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What are the Flat Roof Options

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  • roof options, guide, your questions
  • Posted date:
  • 22-07-2021
What are the Flat Roof Options

If you are installing a flat roof on your home or business you may be considering : What are the Flat Roof Options. We look at the materials commonly used for flat roofing in the UK.

Flat Roofing Options

Once you have decided on a new roof for your building, whether for your garage or your entire home, you will then need to decide which material you should construct it from. But which flat roof materials are best? And which are most appropriate for the shape and size of your flat roof?

Of course, there is no right or wrong answer - different materials suit different purposes or climates. Your budget may also influence which materials you choose to construct your flat roof from. 

The most popular and useful flat roof materials include:

Felt

Asphalt

Liquid

Hot melt

Single-ply membrane

Green

We'll now take you through some of the advantages and disadvantages of each of these materials used in roofing systems.

Felt Roofing 

Modern felt roofing is applied to your flat roof by using a torch on felt technique to melt the underside of the felt roll sheets and laying them directly onto the structure's surface. 

Unlike older felts, innovations in bitumen technology, such as SBS and APP compounds, have increased the roofing felt's resistance to direct sunlight, increasing their durability. It is typically laid in a three-layer system, with the seams placed as far away from one another as possible. 

The top layer of felt roofing can be purchased in a range of colours but is most commonly produced in a silver reflective finish to protect it from the sun. Each layer of the felt is reinforced with a polyester weave to improve strength and longevity. 

On average, these felt sheets should last around 20 years. They are also the cheapest and most versatile option applicable to any size or shape of a flat roof.

What are the Flat Roof Options - Bristol, Bath, Chippenham

Liquid Roofing 

In recent years, liquid flat roof materials have become increasingly popular throughout Europe and the UK. This material can help increase the longevity of your flat roof by years. It is also a quick, cost-effective and easy material to install, making it almost the best flat roof covering material. 

Compared to tougher, rubber or asphalt-based materials which take many hours to install, liquid roofing can be applied effortlessly. The material also creates no mess, with no need for tar kettles or blowtorches, which also increases the safety of the contractors pouring the material. The liquid roofing is also seamless, forming its own flashing, meaning it is practically watertight.

It can be poured onto any existing surface, including concrete, metal and other roofing materials such as asphalt or felt. It is also very versatile, and you can pour it on flat, domed or pitched roofs. Liquid roofing is also easy to maintain or repair, with no sheets or layers to rip up when being replaced. The price and ease of installing liquid roofing make it one of the best flat roof covering choices.

What is Single-Ply Roofing?

Single-Ply Roofing

Single-ply roofing is essentially any material that can waterproof a flat roof using only one layer. This contrasts with roofing felt, which takes three layers to form an effective waterproof system. 

These single-ply materials include EPDM rubber, fibreglass, PVC or TPO. However, many roofing companies might change the name of this material depending on their branding, so it is always best to ask what specific elements these single-ply flat roof coverings are made of. 

These flat roof single-ply materials have many benefits, first of which are lightweight, flexible and resistant to direct sunlight. They can also withstand extreme weather conditions and are fire-resistant and self-extinguishing. 

They have good chemical resistance and, depending on the materials they are made from, can be very ecologically and environmentally friendly. These roofing materials are most popular in commercial structures, given that they can often be quite expensive.

Hot Melt 

Hot melt roofs are constructed from a self-healing membrane system, created by pouring hot liquid material straight onto the structural surface of the flat roof. Like the liquid roofing system, hot melt roofing is a fully bonded system, which can take shape and size of whichever roof it is poured onto. Given that it is hot and poured directly onto the prepared surface of the roof, the material forms a watertight seal across the whole roof. 

Hot melt roofing has a two-layered rubber roof system composed of modified bitumen compounds. Overall the depth of the material should be around 6 mm, with layers of reinforced fleecing between each layer of bitumen rubber. There should then be a layer of bonded felt placed on top of the previous layers. 

Again like liquid roofing, hot melt materials can be poured directly onto any property materials, including concrete, brickwork and wood. It is therefore also an easy and quick process for any roofing contractor to carry out. 

Another benefit of hot melt roofing materials is that they can be poured and laid at any temperature, even those down to -10°C. This is a practical advantage not found in other flat roof materials. This means that installation can be done in colder climates or winter when the temperatures of flat roofs will be lower than that at ground level.

Mastic Asphalt 

Mastic asphalt has been used in construction projects for many years, and through the decades, it has undergone numerous improvements and innovations. Modern asphalt is produced using up-to-date polymers, improving its construction qualities.

There are various uses for mastic asphalt, including paving, flooring and, of course, roofing.  Asphalt can be poured onto almost any sound property, including concrete, metal or wood. 

It can accommodate any roofing accessory, such as skylights or vents and can be worked around different shapes, curves, edges and sizes of flat roofs. 

The material is heated in a boiler or kettle and poured onto the surface while still hot. The contractor will then use a trowel to smooth and shape the material before allowing it to cool into a hard, durable flat roof covering. 

Mastic asphalt roofs are slightly more expensive than other options, such as hot melt or felt, and they are not suitable for all structures. An installer can only pour it onto buildings strong enough to support its weight and one that is either flat or gently sloped. Asphalt cannot be poured onto steep surfaces.

Of all the options, it is one of the most durable, offering strong protection against damage, with the added benefit of being easy and cheap to repair. 

A 40-year-old asphalt roof could easily be repaired and last another 20 years, giving it one of the longest lifespans of the roofing materials compared to the alternatives.  

What is Mastic Asphalt Roofing?

Green Roofs 

Green roofs are a contemporary and incredibly versatile option when considering what to lay on your flat roof. Unlike the previous examples, green roofs are not an instant fix. 

Depending on the type of green roof you choose, whether intensive or extensive, you will have to maintain the roof garden to different degrees once installed. What greenery you choose to grow will also affect the level of maintenance required. You could even incorporate a decking or lounge space into the garden. 

There are, however, many benefits to installing a green roof onto your home or other building. Given the greenery and soil used to create them, green roofs are naturally very good at absorbing rainwater or snow, keeping the structure it sits on perfectly dry. 

The vegetation is also perfect for absorbing sunlight, protecting the structure's material while adding insulation to the building in the summer - ultimately saving you money on your energy bills. 

The ecological benefits of installing a green roof are also a positive advantage. By creating a natural environment on the roof of a building, you are effectively replacing the greenery that was taken up to construct the building in the first place. They are a way of giving back to nature and promoting a diverse ecological environment.


Are you looking for flat roofing contractors in Bristol, Bath, Chippenham or the surrounding areas? If you would like more information about our services or to get a quote follow the link below.