Flat Roofing – Advantages and Disadvantages
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Flat roofing in the UK is a popular option. With a large number of buildings boasting flat roofs, homeowners and property developers have a range of materials and styles to choose from. If you’re thinking about a self-build project, you need to replace an existing flat roof, or you’re keen to learn more about different types of flat roofs, here’s a useful guide to the advantages and disadvantages of flat roofs and the pros and cons of each kind of flat roof.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Flat Roofs
Flat roofs are found on large and small buildings and outhouses. Like everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages of flat roofs. Flat roofs pose different challenges, and it’s always a good idea to seek advice from experienced flat roofers before you make any decisions about installing new flat roofs or replacing or repairing existing structures.
Cost is the most significant benefit for most. Generally speaking, flat roofs tend to be significantly cheaper than conventional pitched roofs and they are also cheaper to maintain. Another advantage is the ability to make use of the roof. As the surface is flat, you can use the space to store air conditioning units or to power your home using solar energy. You could even create a green space and design a living roof garden. Internally, the space you open up may also be more versatile due to the uniform shape of the room. As flat roofs tend to be more accessible, you should also find that maintenance jobs, such as clearing the gutters, are also more straightforward.
On the flipside, flat roofs can pose a challenge due to drainage issues. Although a flat roof will drain water away, the process isn’t as efficient as a pitched roof. The lifespan of a flat roof may also not be as long as alternative roof types.
EPDM: The Pros and Cons
EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer. This is a rubber-based material, which is used to cover the flat roof using a single piece taken from a roll. EPDM roofs are long-lasting, with a 20-year guarantee, and they are also a great low maintenance option. EPDM looks smart, and there’s no risk of attracting weeds and moss like there is with felt. As EPDM is made from recycled materials, it’s also an eco-friendly option. The downside is that EPDM is slightly more susceptible to damage than some other materials and the installation requires flat roof expertise.
Pros and Cons of GRP Roofs
GRP (glass reinforced plastic) is an increasingly popular option for flat roofs, and this is largely due to the fact that it offers multiple benefits. GRP is incredibly tough and hard-wearing, and it comes with a 20-year guarantee. This material is also versatile, which means that it suits most properties with a flat roof, and it looks the part. GRP offers variety in terms of the colour of the finish and it’s relatively easy to repair. GRP is also more resistant to common sources of damage and wear and tear than other materials, including footfall. The only real disadvantage of GRP roofs is the cost, which is higher than felt and EPDM roofs. The weather can also be disruptive in terms of when it’s viable to fit a new GRP roof.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Felt Bitumen Roofs
Felt roofing contains bitumen. It’s very common to see felt roofs, and this is almost always due to cost benefits. Felt roofs are the cheapest option, and they’re also suited to most properties. Although felt roofs aren’t as durable as other types of roof, making repairs is simple. The major disadvantage of felt roofs is their relative weakness in comparison to GRP and EPDM roofs. Felt can become worn quickly if the surface is exposed to heavy traffic or footfall, for example.
Weighing Up The Pros and Cons
Most decisions you make in life involve comparing advantages and disadvantages. Flat roofs are simple to maintain, they usually cost less, and there’s a range of materials available. If you have a flat roof, it’s well worth weighing up the pros and cons of different types before choosing the best type for you.
There are multiple types of flat roof, and all offer benefits and drawbacks. If you’re building or renovating a house, or you’d like advice about which type of flat roof to choose, it’s advisable to contact expert flat roofers and gather information before you make a decision.