What is your basic understanding of roofing systems? They are used to cover a home and are made using panels or shingles, yes?
While these factors might be correct for most roofing systems, they aren’t for flat roofs. Many commercial, residential, and industrial buildings use flat roofing systems instead of traditional pitched ones, and they are flat covering.
Although many property owners know the basics of pitched roofing, flat roofing systems are less well-known.
If you are considering a flat roof for your property, here are some facts you should know to ensure you make the right choice
Interesting Facts to Know About Flat Roofing Systems
If you are looking into flat roofing systems and weighing your options, here are some important facts you might not be aware of.
1. They Aren’t Altogether Flat
While flat roofing systems are flatter than standard ones, they aren’t technically flat. Roofing contractors and manufacturers call them ‘flat roofs’ because they aren’t curved or sloped like others, and for anyone looking at them, they will seem horizontal or flat.
But it may come as a surprise that even flat roofs have a slight slope, measuring around ¼-inch per foot. This is done to allow debris and water to drain off and to prevent standing water from accumulating.
2. Bird Droppings Can Cause Damage
Bird droppings are acidic owing to their high levels of uric acid, with a pH level between 3 and 4.5. This can result in them damaging flat roofs when left uncleaned for long periods. Besides adding unpleasant spots, these droppings can damage the different layers of the roof. This is why many roofing contractors advise property owners to take measures to ensure their flat roof doesn’t have elements like predator decoys, anti-roosting strips, et cetera that make it hospitable for birds.
3. Some Solar Panels Are Designed Specifically for Flat Roofs
Some manufacturers design solar panels suitable for installation on buildings with flat roofs. These make the property energy efficient and help reduce utility bills. They have a low-profile design and can do double duty by offering to scaffold to safely add rooftop equipment like outdoor units of air conditioners and more.
4. They Can Be Used as a Garden
Do you live in a crowded urban area and wish you had space for a small garden or other greenery? A flat roof allows property owners to successfully design a garden that offers privacy as they can choose who can access the space. Plus, you don’t have to worry about meddlesome neighbours or garden pests such as squirrels and other rodents destroying your plants. Besides this, your plants will also receive adequate sunlight as there won’t be anything blocking them unless you have a large tree that shades the building.
Moreover, a flat roof garden will help reduce the temperature inside the building as the plants will absorb most of the sun’s energy. In this way, you will also reduce your utility bills. A garden on your flat roofing system will also greatly improve thermal efficiency during colder months as it will lock the heat inside the building and help maintain a comfortable overall temperature.
5. They Can Last More Than 20 Years
When you have your flat roofing system installed and maintained by experienced professionals, you can rest assured knowing your property will be well-protected for years to come.
However, as the property owner, it’s your job to ensure it is maintained regularly to address issues that can cause extensive damage if left unchecked. Depending on the materials used, you can expect your roofing system to last anywhere between 10 and 20 years, or longer.
6. Flat Roofing Systems Can Be Insulated
There is a common misconception among property owners that flat roofing systems don’t provide any insulation. However, they can be insulated using different methods than those used on other roofing systems. Plus, there are different solutions to upgrade the insulation to make it optimally energy efficient.
7. There Are Many Types You Can Choose From
While flat roofing systems may seem simplistic, they can be built using numerous variations. By knowing their differences, you can understand which is the better option and how best to maintain it. Here are the systems you should know of:
● Modified Bitumen – This system has an asphalt-based sheet that is installed in five different layers, beginning with insulation. Then the modified base sheets, modified bitumen membrane, adhesive, and surfacing topcoat are applied one by one. This installation is labour intensive so it’s best to have it done by professionals.
● Built-Up Roofs (BUR) – They have a textured tar and gravel exterior and are built up until there is a dense layer of tar and minerals packed together. They are an affordable, low-maintenance option that can last 15 – 20 years.
● Thermoplastic Membrane (TPO or PVC) – This is a single-ply roofing membrane with materials that are fixed on the roof’s surface with plates and screws. It’s typically grey and white, can withstand high temperatures, and usually lasts around 20 years.
● Rubber Membrane (EPDM) – This is another single-ply membrane made with rubber and can either be anchored with rocks or fasteners or glued down. And, when rocks are used to secure this roofing material, it offers a similar appearance to BUR. It can be found in white or black and is considered to be one of the most affordable flat roofing systems available.
Flat roofs offer many benefits, ranging from durability and aesthetics to affordability, making them a suitable option for commercial, residential, and industrial properties. They offer a clean, uniform appearance regardless of which material you choose. Hopefully, this post has helped you understand why this is a suitable choice for your property.