2 Types of Roofing Materials for Flat Roofing


For years, flat roofing was reserved for commercial buildings. However, many residential property owners now prefer flat roofs to build roof terraces, rooftop pools or just take advantage of world-class views that may be inaccessible from the lower levels. Others may just enjoy the architectural aesthetic. Whether the building is commercial or residential, there are two common types of materials used for flat roofs.

Built-Up Roof

If budget is your primary consideration, then your builder or architect may recommend a built-up roof or BUR. Some people also know it as hot tar roofing. As the names suggest, the roofing material requires the use of hot tar placed between layers of waterproof material. The more layers used, the stronger the roof is and the better the insulation properties.

However, it also becomes heavier, which may pose a problem if the supporting structure was not properly engineered to take on the extra weight. If the previous or existing roof was metal, the structure may only support lighter roof materials.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer

Commonly shortened as EPDM, this is a more modern way of flat roofing. This type of roof is made from rubber materials that offer a lifespan of up to 50 years. Rubber is naturally waterproof, so no extra waterproofing is necessary. The material is extremely lightweight and pliable, so this may be more ideal for a building that was not engineered to take on a heavy roof.

Some contractors say roof maintenance on the EPDM is easier than a hot tar roof as rubber is very easy to patch. However, the rubber is also very dark, which may pose a problem in warmer temperatures. To reduce heat gain, many people add a white layer, but this may then make the roof heavier.

Before choosing a roof type, always get your building or building plans professionally surveyed. This prevents the likelihood of installing a roof the building cannot support or missing out on the flat roofing type you preferred due to uncertainty.