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What Is the Best Flat Roof System

While it’s easy to get caught up in the different terms, and confused by the variety of options that are available for flat roofing systems, choosing the right system for your building shouldn’t be difficult.

Since no two buildings are the same, there is a range of different roofing systems available for you to choose from. However, the best roofing option is one that’s chosen with your needs in mind: your budget, durability, and the type of building that the roof is intended for.

To help you to narrow down your options –here are the most popular flat roofs, as well as their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Built Up Roof (BUR) System

A BUR roofing system, also known as “tar and gravel” involves layering tar and gravel to provide a watertight seal and roof. BUR systems were once the most popular choice for flat roofs.

  • Pros

BUR roof systems have been put to the test, and are a tried and true way of installing a flat roof. The method has been around for over 100 years, making them a popular choice. Since the system is designed with multiple layers –you have numerous layers of protection. BUR systems are also highly resistant, reducing the amount of maintenance required to protect against everyday wear and tear.

  • Cons

The BUR system, however, is a very heavy option and your roofing supports may have to be reinforced before having the roof applied. Leaks can also be difficult to track down, since water can travel many feet through the gravel before finally leaking. Another downfall to the BUR system is that the gravel can come loose and clog gutters and drains.

Modified Bitumen Roofing (MB) System

Modified bitumen roofing materials are usually sold in rolls to be applied on flat roofs. The seams are sealed using a torch. This roofing material is relatively durable, and an economical option.

  • Pros

The MB roofing system is easy to repair, lightweight, and an affordable option.

  • Cons

The downfall of MB roofing is the risk of fire during installation. There is also the fact that MB roofing doesn’t hold up well in high traffic areas, so if you are hoping to get a lot of use out of your flat roof –you might want to consider a different material.

Rubber Membrane Roofing System

Also known as an EPDM (Ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber) is as the name suggests, is a rubber roof. Most of these roofs are installed by using one piece of rubber –which eliminates seams and the chance of leaking.

  • Pros

Rubber membrane roofs are lightweight and easy to install –reducing the costs associated with the installation process. Rubber is also a long lasting material, which means that it’s not usually necessary to replace the entire roof. Most rubber roofs can even last upwards of 50 years, and since they are rubber –they are resistant to high winds and harsh weather. Rubber roofs are also relatively easy to repair –make for a cost effective roofing material.

  • Cons

The main concern for rubber roofs is the appearance since most rubber roofs only are available in black. Many times, however, it is possible to paint the roofs with an acrylic paint which not only helps improve the look and reflect heat –but also helps to extend the life span of the roof.

Deciding on the flat roof that’s best is largely a matter of personal preference. For advice on which roof would be best for your building, contact Essential Flat Roofing today.

For flat roof installation in Toronto or the GTA, contact Essential Flat Roofing, Oakville Ontario’s flat roof installation professionals.

Image: Center for Neighborhood Technology

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