What Is the Best Material for a Flat Roof?

Flat roofs can be made from a lot of different materials. While there isn’t an absolute best material for all circumstances, there are four materials you should learn about first. Read this blog to learn about the best flat roof materials and to get information to help you determine which is best for your specific needs.

Metals

Metals offer a lot of variety as materials, considering you can use aluminum, steel, or copper on a roof. Let’s start with what they all have in common. Metal roofs are extremely strong. You won’t find roofing materials that can take more punishment from blunt force. Furthermore, when you pick the right metal for the job at hand, you can customize the roof and its design to suit particular purposes. 

On the downside, metal roofs are the most expensive of all. In the long run, you can make a lot of that investment back as the metal lasts decade after decade (provided it gets adequate maintenance), but you’re looking at a hefty up-front price tag.

Another con to metal roofing is that it works best on pitched roofs. If the rise is less than two inches, it’s very easy for water to pond, and unsealed metal is inadequate in those cases. Fortunately, there are metal roof coatings that help to mitigate this disadvantage. A coated metal roof will give you the durability of metal with less of the corrosiveness.

When comparing different metals, you should know that each has its advantages. 

  • Steel roofs are the very strongest. They can handle extreme weather and take a beating like no other roof. But they aren’t as resistant to corrosion, and because of that, they sometimes age faster than other metals.
  • Aluminum roofing is extremely resistant to corrosion. It’s very strong and lighter than steel, making it easier to install. It’s hard to beat an aluminum roof, but it does have a flaw: most people would not consider it an attractive choice. This, of course, is easy to mitigate with an opaque metal roof coating.
  • Copper roofing is beautiful and can turn a roof into a work of art. Copper is incredibly resistant to corrosion, and it’s wildly tough. The fact that it’s the softest roofing material serves as an advantage. Impacts that would puncture even steel tend to only dent the copper — a problem that is only aesthetic in nature. The issue with copper is that it is far and away the most expensive material you’ll find to put on a roof.

Overall, metal is the best of the best for toughness and longevity. It also provides some of the most beautiful roofs if you’re willing to pay the high cost.

PVC

PVC has been a standard choice for flat roofs for around 30 years. It’s a single-ply material, and it has a lot to offer. It sits between metal and the other options on this list in price per square foot, but it is universally considered cost effective.

PVC is more resistant to impact than most single-ply roofs. It rarely cracks, and it requires very little maintenance. It typically lasts 20 years or longer, and it has high UV reflectivity, which helps to lower heating costs in the building.

TPO

TPO roofing is the direct competitor for PVC. TPO is a newer material, and it has quickly risen in popularity. It’s less expensive than PVC while retaining many of the same benefits. It uses heat-welded seams to create a leak-proof covering. It is durable and flexible. It has high solar reflectivity, and it requires little maintenance. TPO is also recyclable, making it one of the greenest flat roofing options.

Modified Bitumen

Modified Bitumen is the budget choice. The material lasts between 10 and 15 years in most cases. Because it uses asphalt, it’s easy to install, which allows you to save money on material costs and installation costs. 

For the low cost, you get less performance. Modified Bitumen cannot take as much punishment as the other flat roof materials. It has a shorter lifespan, and it is much heavier. It is a lower-quality option, but when you need to spend less on roofing right now, it’s a clear winner — especially because it can be maintained, reinforced, or replaced later on when money is less tight.

If you need commercial flat roofing, Alpine Roofing Construction can help. We work with all of these materials and many more. We know them forward and back, and we are happy to answer any questions you might have regarding them. Contact us today for flat roof installation in Dallas/Fort Worth. We’ll discuss your roofing needs, and we can help you make the best choice for your building.

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