Everything You Need to Know About Different Types of Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are growing in popularity thanks to their easy maintenance and clean look. The clean lines and level of service make them ideal for any home featuring a contemporary style.

However, despite what the name implies, flat roofs aren’t completely flat. They are designed with a slight slope, called the pitch, which helps prevent rainwater accumulation.

When the professionals install flat roofing systems properly and maintain them through the years, they can last for decades – or longer.

As you can see, flat roofs offer many benefits. If you are interested in this type of roofing system, learn more about the types of flat roofs here.

Thermoplastic Membrane Flat Roof – TPO or PVC

A single-ply layer of material is fixed to the roof using plates and screws with this roofing system. Usually, it will be gray or white in color, but other color options are offered today.

This type of roofing is appealing due to its superior durability and high-temperature tolerance.

There are two options for thermoplastic membrane roofing. These include:

1. PVC

PVC is one of the most produced and most used synthetic plastic polymers today. In roofing, it is simple to install, thanks to its superior flexibility.

Also, of the two thermoplastic membrane roofing systems, it is the sturdiest option. Usually, this material can last for 20 years or longer.

2. TPO

TPO is a greener variation of the thermoplastic membrane roof. When it is time to replace the sheeting, it is possible to recycle the material being removed.

When it comes to TPO flat roof pros and cons, the biggest benefit is recyclability. However, perks don’t stop there.

This material is also flame and UV absorption resistant. When installed properly, TPO roofing can last 15 to 20 years.

Built-Up Roof – BUR

BUR roofing systems will use several layers of synthetic or natural roofing felt. This is alternated with hot-applied layers of asphalt or tar.

Usually, the top layer of hot tar or asphalt is then topped with gravel. The job of the gravel is to reflect the sun while protecting the layers under it.

In some situations, a reflective coating is applied instead of gravel and tar. This is usually a messy and stinky roofing process and requires the use of specialized equipment and tools. The application of this type of roofing system is not a DIY project.

As you add more layers to the roof, the durability increases, too. However, it also makes the entire roofing structure heavier. In fact, this is usually the heaviest flat roofing option.

What this means is that the roofing structure and supports must be strong. When done properly, built-up roofing systems are still reliable solutions and are affordable.

Modified Bitumen

With modified bitumen roofing, there are two to three layers of bitumen sheets. Each sheet is applied using a gas torch.

This roofing system has a light color, which makes it ideal for reflecting the sun while reducing electricity costs. It can also help reduce your air conditioning needs inside the building.

As mentioned above, applying this type of roofing requires the use of a torch, which means there is some risk to the process. It is recommended that this roofing never be applied on an occupied building.

It’s also necessary to take needed safety precautions before installing it. This includes ensuring materials are protected from potentially harmful elements before being installed.

Rubber Membrane Flat Roof – EPDM

With this material option for flat roofs, you have a single-ply membrane that is made of rubber. It is attached with glue or anchored using fasteners or rocks.

If rocks are used for securing the rubber, the final product will be like a BUR system. However, instead of gravel being used, the membrane is held down with large stones.

EPDM is available in white or black and is the most affordable flat roofing system to install and repair.

Installation is usually fairly easy and quick. Once installed, the roofing will last for around 25 to 30 years.

The Top Benefits of Flat Roofing

You will see several benefits from flat roofing systems. Some of the top benefits include:


If you see a building or house with a flat roof, what’s the first thing you notice? Chances are it’s the fact that the design is clutter-free and clean.

This makes it a stand-out option for modern buildings.


With flat roofing systems, fewer materials are needed. Also, the time to install the roof is less.

Both these things lead to lower costs for you.

Low Maintenance

Finding issues in a flat roof is much easier than sloped ones. It’s also easier to clean the gutters and provide other maintenance.

Keep in mind that cleaning the gutters is a must to help ensure they don’t get clogged and cause pooled water to collect on the roof surface.

Getting to Know the Different Types of Flat Roofs

As you can see, there are several different types of flat roofs to choose from. Each option has unique pros and cons you should explore before deciding.

It is also wise to work with a flat roof professional who can provide more insight into the materials and make the most sense for your needs and budget.

Do you want to find additional information about topics like home improvement, social media, technology, and more? If so, be sure to check the other blogs on our site. We post new information regularly to help keep you informed.


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