A guide to flat roof options

When choosing a flat roof, you need to take a number of considerations into account, including the look you want to achieve, the size of your flat roof, the type of weather it’ll face, and the amount of labour it will require.

Whether you’re considering a flat roof installation, repair, overlay or replacement, read on to understand the advantages of the different types of flat roof materials and construction methods available.

EPDM Roofing

EPDM is a single ply rubber roofing system, fitted without the need for joins - an attractive prospect! Simple and safe to install, with no naked flames, the synthetic rubber is glued to a clean roof decking. A wet bonding adhesive, and a stronger contact adhesive are applied around the perimeters. Trims are fitted around the edges to waterproof the roof giving a smooth, clean finish.

Extremely lightweight, tough and elastic, when you are worried about expansion and contraction (a particular issue with larger roofs) EPDM is probably the right choice for you. With a lifespan of up to 50 years, our Resitrix and Hertalan EPDM range of membranes offer sealing versatility for every challenge and, provided the decking is sound and the structure can carry the extra weight, they prove to be the perfect roofing ‘overlay’.

Root penetration is not a problem for rubber membrane and its excellent waterproofing properties make it ideal in the construction of green roofs (see below).

Cure-IT GRP Roofing

A Cure It roof is a GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) fibreglass roofing system, constructed from a GRP laminate made from specially formulated liquid Roofing Resin and Reinforcement Mat. Suitable for complex shapes, the material is cut to suit the roof, and, again, no heat is required! The Cure It materials come with a 20 year guarantee.

The laminate is applied over a securely fixed Oriented Strand Board 3 (OSB3) 18mm tongue and groove (T&G) deck, the perimeter is finished with Cure It Trims and the entire roof is coated with topcoat. This finish is available in a wide choice of colours and finishes. Installed correctly, Cure It GRP roofs have a life expectancy in excess of 50 years.

If you have a small roof, you might want to opt for our Cure It Roofing Kit. It provides everything you’ll need (apart from trims and rollers) to create the perfect 12m2 roof. For roofs of other dimensions, there’s a helpful Cure It app telling you everything you'll need to know.

Cure It mixing ratios are adapted to suit variations in temperature allowing all ‘year round’ installation, even when temperatures drop to 0°C, by using the specially formulated Extra Cold resin.

Note: Training is recommended before using the Cure It system and we offer regular certified training courses in our local depots. Please contact us for further information.

What about traditional flat roof felt?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Bitumen felt flat roofs are affordable in price and provide a great waterproofing result. The longevity of the roof depends on the quality of the materials used.

In the traditional ‘poor and roll’ process, bitumen is supplied in blocks, broken up and heated on site in a boiler until molten. Once at the correct temperature, it is ladled into bucket and poured hot onto the deck, insulation, or lower layer of the membrane. Layers of membrane are then rolled into it.

 

For all sorts of industry demands, our bitumen boilers are an excellent choice. Robustly constructed, they come with essential accessories including: a heavy-duty burner, 3 metre armoured hose, and an adjustable regulator. Choose from our 10, 15 and 25 gallon sizes. Delivery will be direct to you within just a couple of days from receipt of order.

In our roofing tools section you will also find accessories to suit all your felt flat roofing needs including galvanised v lipped steel pouring buckets, tar bowls, etc.

Modified bitumen - the ‘Torch-On’ felt technique

‘Torch-On’ felt roofing is manufactured in roll format. In the factory making process, a base felt is pulled on rollers through large tanks of bitumen mixes until saturated with a tar-like bitumen mixture, to produce rolls of water-resistant yet breathable material.

Modified bitumen refers to when the tar has been mixed with filler components providing rigidity and tear resistance. Fillers can include limestone, sand or polymers, including styrene-butadiene styrene (SBS) a synthetic rubber additive that increases elasticity. The advantages of SBS modified torch-on are a faster flow of bitumen, less heat required (resulting in cost, time & energy savings) and greater flexibility in cold climates.  

Torch-On roofing follows the same principles as pour and roll, except that modified bitumen adhesive is applied to the felt during manufacture. Heated on site with a gas torch, the modified bitumen pours down the face of the roll to form a small pool. The felt is then rolled forward into this hot bitumen.

We have a large range of  torch-on felts from leading manufacturers including Geco, Bailey and IKO online and in-store.

Products come in a variety of colours and surface finishes that resist oxidisation and damage from UV rays. Geco Copper faced felt is also available to offer a roof covering, which is not only striking in appearance, but performs in temperatures as low as -25°c. We also stock a range of propane torches/ torch kits that combine affordability with great performance, along with every solution you will require, including bitumen primer and felt adhesives to enable felt roofing efficiency.

Note: This is a hazardous job, requiring  high safety levels. Rather than tackling this roofing job without the essential skills, we always recommend contacting a professional.

Green Flat Roof Kits

 

A green roof is a type of living roof, consisting of a layer of vegetation placed on a rooftop. If you roof is visible from above, imagine looking down onto an attractive point of interest! Green roofs provide wildlife habitats for insects, birds and butterflies in an otherwise redundant space. They’re not only beautiful to look at, but also provide both this ecological and an environmental benefit. They absorb pollution and the carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere.

Have you heard of ‘urban heat island effect’? Green roofing reduces the impact of the summer heatwaves forecast to be an increasing problem. The fact they are a great natural insulator will save money and reduce energy costs. As a result of keeping your building both cool in hot weather.

The heat regulating effect also saves on your energy bills in winter. The sound-reducing properties of a green roof means they are often chosen to provide more peace and quiet. Not only do they provide protection from noisy aircraft/traffic, but also heavy rainfall or hail on your flat roof.

Easy to self-install, the tiles click together, no experience or green fingers necessary! They’re also self-sufficient, requiring no irrigation and zero maintenance. Our pre-grown, ready-to-use complete green roof kits are from GrufeKit. Simply choose from sedum or sedum and wildflower mix. Both provide evergreen colour all year round.

When considering the best flat roof material, your priorities and budget will factor considerably in your decision. We have all the flat roof vents, drains, outlets and roof sealants that you may require online and in-store..

If you need any help on flat roofing coverings or any other roofing issue, our friendly team are here to advise. Please give us a call or use the live chat function now.