Flat roofing is common in commercial settings nationwide. This is because creating a sloped roof is more time-consuming, more expensive, and--when dealing with very large structures--less practical than simply making a flat one. For houses, however, the added expense of creating a pitched roof makes sense in many regions of the country as the slope helps prevent moisture from making its way underneath roofing materials where it can cause damage. Foam and single-ply roofing materials are very popular choices for flat roofs in commercial settings, and their benefits are numerous enough that homeowners are now taking interest in what these materials might bring to a residential setting.
...creating a sloped roof is more time-consuming, more expensive, and often less practical than simply making a flat one...
A single-ply roof is just what its name suggests: A single layer material that is attached directly to the decking either mechanically or with an adhesive. Single-ply roofing materials are championed by many because they are inexpensive, long-lasting, and easy to install. Another big benefit of single-ply roofing is its relative ease of repair. Though there are several different types of single-ply roofing on the market (EPDM, PVC, TPO), their repairs are often a matter of thoroughly cleaning the affected area and applying a liquid sealant, a specialized repair tape, a specialized repair patch, or a combination of the three. There is certainly a degree of finesse involved and an experienced hand can perform such repairs quickly and effectively; however, do-it-yourself single-ply roof repairs are also an option.
Another popular choice for commercial roofs, spray polyurethane foam has many distinct advantages both in its performance and in its application. Since this material is actually sprayed on as a liquid that then sets and becomes a solid, it can be used to create a completely seamless and continuous roof surface of just about any shape or size. The foam provides insulation and protection to the substrate underneath, but is itself vulnerable to ultra violet light rays and must be protected by an elastomeric top coat, which can be painted or sprayed on. Since it is the foam underneath that provides protection from moisture, the installation as a whole remains moisture resistant for quite some time even if impact creates small cracks in the protective top coat.
When it comes to repair, foam roofing is rather DIY-friendly for small areas. The local home improvement store may even offer foam roof repair kits which contain everything needed to fill cracks, patch exposed areas of foam, and reseal the area with a protective top coat. Larger areas of damage to foam roofing are simply too difficult to repair without specialized equipment, however, and should definitely be left to a professional.
3.Other Flat Roof Repairs
For other flat roofing materials like tar and gravel (or built-up roofing), solutions are often simply a matter of applying a new layer of the same material on top of the existing surface. Older flat roofing options are quickly being left behind, however, because single-ply and foam are proving to be such practical choices. These newer technologies are also more environmentally friendly than their predecessors, and can even lower cooling costs for the building below by reflecting heat and not allowing it to permeate the roof's surface.
4.Flat Roof Aesthetics
You won't find too many commercial or industrial flat roofs topped by shingles, but for residential settings, the appearance of the most popular flat roof choices may be less desirable than more traditional roofing materials. Depending on the area of the country you live in, a flat roof topped with shingles, metal, tile, or another more conventional material may perform as well or better than foam or single-ply roofing, and look better doing it, too.
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