Considering a flat roof for your property? You are not alone for it is also favored by many residential and commercial property owners. This is a good choice for various reasons. For one, it is a cost-effective option. Going for a flat roof means having to choose between the different types of flat roofing systems available. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages that you may want to look into further. These are the things that we aim to discuss in this blog post.

A low-slope roofing system is usually seen on commercial properties. However, it is not limited to large buildings as you can also use it for residential purposes. As the name suggests, it is characterized by an extremely low slope differentiating it from the rest.

Installing flat roof allows extra space which you can convert into different purposes. You can use it for parking space, storage area, garden, solar panels, and many more. It is also easier to access than a pitched or sloped roof making it safer for workers to walk on and perform maintenance.

Type of Flat Roofing

As an initial step, you need to identify which type of flat roofing material would fit your requirements. There are three main categories. We have traditional membranes, metal, and synthetic membranes. Under these, there are variations that you can choose from.

Without further ado, read on to learn about the different types of flat roofing that can potentially match your requirements.

Traditional Membranes

When we say traditional, these material have been around since the early 20th century. They have proven themselves to be useful, reliable, and durable which makes them a top-of-mind choice.

Tar and Gravel

This is also called built-up roofing (BUR). Tar and gravel materials are produced by stacking layers of tar along with membranes made up of sandwiched corrosion and leak-resistant material. The final layer is then coated with stone or gravel. They have a strong distinct smell and cost about $4 per square foot.

It could be one of the most complicated materials to install. Upon installation, base materials are melted and poured over the surface. On the other hand, BUR is also the sturdiest. Drying takes time, thus, it is recommended to schedule construction outside rainy seasons.

types of flat roofing

BUR has an average lifespan of 20 to 25 years. Tar also has the tendency to shrink over time. However, its lifespan could extend up to 40 long years with proper care and maintenance.

Mastic Asphalt

This century-old flat roof material is known to be waterproof and highly durable. Apart from flat roofing, it is widely used for any type of construction (roads, pavements, bridges, parks, buildings, and many more).

Mastic asphalt (MA) is made from limestone aggregate mixed with bitumen. Its lifespan is unbeatable which lasts up to 50 years. Regular maintenance is needed but in case of damages, you can easily have it repaired by sections.

MA is moldable but requires reinforced joint which makes labor more complex. Price starts at only $2 but again, labor may impact costs.

Modified Bitumen

Waterproof, insulating, and flexible, these are some of its promising features. As a tear-resistant material, it is made from the combination of fiberglass, synthetic polyester layers, and asphalt. It can withstand foot traffic weight but could be vulnerable to plant growth (fungi, algae, and molds).

Modified bitumen is expected to last between 20 to 30 years. It costs about $4 to $5 dollars per square foot.

types of flat roofing


Metal flat roofing systems are popular because they are lightweight and easy to install. Moreover, it has fewer demands when it comes to structural support. They come in different colors and could be reinforced by coatings.

types of flat roofing


Aluminum is known to be highly durable and long-lasting reaching more than 50 years. It is lightweight and compact but could be costly. Priced at around $800 to $1,000 per square foot, it is considered as the most high-end material for flat roofing. It can effectively withstand harsh weather conditions. Moreover, it does not crack or burn, and has superior insulation properties.


Steel is mostly preferred for residential properties. With proper installation and regular maintenance, it can last up to 50 years. It costs about $12 per square foot.

types of flat roofing

This type of metal flat roofing has excellent insulation properties. Also, stell can withstand shifting weather conditions and resist punctures. The only downside (for both steel and aluminum) is that they can be extremely noisy during rain or storms.

Synthetic Membranes

Synthetic roofing membranes are composed of blended chemicals making it more durable, affordable, and long-lasting. There are three variations that you can choose from.

Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)

This synthetic flat roofing material is highly durable and fire-retardant. Lasting between 20 to 30 years, its airtight-sealed corners prevent moisture, provide great insulation, and reflects UV rays.

It is also affordable with a price range of $5 to $6 per square foot.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is a flexible thermoplastic membrane. With its proven durability, it can resist chemicals and other external pollutants. It is an ideal choice for people looking to install long-lasting high-performance roofing material.

PVC is not advisable for flat roofs that make use of two or more materials for it cannot interact with asphalt roofing. It is priced at about $5 to $6 per square foot.


Also known as EPDM or ethylene propylene diene monomer, rubber is both waterproof and lightweight like GRP. It can withstand the inclement weather for many years.

It requires careful installation by experts in order to completely seal the edges as well as other details. This will minimize chances of leakage and future repairs. When seams are not attached properly, it will break down after 5 to 7 years.

EPDM is only available in two colors, black and white, which might be a downside for some. However, in terms of cost, this is the lowest with only about $0.80 per square foot.

Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP)

GRP is made from polyester reinforced with fiberglass. It is known as a durable waterproofing material that lasts from 25 to 30 years priced from $2 to $4 per square foot

Some of its advantages include the following: It prevents leakage and resists strong impacts. It is also fire and chemical resistant. Unlike asphalt, it is available in many colors. GRP is also easy to install and lightweight. Lastly, GRP is an eco-friendly option as it can be recycled after use.

Final Words

Whether you are building a home or a commercial property, you need to carefully decide on which materials you want to go for. For low-sloped roofing, there are different types of flat roofing materials to choose from depending on what would fit your own preferences and requirements. Remember that your choice impacts a lot of factors including expenses.

For your roofing needs, you can reach out to the Skyluxe Roofing and Sheet Metal team. We are composed of highly-skilled and professional workers with unbeatable experience. This is to ensure that you receive nothing but accurate and built to last roofing service. We work hand in hand with our clients to identify their needs and solve their roofing issues in the best way possible.

Contact us today for a free estimate:  647-952-2863.