With their distinctly modern look and relatively easy installation and maintenance, flat roofs have become more and more popular over the years. While it is difficult to provide an estimate for the cost of replacement without an evaluation of your specific roofing issues and needs, this will give you a general idea of what it would cost to replace your flat roof.
Types of Flat Roofing Material
There are several options for flat roofing materials. The most common are:
- Built-up Roofing (or tar and gravel roofing) is the typically the most expensive option. This type of roof consists of several layers of material including hot tar (bitumen), gravel, fiberglass, and roofing felt. It is waterproof and UV-resistant, can last up to 30 years. Built-up roofing can be difficult and hazardous to install, with smelly fumes. BUR roof tend to need continual maintenance to keep them watertight.
- Modified Bitumen is made from asphalt and a variety of rubber modifiers and solvents. There are two types of modified bitumen systems - self-adhering and torch-down. Self-adhering, or “peel-and-stick” is, as you might imagine based on the name, easy to install. Torch-down is more difficult and can be very dangerous, so is best left to the pros. Both are available in smooth or granulated and have a wide variety of warranty periods. This type of roofing tends needs continual maintenance to keep it watertight.
- Rubber Membrane Roofing is one of the more affordable roofing materials. Made of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), it is lightweight, highly resistant to scuffs and sun damage, and leaks are very easy to patch. EPDM is available in white which makes it more reflective and can help on cooling costs in the warmer months.
- Thermoplastic Membrane Roofing is made of durable material with a high temperature tolerance - typically either Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Both are strong, durable, water-resistant, and energy-saving. TPO is usually less expensive than PVC. All Elements uses TPO from Johns Manville and is a certified contractor with them. Our PVC roofing comes from Duro-Last, and it is our primary membrane for low slope roofs
Staying on top of repairs will help extend the life of your roof. The most common repairs for a flat roof include flashing issues, resealing seams, and maintaining scuppers and drains to maintain proper drainage. Regularly inspect your roof, looking for tears, holes, or areas where water is pooling, as these areas are likely to spring leaks. Since flat roofs are more stable to walk on than pitched roofs, doing regular inspections is easy, and addressing these spots before leaks happen can save you money. If you do have a leak, hiring a roofer to patch it can cost from $300 on up depending on the type of roof and extent of the repair - very little when compared to the cost of replacing your entire roof. Whether you choose to inspect your roof yourself or call in a pro, regular inspections are key to extending the life of your roof.
Properly maintaining your flat roof will reduce the time between repairs and help extend the life of your roof. Maintain proper drainage by cleaning out your drains and scuppers after storms, or at least every 4-6 months. Clean your roof off regularly also, as flat roofs are much more likely than pitched roofs to collect leaves and other debris. This debris, if left too long, can accumulate and attract ponding water, which can lead to leaks. Watch for cracks or open seams in the flashings and around any roof penetrations, and either repair or replace as needed to help prevent leaks.