Before asking “what is the best material for a flat roof?”, the better question is whether this type of roof will work for your property.
First and foremost, roofs are an important part of any property may it be residential, commercial, or industrial. It completes the four walls of a structure. Of course, many would argue that flat roofs are aesthetically flat.
However, commercial property owners focus on economy, efficiency, and durability. A flat roof is an excellent way to go about it. With cheaper materials, a quick installation process, easy maintenance, and time-saving but effective repairs, commercial property owners will never go wrong with flat roofs.
Furthermore, here are eight more reasons why commercial properties benefit from flat roofs.
No doubt, space is important for any commercial property. A growing business procures more materials and equipment progressively. Therefore, without extra space owners will have no choice but to place them by the curb (and get an ordinance reprimand in doing so).
Flat roofs create better internal space given each room in the property has an even size. A triangular pitched-roof room creates less space than a rectangular or square room.
In addition, commercial property owners can store additional materials and equipment on sturdy flat roof materials. A durably-made roof will support weighted equipment such as water tanks, HVAC systems, and even serve as helicopter landing pads!
For most property owners, a flat roof reduces the curb appeal of the property. With all things considered about the aesthetics of a property, a pitched roof does look more beautiful from the sidewalk. However, sloped roofs look more traditional than modern especially for properties with colonial-era designs.
Modern skyscrapers with flat rooftops have excellent curb appeal. Their height gives off an unparalleled commercial look especially in business districts across the world. In addition, shorter properties with flat roofs have a branding-ready area to place the name or logo of their company along these districts.
In fact, hotels use flat roofs because it is suitable for building rooftop bars and gardens (aside from added storage space for other equipment as mentioned earlier). It has the capability to house solar panels to reduce energy costs for these properties too!
Light and Stable
Pitched roofs are quite heavy. In fact, they require additional roofing joists to secure a design. In turn, this adds to their construction costs. If the foundation of the property is unable to support the weight of the pitched roof, then it is likely to burden and weaken the overall lifespan of the commercial property.
Tar & gravel or asphalt, two of the heaviest building materials for roofs, requires additional roofing joists. In contrast, they will not place much stress against the foundations of the property.
The design of the pitched roof makes them potentially unstable without careful installation and possibly expensive to manufacture and install. Therefore, flat roofs are definitely the best option; just make sure you know what is the best material for a flat roof.
Easy and Less Maintenance
First and foremost, it’s easier to walk around on flat surfaces than on ridged or domed surfaces. If you’ve found what is the best material for a flat roof, then you can assume you can safely walk on top of it.
Consequently, this minor difference in shape gives properties with flat roofs easier and quicker maintenance. With a complete overview possible, contractors will find leaks and other roofing problems easier and faster.
Since most flat-roofed commercial properties have smaller widths and are usually taller, contractors can make repairs and other maintenance procedures quicker compared to pitched roofs.
Affordable and Long-Term
If you’re asking “what is the best material for a flat roof?”, your contractor may tell you rubber roof is one of the cheapest yet most durable options around.
No doubt there is better material than rubber. However, ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) made from recycled rubber from tires and other sources, slate dust, and saw dust, has a lifespan of 30 years and only costs $0.4 per square feet. A property owner providing regular EPDM roofing maintenance is likely to stretch the expected lifespan even up to 45 years.
Strangely enough, that’s one of the cheapest options for flat roof materials.
Metal roofs, which are quite an investment at $10-$15 per square feet, can last up to 50 years, require less maintenance, are easy to repair, and withstands any weather situation. At this point, it is non-arguable that flat roofs are the most cost-efficient choice compared to pitched roofs. In addition, their simple flat design makes them easier (and cheaper) to install!
Better Rainwater Management
What is the best material for a flat roof not to have clogged drains? Any of them has efficient rainwater management. In fact, flat roofs are not entirely flat upon installation. They have a small 10-degree angle to help direct rainwater towards downspouts installed everywhere on the roof.
In addition, the lack of humongous gutters prevents the possibility of clogged drains and ponded rainwater. Provided property owners install a good gutter protection system using pebbles or mesh wires (or a combination of both), they will need not to worry about leaves and other debris getting into their systems.
Speaking of downspouts, the stability introduced by flat roofs will not require flashings installed on the fascia of the flat roof itself. Contractors will build the downspout system and make it run along the walls of the property. Consequently, this gives it a better foundation unlikely to break down for decades.
Offers Excellent Protection and Insulation
What is the best material for a flat roof that can protect against the sun’s harmful rays and provide great insulation? Namely all of them!
Similarly, pitched roof materials can offer the same protection (given manufacturers use some similar materials for flat roof construction). However, the airtight seal roofing membranes provide is easier to achieve with flat roofs.
With less worry regarding roofing stability, contractors can install flat roofs quickly and optimize insulation for any flat-roofed property.
A Huge Variety of Materials to Choose From
If you’re still deciding on what is the best material for a flat roof, make sure to count shingles out of the equation. Because they’re installed in rows, they are effective only for pitched roofs.
However, you’re not at a loss in materials at all. Here are some flat roofing materials (aside from the aforementioned rubber and metal roofs) with the ability to outlast and outperform pitched-roof shingles!
- Tar & Gravel
- Modified Bitumen
- Roofing Felt
Will flat roofs work for your property? Absolutely. Of course, it is important to consider what is the best material for a flat roof first. Consequently, with everything down pat, the installation and the contractor’s regular maintenance will ensure your roof performs in the best and efficient way possible.