Low Slope Roofs
When trying to choose the right roof application for your home, the number of choices can be overwhelming. This is due primarily to the plethora of styles, looks and finish available in the marketplace. In some circumstances however, the choices reduce and are primarily determined by the slope of the roof itself, and not its overall appearance. Although aesthetics still come into play, they are typically not the primary concern.
A low slope or flat roof structure is a perfect example. Unlike high sloped roofs on most homes that are easily viewed from a street level, low slope or flat roofs tend to only be viewed from above and are specifically designed to protect a structure and drain water off the roof when the natural slope of the roof is very low or flat. This type of roofing is generally found on commercial buildings, but in many cases, they find their way into residential construction as well.
Flat & low slope roofs are characterized by having a slope of less than 15 degrees. Due to the nature of their design, low slope/flat roofs are more susceptible to water ponding and leaks than other types of roofs with a steeper pitch. As such, it is important to carefully select the right type of system for your needs.
What is the composition of a Flat & Low Slope Roof?
There are many compositions of flat and low slope roofs. In fact, like shingle roofs, it’s an entire category of roofing that has many different types. Below are the most common flat and low slope roofs used today.
How are they installed and sold?
Due to the numerous types available, please refer to the manufacturer’s product literature and specifications for product and installation details.
What types are available?
If you’ve got your budget on your mind, then it may be worthwhile looking at modified bitumen for your roofing project. It’s one of the most inexpensive flat roof options out there and uses an asphalt membrane as a core component of the roof. The downside to this material is that it doesn’t last as long as other materials. Because they’re more likely to crack than other roofing materials, the lifespan is generally only around 10 – 15 years. However, if longevity isn’t a factor, then it might make for the ideal option for your project.
If you’re looking for a flat roof material that provides a solid balance between affordability and longevity, then TPO might be right for you. This is one of the most inexpensive options on the market today and will last around 15 – 20 years before needing replacement. Due to the lower cost of materials and faster installation, TPO roofs will cost you fewer dollars up front and will provide many years of great performance. They are also white in color to reflect heat, and highly puncture resistant. They also are resistant to animal fats, hydrocarbons, vegetable oils, and even microbial growth. This essentially makes them suitable for any flat roof situation.
EPDM RUBBER ROOFING
An EPDM rubber roof can be a good option, too, especially since it can last more than 20 years. It’s also affordable and easy to repair. Additionally, EPDM sheets tend to be larger than TPOs, which means fewer seams to join. This can lessen the chances of leaks over time. EPDM roofs do however have some characteristics that can limit their use on some installations.
First, they are typically black in color, and can heat up substantially during hot sunny days. This can heat an area below or cause the roof membrane to shrink. In extremely hot weather, this shrinkage could cause seams can pull apart, resulting in damage. They are also not the best choice for certain industries such as food service or those that involve animal biproducts or petroleum. These oils can cause the rubber to distort making it unrepairable. But, if you have a view of your roof from a second-floor window, its black color may be a better choice than white. White roofs can stain and discolor due to the environment, and my become unsightly over time. So, if you’re looking for a black roof that will last a long time and won’t cost you a fortune, then an EPDM rubber roof might be the right choice.
PVC roofing has won many fans over the years for the quality and versatility it shows as a roofing material. While it’s generally more expensive than other options, it does offer a good lifespan. It’s very common for PVC roofs to last 20 – 30 years. There are other benefits too. For example, it’s resistant to a lot of things that would compromise the quality of other materials, such as wind, chemicals, water, and fire. This is due to its composition and welded seams versus glued. PVC roofing is also largely recyclable and has high solar reflectivity due to its white color. The drawbacks are that repairs can become a little complicated during its useful life, adding more money to the overall cost of the roof during its life expectancy. If you’re looking for a roof with a longer lifespan, environmental friendliness, and resistance to the elements, consider a PVC roof.
There are plenty of reasons why people turn to metal roofing again and again. It got a great modern look, is highly durable, and requires very little maintenance. It also won’t crack or tear like membrane materials, is fire resistant, and can be recycled once it has reached the end of its useful life. When installed properly, a high-quality metal roof can last for decades before needing replacement. And that shouldn’t come as any great surprise since metal is an extremely durable material. While metal roofing is especially beneficial for roofs that have some slope, certain types can be used on flat roofs as well.
As with any type of roofing system, it is important to consult with a reputable roofing contractor to determine which type of low slope/flat roof system is best suited for your needs. At DNB Roofing, our experienced team of planners and installers are familiar with the latest installation techniques, products and innovations used in the commercial and residential flat roof segment of the market. Be sure to contact one of our in-house specialists to tell you more.
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