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Flat Roofing Materials: What Is the Best Solution for Your Needs?

Feb 24, 2021

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Home » Blog » Flat Roofing Materials: What Is the Best Solution for Your Needs?

Every flat roof is unique. What roofing solution is best for yours?

While it may not seem like it, determining the best roofing for a flat roof is not always an easy call. Despite their similar pitch, every flat roof is unique in its own way. What’s more, every building owner will have a different budget and different needs for their property. Here at Dolan Roofing & Construction, we work with several different flat roof materials so that we can provide the best commercial roofing solutions for each individual customer. So, how can you determine the best roofing material for your flat roof? Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the most common materials we use in commercial projects.

TPO membrane roofing

One of the most popular materials used in commercial roofing today, a TPO roof system offers many attractive qualities. As one of several single-ply membranes available, TPO is fairly lightweight and durable. The seams between sheets of material are heat-welded during installation, lending TPO exceptional water resistance. Further, TPO is quite affordable compared to most other commercial roofing materials. Finally, TPO is highly versatile, available in many different colors, including light colors that more readily reflect sunlight.

When it comes to drawbacks, TPO roofing can shrink over time due to exposure to fluctuating temperatures and sunlight. TPO is also generally less tear- and impact-resistant than EPDM, its main single-ply roofing alternative. 

EPDM roofing

Sometimes called a “rubber roof,” EPDM is another single-ply roofing system contending for the best flat roof material. EPDM is a durable synthetic rubber membrane that has also seen wide usage in commercial roofing. With a “bouncier” surface, EPDM roofing is highly impact-resistant (but we don’t recommend jumping on your roof to test it out!). Like TPO, EPDM is a relatively affordable roofing option, and with more time on the market than TPO, its life expectancy is well understood.

In terms of drawbacks, EPDM is not heat-welded, which can leave it more prone to leaks along seams between sections of material. Further, while light-colored EPDM is available, this material is naturally black in color, and thus it absorbs more heat. Finally, like TPO, EPDM is also liable to shrink over time.

Metal roofing

While pricier than many other roofing materials, metal roofing still sees widespread commercial use for one huge reason: durability. Flat roofs made of metal can take a beating like pretty much nothing else can, come hail or high winds. In addition to this supreme durability, metal roofs also carry a long expected lifespan of 40-50 years or more when properly maintained. Finally, metal roofing also offers some impressive variety, with metals such as copper, aluminum, and steel all available for commercial roofs. 

As mentioned above, the biggest drawback of metal roofing is its steep upfront price tag. However, its incredible durability and longevity will make up much, if not all, of this extra expense over time. Another drawback of metal roofing is that it can be tricky to work with for a less experienced roofer. If you’re looking to install a metal roof, make sure your contractor is highly experienced at working with this material.

Dolan Can Help Determine the Best Roofing Material for Your Flat Roof!

As you can see, each flat roofing material has its own claim to being the best type of roof out there. Single-ply membranes like TPO and EPDM are affordable options that still lend plenty of durability to your flat roof. Meanwhile, metal roofing, while costlier, will protect your commercial building like nothing else can. And there are more commercial materials besides these!

If you’re still not sure which roofing material offers the best solution for your flat roof, not to worry! The expert commercial roofers at Dolan Roofing & Construction are here to help. With decades of commercial roofing experience, we’ve helped many property owners make informed decisions and provided a full range of commercial services to meet their roofing needs. Contact Dolan Restoration today!