flat roof

Choosing the Right Flat Roof Material: A Comprehensive Guide

Flat roofs are gaining popularity among homeowners, thanks to their sleek aesthetic, efficient use of space, and cost-effective installation. However, having a flat roof comes with its own set of challenges, including proper drainage, durability, and maintenance.

Selecting the right material for your flat roof is essential to ensure its long-lasting performance and get the most value out of your investment. With a range of options available, making the best choice for your home can seem daunting, but Full House Roofing’s team of professional, experienced residential and commercial roofing experts is here to guide you through the process.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various materials commonly used for flat roofs, their benefits, and how to determine which option is best suited for your home’s specific needs. We will delve into the pros and cons of each material and provide insight into their respective costs, durability, maintenance requirements, and environmental impact.

By arming yourself with knowledge and understanding the differences among flat roof materials, you can make an informed decision to ensure the longevity and performance of your home’s roofing system.

1. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing is a traditional flat roof solution made up of multiple layers of tar, felt, and gravel, creating a durable and waterproof surface.


– Cost-effective: BUR systems are an economical choice, offering a lower cost per square foot compared to other flat roofing materials.

– Longevity: With proper maintenance, built-up roofs can last up to 30 years.

– Fire Resistance: The gravel layer in BUR systems offers excellent fire resistance.


– Installation: Built-up roofing can be time-consuming and labor-intensive to install.

– Weight: BUR systems are heavy, potentially creating added stress on your home’s structure.

2. Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen is a blend of asphalt and rubber or plastic polymers, offering enhanced flexibility and durability compared to traditional built-up roofing.


– Puncture Resistance: Modified bitumen’s reinforced layers provide excellent puncture and tear resistance, making it an ideal choice for areas prone to storms and wind debris.

– Ease of Installation: Modified bitumen can be applied using a range of methods, including heat welding or cold adhesives, making installation more straightforward than BUR systems.

– UV Resistance: Many modified bitumen products come with built-in UV resistance, reducing the risk of sun damage and increasing energy efficiency.


– Cost: Due to the added benefits, modified bitumen systems generally come with a higher price tag than built-up roofing.

– Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including inspections and re-sealing of seams, is essential to ensure the long-lasting performance of this material.

3. Single-Ply Membranes (TPO, EPDM, PVC)

Single-ply membranes are pre-fabricated sheets of synthetic rubber (EPDM) or plastic (TPO, PVC) which are installed in a single layer on the roof deck.


– Installation: Many single-ply membranes are lightweight and easy to install, leading to reduced labor costs and minimal disruption to your home.

– Energy Efficiency: TPO and PVC membranes often have reflective surfaces, reducing solar heat gain and improving energy efficiency.

– Versatility: Single-ply membranes are available in various materials, thicknesses, and colours, allowing homeowners to customize their roofing system to suit their needs.


– Cost: Single-ply membranes tend to have a higher initial cost compared to built-up roofing or modified bitumen systems.

– Puncture Resistance: Some single-ply membranes, particularly EPDM, may be more susceptible to punctures than other flat roof materials.

4. Liquid-Applied Roofing (Silicone, Acrylic, Polyurethane)

Liquid-applied roofing systems involve the application of a seamless, waterproof coating directly onto the roof deck.


– Seamless Design: The lack of seams in liquid-applied roofing systems results in enhanced waterproofing, reducing the risk of leaks.

– UV Resistance: Many liquid-applied coatings offer excellent UV resistance, improving the longevity and energy efficiency of your roofing system.

– Easy Maintenance: Liquid-applied roofing systems can be easily recoated as needed, helping to maintain their appearance and performance.


– Cost: Liquid-applied roofing systems can be more expensive than other options, particularly in terms of initial installation costs.

– Weather Requirements: The application of liquid-based materials requires dry and favorable weather conditions, potentially leading to delays in installation.

Making the Right Choice for Your Home’s Flat Roof

Selecting the appropriate material for your flat roof is crucial in ensuring the long-lasting performance and protection of your home. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of various materials will enable you to make an informed decision based on your home’s specific needs and aesthetic preferences.

For expert guidance on choosing the best flat roofing material for your home and professional roofing services in Kingston and the surrounding area, trust Full House Roofing. Since 2010, our team of residential and commercial roofing experts has been dedicated to providing reliable, tailored solutions and exceptional service for all your roofing needs.

Contact our experienced roofing contractors in Kingston today to help you navigate the complexities of flat roof materials and ensure your home is well-protected for years to come.