What's A Flat Roof Made Of, Anyway? Answers To Common Homeowner Questions About Flat Roofing

13 July 2015
 Categories: , Blog


If you're hoping to make your home look like a stylish modern masterpiece, you'll probably need to have a flat roof installed. These roofs function very differently from traditional pitched ones, so it's expected that you might have a few questions before you invest in a flat roof. Here are some common homeowner questions and their answers.

Won't Water Just Sit On The Roof After Rain?

It makes sense to think that water or snow will just collect on top of a flat roof after a storm, eventually seeping into your home and causing water damage. Fortunately, this isn't the case. Most flat roofs actually have a very gradual pitch that channels water off to the gutters. Larger or more complex roofs may also have drain channels to help remove snow as it melts and prevent refreezing.

What Is A Flat Roof Made Of?

Homeowners have several options when it comes to roofing materials, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses:

  • Tar and gravel is the most traditional flat roof recipe. A base layer of gravel ballast is put down, and then hot tar is layered with fiberglass membranes several times to create a solid and well-insulated roof. This is easily the cheapest option, but it can be a messy project, and you'll have to leave your home while the roofers are working.
  • EPDM rubber roofing is a more expensive choice, but much easier to install. A single layer of very thick rubber is attached to the home's waterproof membrane with adhesives, fasteners, or gravel ballast similar to tar roofs. This roofing material is resistant to scratches, tears, and leaks, but it can be punctured more easily than other materials. On the plus side, installation can be completed while you remain in the home, and leaks can be patched in minutes.
  • Stick-on bitumen roofing is probably the easiest to install, since it acts like a large sticker for the top of your home. It typically comes in a single layer with adhesive on one side, which is heated and then applied to the top of your home. Bitumen roofing can also be installed while you wait in your house, and its light color is good for reflecting the sun's heat in especially bright climates.

How Long Does It Take To Install A Flat Roof?

Pitched roofs can take days or weeks to complete, but flat roofs are a whole different animal. Because your home's preexisting joists will be supporting the weight of the roof, you don't have to install any new supports. You also have much less material to work with. Due to this increased simplicity, small flat roofs can be installed in less than a day. Larger ones may take two days to finish, however.

If you're considering getting a flat roof for your home, or you have more questions in need of answers, get in touch with your local roofing contractor or a company like Quinn Roofing Solutions Inc to discuss your options. It's also a good time to get information about how to maintain your roof once it's installed. Despite the low cost to install, a good flat roof can last as long as 25 years. Why not see if you can break that record?


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