Despite their name, flat roof systems aren’t perfectly flat. Instead, they have a very gentle slope, dropping anywhere from about 1/4″ to 1/2″ per foot to encourage water to drain. Compared to roofs with a steeper pitch, however, water and snow remain on the surface of a flat roof a lot longer.
To prevent water damage, roofs like these are constructed out of special materials that are designed to keep water from entering the structure. Most traditional sloped roofs are covered with shingles. Each row of shingles overlaps the one below it, much like the scales on a fish.
When rainwater falls onto the surface, it runs down over them. Flat roofs, on the other hand, are made up of an unbroken surface that is capable of resisting standing water for at least a short period.
Contact Anderson Metal Roofing and Shingles today and we will help you figure out the next steps in the process.
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Modified Bitumen Roofing (MBR)
At the beginning of the 1960s, a new roofing material known as modified bitumen roofing (MBR) was introduced. This roofing material is superior to built-up roofing (BUR), which was commonly used on roofs before this time, in many ways. Not only does it weigh less but it also is easier to install, eliminating the odor, heat, and mess of BUR roofing. MBR offers excellent flexibility. Created using asphalt, it is similar in many ways to standard asphalt shingles. Roles of modified bitumen roofing are typically 3 feet wide. They are available in lengths measuring as long as 36 feet. A special sheet membrane is applied to the roof before rolling out the sheets of MBR.
The torch-down installation method is commonly used. With this technique, the underside of the roofing is heated, allowing it to melt and bond to the base layer while it is being unrolled. Peel-and-stick MBR options are also available, eliminating the need for heat during the installation process.
What Benefits Does Modified Bitumen Roofing Provide?
- Modified bitumen roofing does a better job of resisting tearing than the majority of other flat roofing systems. This is because it is reinforced with layers of polyester, fiberglass, or both. The extra strength provided by these layers makes MBR an excellent choice for low-slope roofs on commercial buildings that get a lot of foot traffic like rooftop restaurants.
- When it comes to waterproofing, modified bitumen roofs are the preferred choice. The natural waterproofing characteristics of bitumen allow it to stand up well to wet weather as long as it is installed correctly.
- Since the mineral surfacing is applied in a factory, it is extremely consistent.
- Installing modified bitumen roofing is much easier than installing built-up roofing. This lowers labor costs and decreases the chances of mistakes occurring during installation.
- To keep interior spaces cool, the uppermost layer of the roofing can be treated with “cool roof” applications. This can include solar reflectance, which is a characteristic that reflects the rays of the sun, or thermal emission, which allows any heat that has already been absorbed by the roof to be released. This results in lower cooling costs for the building thanks to a decrease in energy usage.
- Flexible roofing materials like modified bitumen are an excellent choice for low-slope roofs. Not only do they do a good job of withstanding impact but they also can easily expand and contract with changing temperatures.
- Self-adhesive roll roofing is easy enough to install that many homeowners can do it on their own.
- Typically, modified bitumen roofing is recyclable, much like shingles that are made out of asphalt.
- MBR is more durable than a built-up roof and is as easy to install as other types of roofing like ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing.
- In the unlikely event that a tear occurs in the roof, it can easily be repaired with a bitumen patch. Any problems usually occur near flashing or where there are seals. As long as the roof is installed by a professional and proper maintenance procedure is followed, however, tearing usually isn’t an issue.
Why Don’t More Homes Have Flat Roofs?
Flat roofs, which are also referred to as low-slope roofs, aren’t seen as often in the US as sloped roofs. Water is more likely to pool on flat roofs than on more steeply sloped roofs. Because of that, it isn’t used as commonly in climates that get a lot of rain or snow.
One thing to remember, however, is that flat roofs usually slope anywhere between 5° and 15°. This enables water to drain off of the surface.
Flat Roofs Create Space That Can Be Used In Many Ways
One thing that makes flat roofs unique is that they add usable space to a property. They can be transformed into gardens, patios, or green roofs. Installing solar panels on a flat roof is a simple process. Best of all, the panels are much harder to see on roofs like these, meaning that they won’t detract from the look of the property.
Planning for applications like these should be done early on in the design process. That way, special features such as guardrails can be added. The roofing materials can also be chosen based on their ability to stand up to foot traffic and to bear extra weight. Depending on the local requirements for Anderson or Oconee County, a permit may also need to be obtained before installing features like these. In most cases, however, it is worth it since it creates extra space for you and your family to enjoy.
Flat Roofs Offer Excellent Protection And Performance
Flat roofs are an affordable choice for both commercial and residential properties. Today’s materials and installation techniques are more advanced than ever before. They do an excellent job of protecting properties and last for a long time, making them a practical alternative to traditional pitched roofs.
As long as the right materials are used and they are professionally installed, roofs like these can last for a long time. Like any roof system, flat roofs need to be properly maintained to prevent problems from occurring over time.
At Anderson Metal Roofing & Shingles, we feature Mule-Hide products for all our metal roofing services. Mule-Hide offers thoroughly tested and proven products. They also provide you with ultra-modern products that keep up with the continually changing needs of residential roofing.
Another reason why we use Mule-Hide products is that they provide contractor-friendly systems guaranteed by an extensive warranty. Mule-Hide customizes roofing systems to offer you a variety of high-grade products and systems that always meet the rigorous code approvals. Mule-Hide also offers you residential low-slope solutions, including single-ply, which we cut-to-size to make sure they are perfect for your low-slope garage or porch project.
Common Misconceptions About Flat Roofs
Here are a couple of common misconceptions about flat roofs:
Replacing A Flat Roof Is Difficult
One common myth in the roofing industry is that it is harder to replace a flat roof than a standard pitched roof. In the past, flat roofs were made up of many layers, requiring a lot of extra labor to remove them. Today, however, the materials used to construct flat roofs are much more efficient, requiring fewer layers. This makes it easier to replace than they were in the past.
Flat Roofs Are More Likely To Leak Or To Experience Water Damage
Some of the most common problems encountered with flat roofs can easily be prevented. Issues like leaking, pooling, and rot can be avoided through professional installation and proper maintenance. As long as the roof is installed correctly and well cared for, problems like these usually aren’t a concern.
Contact Anderson Metal Roofing and Shingles Today!
Contact us today for all of your roofing needs. We pride ourselves on delivering the best service to our clients and no matter the issue we will have a solution for you.