What Makes a Good Flat Roof?
Flat roofs aren’t just for your garage. Although most of us automatically think of a pitched roof for our home, a good-quality flat roof can work excellently. There’s a wide range of materials available, and flat roofs offer many opportunities.
Flat Roof vs Pitched Roof
Flat roofs have tended to be seen as second best, partly because in the past they’ve tended not to last as long as pitched roofs of slate or tile, as well as presenting problems in allowing rainwater to run off. The run-off issue can be addressed if you choose a good contractor, though, while the materials have improved to the extent that flat roofs can last almost as long as pitched ones, while still being considerably cheaper.
If you’re leaving your roof purely as a covering, you might be better going for a pitched one. However, a flat roof can be used as an extra space, especially if you have a small garden, ranging from a terrace for sitting out on fine days to a roof garden. Or you could make it into a bird sanctuary that the neighbourhood cats can’t easily get at.
The Choice of Materials
Flat roofs can be made of many different materials. Each one has its pros and cons, and each is likely to be the best choice in particular cases.
- Asphalt is a tough, durable material that will last a long time and is great if you want a usable surface. However, it’s relatively expensive and heavier than most alternatives, so you’ll need a strong roof structure.
- EPDM Rubber is easy to install and both strong and lightweight. It doesn’t look very attractive, though, so is probably best kept for roofs that won’t be seen much. It also tends to shrink over time.
- GRP Fibreglass is attractive, lightweight and strong, and suitable to walk on, though it can be a bit slippery. However, it’s best used only for roofs with small areas.
- Felt has traditionally had a poor reputation because of inferior older systems, but modern felt roofing is flexible and durable. It looks attractive and is the cheapest material available. It should ideally have three layers, for ventilation, waterproofing and a top surface, to make it fully effective.
Installing Your Flat Roof
Roofing is generally best left to professionals. Although flat roofs are a little simpler to install than pitched ones, anything much more than a small shed roof is best not tackled even by an expert DIYer. Get in touch to ask about your options for a flat roof.