Is it finally time for you to replace the flat roof on your home or business? Well before doing so, you’ll need to determine what would be the best flat roof materials for your reroofing project. Don’t worry, if you’re not quite sure which flat roof materials you should be considering, we are here to help. Below, we’ll go over 3 of the most common and reliable flat roof material types, as well as detail each type’s pros and cons. We will also cover a few other roofing materials for flat roofs just in case our top 3 isn’t what you are looking for. Now, let’s dive right in and talk about the best roofing for flat roofs.

flat roof materials

Flat Roof Materials – Pros and Cons

  1. PVC Roofing

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a surprisingly strong material commonly made of processed petroleum or a natural gas and salt mixture, making it a great single-ply roofing solution. Furthermore, PVC roofing materials carry both an Energy Star and Cool Roof rating.

Pros:

  • Very strong and durable
  • Strong fire-resistance rating
  • Energy-saving due to light coloring reflecting sunlight throughout the day
  • Water/leak proof
  • Available in several different colors

Cons:

  • Releases toxic chemicals when being manufactured
  • Hard to change or replace old PVC roof
  1.  Built-Up Roof (BUR)

Built-up roofing, or BUR, is a type of asphalt roofing that is known as the traditional hot-tar-and-gravel roof since it has been around for hundreds of years. And is still one of the most commonly used flat roof materials today. Although BUR was established a long time ago, its technology continues to progress. What was once made of tar paper is gradually moving to more advanced materials such as fiberglass.

Pros

  • Strong fire-resistance rating
  • Aesthetically pleasing 
  • One of the most cost-effective options

Cons

  • Super heavy, often resulting in needing to reinforce joists
  • Smelly and messy to install
  • Not recommended for DIY projects 
  • Gravel can result in clogged gutters
  1. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monome

EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a rubber membrane roofing material for flat roofs. The durable single-ply rubber membrane resembles that of an inner tube, but it’s engineered to resist damage from the sun and other natural elements. EPDM is often mechanically anchored with fasteners or can also be glued.

Pros

  • DIY friendly 
  • Relatively light yet highly resistant to surface damage like scratches
  • Potential leaks are easy to repair

Cons

  • Standard black material absorbs heat
  • Can be on the pricey side depending on the quality and color
  • More vulnerable to punctures than some of the other flat roof material types

Other Flat Roof Materials to Consider

  1. Modified Bitumen Roof, an asphalt-based roofing material similar to Built-up-Roof (BUR).

Pros

  • Easy to install (peel-and-stick material)
  • Reflects heat, resulting in a decrease in utility costs
  • Mid-tier pricing 

Cons

  • The application can be a fire hazard
  • Susceptible to scuffs and tear
  1. TPO Roofing, or Thermoplastic Polyolefin, is a single-ply roofing membrane that has similar benefits to PVC.

Pros

  • Fire-resistant
  • Cost-effective 
  • Energy star compliant

Cons

  • Newer technology so lack of proven track record
  • Seams don’t always hold up as well
  • Can be more expensive than other options 

Now that you know a little more about the best flat roof material types, hopefully, you will be able to better choose the right material for your project. However, we always recommend talking to a roofing expert before making your final decision. If you have any other questions about roofing materials for flat roofs, feel free to reach out at (858) 206-8599. We look forward to speaking with you about your next roofing project!