September 23, 2023

Flat Roof Construction and New Materials

flat roof construction
Flat Roofs 101

Flat roofs, although a clear minority to sloped roofs, are all around your town, whether atop commercial or residential buildings. You may ask yourself sometimes whether they are practical. Flat roof construction might have succumbed to the elements more easily than sloped roofs at one time, but these days, builders can apply new materials designed to resist damage caused by severe weather conditions.

For example, the main issue with flat roofs is the pooling of water and snow accumulating and melting on the surface of a flat roof. A roof slope allows moisture to slide down. Flat roofs promote puddles that can eventually get into your home through the membrane connecting seams or through minor failures in roof flashing details, common around chimneys, skylights, and end walls.

Are Flat Roofs Really Flat?

Flat roofs are not entirely flat. Roofing professionals know better than to lay a completely flat roof, so they add a slope so marginal as to be barely visible. One way to create this slope is with layers, known as built-up roofing. Another way to add a roof pitch to an older roof that has lost some of its minimal slopes is to use tapered insulation in the flat roof construction and replace the existing roof.

Your layers will consist partly of insulation, a substrate (materials include fiberglass and polystyrene), then a top layer bonded to the substrate. Materials for this top layer, the part everyone sees, are changing with new technologies and oil-based products like asphalt waning. Still, asphalt is a very common material, as is tar and gravel.

EPDM Rubber

EPDM rubber is a roofing material that has gained popularity in recent years. It is a durable, synthetic rubber that can be applied to cover a large roof area, minimizing the number of seams that can allow water to seep through and cause damage. As a roofing expert, I can attest that EPDM rubber is applied using a cold or hot method to bond two layers together, creating a single, continuous sheet that eliminates gaps and vulnerable spots.

To further protect the roof, metal flashing can be added around the roof’s perimeter to prevent water from entering sensitive joints. When properly installed, EPDM rubber roofing can adhere securely to the building frame, providing a long-lasting, water-resistant shield for your home or business. With EPDM rubber roofing, you can rest assured that your roof will not be an insurance liability but a reliable and durable protection for your property.


I know that PVC is a great option for flat roofs, especially for those who have struggled with leaks and repairs. PVC roofing membranes are designed to be hot air welded, ensuring that seams are tightly sealed and never leak. This is a significant advantage over traditional flat roofing materials that rely on adhesives or tape to seal seams, which can become brittle over time and fail to prevent leaks.

Another advantage of PVC flat roofs is their ability to reflect solar radiant heat. This is especially true for lighter-colored membranes, which can reflect significant heat and help keep your home cooler in the summer. This reduces energy costs and helps prolong the life of your roof by minimizing the amount of heat it absorbs.

PVC may be the way to go if you’re looking for a reliable, low-maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing flat roofing solution. With its hot air welded seams and solar-reflective properties, PVC flat roofs can help you eliminate leaks and end the never-ending cycle of repairs. Plus, with various colors and finishes available, you can find a PVC membrane that looks great on your home and enhances its curb appeal.


I can tell you that TPO roofing systems have faced some negative publicity in recent years due to concerns about their flammability and reliability. While TPO roofs can be an effective flat roofing option in some cases, some potential issues can arise.

One alternative to consider is a PVC roofing system. PVC is a highly durable and fire-resistant material that can provide many of the same benefits as TPO without the same level of risk. PVC roofs are designed to be hot air welded, creating a strong, seamless bond that is highly resistant to leaks and can withstand extreme weather conditions.

In addition to their durability, PVC roofs are highly customizable in color and finish. This means that you can choose a PVC membrane that performs well and looks great on your home or business.

By choosing a PVC roofing system over TPO, you can eliminate any potential concerns associated with flammability or reliability. With its superior strength and durability, a PVC roof can provide long-lasting protection for your property, ensuring that you stay safe and dry no matter the weather.


Warranty is an important consideration when it comes to flat roofing. Your warranty may depend on the use of trained professionals, so choosing a roofing contractor with experience and expertise in flat roofing installation is important.

You should be aware of two warranties when it comes to flat roofing. The first is the warranty that applies to the roofing materials themselves. This typically covers defects or failures in the materials, such as leaks or cracks, and can vary depending on the manufacturer.

The second warranty applies to the roofing contractor and their workmanship. This warranty ensures that your flat roof installation is done correctly and to industry standards. It can cover leaks, flashing problems, or other installation errors. Choosing a contractor who offers a strong workmanship warranty is important to protect your investment and give you peace of mind.

Before choosing a roofing contractor, be sure to do your research. Look at some of their previous flat roof installations and ask for references from previous customers. Read reviews and testimonials to get an idea of their reputation and level of customer satisfaction.

By choosing a qualified and experienced flat roofing contractor, you can ensure that your roofing materials are installed correctly and that your warranty is protected. Don’t take any chances regarding your flat roof – choose a professional who can get the job done right.

Cool Roofs

The question of cool roofs and insulation is an important consideration for many homeowners, especially in areas with extreme climate fluctuations. A properly installed cool roofing membrane, such as the PVC roofing system from IB Roofs, can offer a range of benefits, including lower energy bills and longer-lasting HVAC equipment.

One of the primary benefits of a cool roofing membrane is its ability to reflect solar heat away from your home. This is achieved through the use of a white coating that is applied to the membrane. The coating reflects the sun’s rays, preventing them from being absorbed into your home and keeping indoor temperatures cooler.

By reducing the amount of heat that enters your home, a cool roofing membrane can help to reduce your energy bills. This is because your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep your home cool, which can translate into significant savings over time.

In addition to energy savings, a cool roofing membrane can also help prolong your HVAC equipment’s life. By reducing the workload on your air conditioning system, you can help to prevent wear and tear that can lead to breakdowns and costly repairs.

Overall, a properly installed cool roofing membrane can be an excellent investment for homeowners looking to improve their home’s energy efficiency and comfort. With its ability to reflect solar heat and reduce energy consumption, it’s a smart choice for anyone living in an area with extreme climate fluctuations.

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