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Different Types of Options for Flat Roof Materials

Need a new roof for your flat-roofed building? Or are you considering replacing your sloped roof with a flat one?

Either way, you have the same question on your mind. “What exactly are my options for flat roof materials?”

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Different Types of Options for Flat Roof Materials

Lucky for you, we have the answers to your question right here. The following guide lists the 5 most common flat roofing options for you to consider.

You’ll learn what they’re made of, their pros and cons, how long they last, and more. Keep reading to learn everything you want to know about flat roofing materials.

1. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

BUR is the most popular choice among those who need their flat roof replaced. It is the most affordable option and should last between 15-20 years.

BUR is made of asphalt that is piled several layers high. As you can imagine, this makes the roof very heavy. If the previous roof was lighter, you may need to pay extra for additional roofing reinforcement to hold the BUR up.

One drawback of BUR is its messy, noisy installation. It’s like putting in a paved lot on top of your building.

But this also means that BUR is incredibly strong and durable. Thus, you can keep heavy furniture or equipment on it without damaging it. Or, use it as a floor for rooftop activities.

2. Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing is another very popular choice for old flat roof repair/replacement. It’s similar to BUR in most respects. But it uses an adhesive material called modified bitumen instead of tar.

This roofing is piled in layers like BUR. However, it requires fewer layers because the modified bitumen is more durable than tar.

Thus, modified bitumen roofing is much lighter than BUR, yet it offers just as much protection against the elements. It’s also easier to install.

But it’s not as resistant to scratching and scuffing. So, if you want to use the roof for outdoor activity or heavy equipment, BUR is a better choice.


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3. Thermoset Membrane (EPDM)

EPDM is a rubber-based roofing membrane that is applied in a single, thin layer. As light as it is, though, it’s very resistant to weather and UV rays. Plus, it’s an excellent insulator and will last up to 50 years.

Unfortunately, it does not do well in high-heat locations. If the weather gets too hot, the membrane weakens and tears.

4. Thermoplastic Membrane (TPO)

TPO is another single-layer roofing membrane. It is made of artificial material and offers all the benefits of EPDM. Plus, it’s more resistant than EPDM against bacterial growth and hot weather.

5. Green Roofing

Lastly, green roofing requires more maintenance than the other options but is very beneficial. It’s essentially a living lawn on top of your building.

Green roofing is an extremely good insulator and is 100% recyclable. Plus, it typically absorbs all moisture, thereby preventing leaks. It even benefits the environment in several ways.

Again though, this roof is alive. You’ll need to maintain it in order to keep it that way.

Choose Your Flat Roof Materials Wisely

To make sure you don’t forget about your options, keep this guide bookmarked. Then, use it to make an informed decision about flat roof materials.

Hungry for more content like this? Keep checking our Home Improvement blog regularly for the latest tips and trends.