by admin on May 6, 2011
While older installation methods and poor workmanship can lead to leaks – meaning repair and replacement – modern flat roofing methods have moved on considerably. With the latest technologies, flat roofs are far more durable and now enjoy a lifespan of 50-60 years or more.
A quality flat roof can offer a stylish, modernist look to a property, or it can even function as outdoor living space. A flat roof can serve as an attractive balcony, deck or roof garden, while maximising the amount of useful space underneath.
- Cheaper than pitched roofs
- Efficient use of space
- Can give stylish modernist appearance
- Can add extra living space above
- New methods give long lifespan
- Require maintenance
- Poor installation can lead to leaks
- Can look unattractive alongside traditional pitched roof
- Cheaper methods have shorter lifespan
A traditional flat roofing method, asphalt involves laying a bitumen-based “tar” on the roof, which seals it completely and offers a very long lifespan. Asphalt was popular due to its versatile and hard-wearing nature, but its popularity has dwindled sharply as newer methods have emerged that do not require such labour-intensive installation, nor the exposure of the installer to the risk involved in the very high temperatures required by asphalt. Falling popularity means that skilled installers are becoming harder to find.
- Seamless and very hardwearing
- Outstanding levels of waterproofing
- Long lifespan up to 60 years
- Can be applied to any roof shape
- Potentially 100% recyclable
- Has to be installed at high temperatures
- Very labour-intensive installation
- Very heavy – needs adequate support
- Declining popularity
- Installers can be hard to find
Another “traditional” flat roofing method, where layers of treated composite felts are sealed with asphalt, which has the associated cons (as detailed above). Felt roofs are fantastically cost-effective, but are the least durable of these methods and need replacing most frequently. The main downside to felt roofing is that the seams are naturally more prone to weather and water erosion, leading to increased maintenance requirements.
- Very cost-effective
- Wide availability
- Can withstand foot traffic
- Not prone to wind sheer and peel
- Shorter lifespan
- Requires maintenance
- Heavy material that increases roof load
- Difficult to recycle
Single Ply Roofs
Single ply offers a modern approach to flat roofing. Durable sheets of synthetic polymer are sealed together to provide a continuous waterproof barrier that’s thermally efficient and requires almost zero maintenance. Single ply is quick and easy to install, and offers an environmentally friendly solution.
- Quick and easy to install
- Lightweight materials
- Great weather resistance
- Environmentally friendly
- Long lifespan of 30 years or more
- Most costly than felt
- Not suitable for foot traffic untreated
- Needs a skilled installer
- Material standards are not as developed as other methods
EPDM Rubber Roofs
The most technologically advanced of the roofing methods, EPDM rubber offers continuous, seamless coverage; it is lightweight, flexible and extremely durable, lasting anywhere from 40 to 60 years or more. As well as offering incredible resistance to both water and weather, EPDM stretches with your building, allowing for structural movement. It also has great thermal insulation properties, keeping heat inside the building.
- Superb lifespan
- Fits any size or shape of roof
- Safe, simple installation
- Little or no maintenance
- Lack of colour options
- Requires skilled professional installer
- Derived from oil – a non-renewable energy source
Contact Annadale Roofing in Liverpool for more information and advice on flat roofing. If you’re in a different part of the country, you may want to try someone else. If you need a roofer in Bristol, try a Bristol roofer. Of course, you may be in the midlands and require a roofer in Nottingham (search on Google for roofers Nottingham and you’ll see a wide selection).