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Flat Roofing Alternatives You May Need in 2019

By on October 28, 2019

Compared to a traditional sloped roof, a flat roof looks and performs differently. Today, the availability of cutting-edge flat roof systems offers a wide range of distinct pros and cons, longevity, and price. Times have changed, and this 2019, you must look for roofing systems that work for you and your business.

Generally, a classic flat roof can be at almost level, or it may have a slight pitch of three to 12 inches or less.

Most of the time, flat roofs don’t last long or not as durable as the sloped one as it shed snow and rain a lot quicker. However, new and advanced materials were developed over the last few decades – allowing for the evolution of flat roofs to be long-lasting, energy-efficient, and competitive enough to keep up with traditional roofs when it comes to longevity.

When it comes to commercial and industrial property, flat roofing is the choice for its functionality. Moreover, a pitched roof is not necessary for that purpose. Plus, only flat roofs offer an added space, which is useful for building owners – more than its design, they are going for it due to its flexibility. If there are regular maintenance and inspections, there is an area that can be accessed by workers. Therefore, a low slope is the ideal roofing for commercial use.

However, a familiarity with flat roofing is not enough. As business owners, you should know what suits your goals and plans.

As too many commercial roofing options can be confusing at times, making a mistake is a possibility – which you must avoid, or else, time and investments will be wasted, something that business owners cannot allow. To prevent it from happening, here are the commercial flat roof materials you must learn – divided into three main categories.

  • Built-up
  • Spray-on
  • Synthetic or Single-Ply Membranes

Grouping them into three categories makes it simple – each type will help you see the best options for you this 2019.

Built-up Roofing

Built-up roofing is made up of tar-saturated paper – or liquid tar – with gravel, asphalt, rolled asphalt, or modified bitumen. As the roof is installed, layers are added to make it more durable and long-lasting – that is why it’s “built-up.”

Pros Cons
–  Cheap materials and installation costs

– Low maintenance

– Resistant to foot traffic, UV rays, and punctures






– Leak source is difficult to locate

– Short service life (10-15 years)

– Costly repairs

–Poor energy efficiency

– Not environmentally friendly

– Lacks flexibility in cold temperatures

– Emit harmful fumes and vapors

– Hefty material

Spray-on Roofing

There are two main types of spray-on roofing:

  1. Spray foam insulation – sprayed directly onto the roof deck then coated with acrylic or urethane coatings.
  2. Roof coatings – typically installed on top of single-ply – they are modified or low slope metal roofs.
Pros Cons
– Seamless installation

– SPF foam can conform to all roof shapes and sizes

– Offers good insulation and energy efficiency (high R-value)

– Does not have seams

– Minimal maintenance

– Can be applied on top of the existing roof

– Lasts up to 40 years if properly installed

– Very costly

– A complicated installation process

– More potential for system failure

– SPF can only be installed during specific weather conditions

– SPF is usually specified for commercial buildings, not residential homes

– Spray foam roofing emits harmful fumes during the install

Single-ply Roofing

Sing-ply has only one layer of membrane, which is surface for waterproofing and weather. Membranes range (in width) from six to 18 feet – the 10-feet ones are the most commonly used. Its average thickness ranges from 45 to 90 mil.

There are three popular types of Single-ply roofing – EPDM:

  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin)

Nowadays, these three roofs are the most ideal for both commercial and residential construction. However, they are not equal in quality and longevity – each has different formulations, durability specs, and cost.

Pros Cons
– Energy-efficient and solar reflective

– Some materials can be recycled

–Can last up to 30-40 years

– Systems with hot-air welded seams (PVC and TPO) are waterproof

– DIY installs and repairs are possible for EPDM rubber

– Resistant to inclement

– Can be used as a rooftop garden or patio

– Prone to leaks

– Exterior penetrations can cause leaks without proper flashing work

– Require expensive expert installation and equipment (PVC and TPO)

– Can be punctured by a sharp object

If you need a roofer in Toms, New Jersey, to repair or replace your flat roof before the winter season comes, our team is more than willing to help you maintain your building – and show you the relevant alternatives this year! E-mail us today at and get your roofing materials from the nation’s leading roofing manufacturers.

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