The Pros and Cons of 3 Types of Flat Roof Systems

Choosing between the flat roof systems and deciding on the right one for your project is a difficult decision. To help you make the right decision, here are the pros and cons of three common flat roofs.

The Pros and Cons of 3 Types of Flat Roof Systems

1. The Built-Up Roof

The built-up roof or BUR is usually made of at least three alternating layers of asphalt and reinforcing fabrics. It’s the most common flat roof system on the market.

Pros: Gravel, a common ingredient in BURs works well as a fire-retardant. The BUR is also the cheapest roof currently on the market.

Cons: 

Built-Up Roofs are heavy. In addition, asphalt can degrade, become brittle and lead to leaks.

2. The Rubber Membrane Roof

The rubber membrane roof or EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is exactly what it sounds like—a rubber roof. EPDM roofs are stone-ballasted, secured with fasteners, or glued in place.

Pros:

EPDM roofs resist sun damage. They are easy to install and repair and are light but sturdy.

Cons:

The standard dark rubber used to make rubber membrane roofs absorbs heat. The EPDM is already one of the more expensive options, and lighter colored materials cost significantly more. Also, the roofs are more prone to punctures and leaks.

3. The Modified Bitumen Roof

The modified bitumen roof is a single-ply flat roof option. Originally, this roof required the use of blowtorch for installation. Nowadays, most modified bitumen roofs are peel and stick. TPO is a common singly-ply roof material.

Pros: 

Modified bitumen roofs, unlike many flat roofs which absorb heat, are reflective and will help reduce cooling costs. The roofs are easy to install and are more affordable than rubber membrane roofs.

Cons:

These roofs don’t hold up well to foot traffic. They scuff easily.

At Vera Roofing & Construction, we consider your individual needs and work hard to find the right roof for your residential or commercial project. For more information on what flat roof system would work best for you, contact us.

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