These roofs are common because they are generally low cost compared to other roofing systems and very durable no matter the material used.

Builders also like the space flat roofs leave open for HVAC systems, ventilation and exhausts. They are also easily accessible for repairs and maintenance and hold up well to foot traffic.

Plus, with flat roofing you have a wealth of options available to choose from, including traditional built up or tar and gravel roofing, modified bitumen roofing and single ply roofing like EPDM and TPO.

What kind of roofing you choose will ultimately depend on your needs. If you are in the market for a flat roof or need repairs, Hartford Restoration Services is a flat roofing specialist in East Hartford, CT. We have served East Hartford, CT and the rest of Connecticut as a commercial roofer for more than 35 years. Give us a call to find out more about the services we offer, give us a call at 860-508-0021.

Types of Flat Roofs

When you’re in the market for a flat roof, you’ll want to consider all the advantages and disadvantages each of the roof types offer before installing your roof. There are three main types of flat roofs:

  • Built up roofs
  • Modified bitumen
  • Single ply

Built up Roofs

Built up roofs, also known as BUR or tar and gravel roofs, have been around for more than a century. Composed of layers of reinforced fabric and bitumen with a top layer of aggregate, built up roofs are durable and with good maintenance can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years. These roofs are notable especially for their excellent waterproofing, as well as strong protection from ultraviolet rays, the damaging rays from the sun. Most modern built up roofs are designed with a layer of insulation to improve energy efficiency. The top layer of aggregate also serves to make the roofing system fire resistant.

While they are strong and long lasting, BUR roofs take some time to install, which can increase costs. Because these roofs are usually heat installed there is also a risk of exposure to hazardous fumes as the roof is being placed on. BUR roofs are also sometimes susceptible to wind damage.

Modified bitumen roofs are usually heat applied.

Modified bitumen

As an alternative to BUR roofing, modified bitumen roofs are composed of an asphalt and either rubber or plastic material that’s normally heat applied using a blowtorch. When heat applied, modified bitumen roofs are nearly seamless, a trait valued because it reduces the chance of leaks. These roofs are also highly impact resistant and hold up well against severe weather such as hail. The material is flexible and expands and contracts as temperatures fluctuate, which helps them avoid cracking.  

On the other hand, while most flat roofs offer strong protection from sun damage, the darker material of modified bitumen tends to absorb heat, making it less energy efficient than other roofing systems. These roofs can also be vulnerable to damage from standing water, so your flat roof will need a good drainage system to keep water flowing away from the roof.

Single ply

As the name implies, single ply roofs are designed with a single roofing membrane. Sheets of membrane are easily applied to the roof, making single ply roofs easy to install. Ease of installation helps reduce costs.

Over the past 40 years or so, many commercial roofers are choosing single ply roofing systems like EPDM and TPO because they are low cost and easy to install. Moreover, these roofs are highly damage resistant and tend to be energy efficient. Both EPDM and TPO are made from synthetic rubber.

Both types of roofing systems hold up against tears, abrasions and punctures, and can last anywhere between 15 and 30 years or more. They are also low-maintenance and easy to repair when repairs are needed.

EPDM roofs are installed in wide strips leaving few seams, an advantage when it comes to avoiding leaks. Often, most problems with EPDM occur with poor installation. Poor installation is not something you never have to worry about when it comes to Hartford Restoration Services’s  experienced roofers.

As a rubber roofing system, TPO roofs have advanced in popularity over the past few years. Like EPDM roofs, TPO is highly damage resistant, as well as effective at resisting corrosive materials. The material is normally light and highly reflective, keeping the sun’s heat away from the building below. This helps improve energy efficiency and saves you money on energy bills.

Repair and installation

Whatever flat roof system you choose, make sure to choose Hartford Restoration Services when you are installing a new roof or needing repairs in East Hartford, CT. With 35 years of experience we are the trusted, dependable commercial roofer for projects throughout Connecticut. Call us at 860-508-0021 today to schedule us.