Why flat roofing is seeing a growth in popularity

The 1970s saw the popularity of flat roofing reach fever pitch with many buildings having them installed for a 'modern look'. Since then they have been tarnished with a reputation for being leaky and costly to maintain.

But, like many other building materials, advancements in technology has meant that flat roofing is enjoying a resurgence, as new products make them more durable and many manufacturers are offering lengthy guarantees.


Past flat roofing problems

Traditionally flat roofs were made up of a number of layers of felt and asphalt with joins that could leak over time; these could have started to break down after only a few years.

Leaks were caused by excess water not having the proper outlet to drain away and 'ponding' occurred, where puddles of water gathered on the flat roofing surface. There were also issues with roof nail heads disappearing, or going rusty, and gutters becoming clogged or obstructed.


Modern flat roofing materials

Nowadays, materials are a lot more reliable and affordable. The most common form of flat roofing used now is single-ply waterproof membrane, which when completely sealed, is durable and can last up to 30 years if cared for properly. One material that is not necessarily new to the market, but is seeing a renewed surge in popularity is fibreglass roofing. It is a great flat roofing product as it is widely known to be beneficial for use on roofs that have to deal with a large amount of inclement weather, is a great insulator and is cost-effective and long lasting.

Flat roofs also now generally come with a thermal layer, which traps air between the fibres to insulate a home, helping to reduce household energy bills.

Living roofs

Over the last decade or so there has been an increase in the number of people creating living roofs, or green roofs, or grass roofs, or whatever phrase is of the moment! These roofs are covered with a layer of vegetation, shrubs or plants, and lend themselves very well to flat roofing as they absorb water.

Whilst roofs that are made up of grasses and mosses need very little, or no maintenance, there is the opportunity to grow a variety of plants, vegetables and trees on a living flat roof, which would obviously need maintaining like any other garden.

As well as looking great, living roofs have the additional benefit of protecting the membrane and are fantastic insulators.

Maintaining a flat roof

Flat roofs can last a lifetime, but despite them being easy to look after, if they are left alone and not maintained, they can quickly go in to disrepair and lump you with a costly repair bill.

It is recommended that you inspect your flat roofing at least a couple of times a year to check for any water gathering and to clear leaves and debris so that the drainage can flow freely.

If there is a heavy snowfall then the snow should be cleared off the roof as quickly as possible, as the extra weight could cause damage to the structure; by leaving the snow to thaw could cause ponding, which may lead to leaks. Also, don't forget to look out for any brown stains on the ceiling below your flat roof, as these could indicate a leak.

Chandlers has a wide range of roofing materials, including fibreglass roofing, so your local branch will be happy to give advice and answer any of your flat roofing questions.

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