If you go back around twenty to twenty-five years, the only roofing material people associated with flat roofs was felt. The history of felt roofing dates to the era of the California Gold Rush when gold prospectors would set up temporary dwellings using tar paper in the roof construction. Thankfully, modern materials have come a long way since the early 1800s, and the extent and quality of roofing options have improved drastically. However, the scope of long-lasting roofing materials means consumers have a more challenging selection regarding which roofing system is right for them. In this article, we will feature the most popular roofing systems on the market and examine their strengths and weaknesses.
EPDM Rubber Roofing
EPDM, which is the acronym for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, is one of the most prevalently used roofing materials in the UK for several reasons:
Advantages: One of the principal benefits of EPDM is its longevity. It has an expected lifespan of up to fifty years, making it an excellent value-for-money option, and it requires very little maintenance. It is uncomplicated and quick to install as it requires no form of heating, and a single-ply EPDM membrane can be applied cold to a simple flat roof.
Disadvantages: The most significant drawback to an EPDM system is its inability to handle foot traffic. It can manage light foot traffic for minor repairs, but considerable walking will damage the membrane. It’s also largely unsuitable for complex roof structures or large roofs, as extensive membranes can be a challenge to install.
GRP Fibreglass Roofing
GRP (Glass reinforced polyester) fibreglass roofing is a modern system that combines polyester resin with chopped strand glass fibres to produce a solid and durable roof.
Advantages: Fibreglass roofing systems are renowned for being rugged and long-lasting. They are tough and hard wearing against impacts and foot traffic while being slip resistant to allow for easy repairs. Fibreglass roofs deliver a seamless finish that compliments modern houses and is a popular roofing system among homeowners.
Disadvantages: The installation process for fibreglass roofing systems is best attempted by professionals and should only be undertaken in dry and temperate weather conditions. If your property is known to have any structural movement, fibreglass roofs may not be the best option for your flat roof as they are relatively rigid once installed.
Polyurethane Liquid Roofing
The popularity of polyurethane liquid roofing systems is on the rise primarily because they can be laid straight over an existing felt or fibreglass roof that requires replacement.
Advantages: Polyurethane liquid roofs are quick and easy to install and can be laid during the cold winter months. They only require a single coat layer yet still deliver a tear-resistant finish that is highly elastic. PLR can be applied straight out of the tin without any pre-mixing.
Disadvantages: The biggest drawback to a liquid polyurethane roof is the final look. It doesn’t deliver a seamless or contemporary finish as rubber or fibreglass roofs can, and it tends to need replacing sooner than either of these systems.
Contact the experts for a free, no-obligation flat roof quote
At Stanleys Roofing and Building, we have many years of experience in delivering exceptional flat roof systems using different materials to achieve the desired look. Contact us today if you want to repair a flat roof or have a completely new system installed.