Flat Roofing and Low Slope Roofing
Despite the name, flat roofing flat. Although standing on a flat roof you’d never notice, a flat roof is sloped slightly, between 1/4 to 1/2 inch per foot. This slope facilitates drainage. Low slope roofing can’t shed water like asphalt shingle roofing, and so it requires a unique combination of materials to protect your home or business. Instead of layers of shingles, we use a watertight, seamless surface.
Flat roofing and low slope roofing have been trending in the Vancouver area because they’re cheaper to install than high steeped roofs, maintaining them is easy, and they pose less risk of slips and falls. Eco Exteriors offers our customers professionally installed and maintained flat roofing options, including:
To learn more about flat or low slope roofing, such as the advantages and disadvantages, materials used, and the best flat roofing options for you, check out our ultimate guide to flat and low slope roofing in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
What Is a Low Slope Roof and What Is a Flat Roof?
Put simply, a flat roof is a synonym for a low slope roof. That’s because a roof cannot be completely flat; water runoff must flow towards a drainage system or gutter. Otherwise, it’ll pool, leak, and eventually stress the roof joists and membranes.
Low slope roofs differ from pitched roofs based on the roof’s angle. You see examples of both types of roofs every day. Pitched roofs typically consist of asphalt shingles or wood shake. While gravity directs the flow of water and ice on a pitched roof, flat roofs rely on a monolithic, or seamless, membrane to repel water. The low slope directs the water towards drains or the edge, but after a rainstorm, it’s not uncommon to see small pools of standing water on a flat roof a few days.
Today’s low slope roofs use either a torch-on membrane or a series of metal panels. Torch-on membranes consist of long sheets of SBS rubber bonded together with torches or a hot, tar-like adhesive. These membranes are inexpensive and can be replaced quickly, but the black membranes aren’t very attractive.
Customers seeking a more visually appealing option purchase metal roofing. Eco Exteriors’ roofers seal your flat roof with tin or copper panels, soldering them in an interlocking, water-tight system.
The biggest challenge of a low slope roof is that it must remain waterproof through the capricious Vancouver seasons. The roof will expand in the summer and contract in the winter. To achieve 100% waterproof results, the installation of flat roof materials must be completed by trained professionals.
What Are the Advantages of a Flat Roof and What Are the Advantages of a Low Slope Roof?
Choosing a flat roof or a low slope roof boasts many advantages over other roofing options, like Asphalt Shingles. Below, we list the benefits our customers love about flat roofing.
Increases Square Footage of Your Home or Business
A flat roof opens the floor plan of your home or business tremendously. Top floors have more space than roofs with high peeks, increasing your indoor square footage. Bulky appliances, like air conditioners, can be installed on your roof. Businesses can place air ventilation units or refrigeration machines on their flat roofs, saving them room. Many customers love planning an easy ingress to the roof and entertaining or planting a garden. This opens the potential for your flat roof to be a living roof.
Accessible and Stable
Far fewer roof-related accidents occur at homes with a flat roof. While there’s usually still an edge to be wary of, a flat roof is accessible. This means inspecting the roof doesn’t require high ladders or special equipment, like fall arrest harnesses.
Great for Extensions
If you’re planning an addition to your home, choose a flat roof. That’s because they’re easier to build, lowering your overall budget. Plus, they offer a modern feel that pairs well with different architecture, from Victorian farmhouses to mid-century red brick bungalows.
Are There any Disadvantages to a Flat and Low Slope Roof?
While the advantages of slow slope roofing abound, there are some downsides. The two common disadvantages we’ve experienced in the field are drainage issues and sun degradation.
While flat roofs drain adequately in most situations, they aren’t as effective as other roofing systems, like pitched roofs. If you need the best drainage possible, then check out our asphalt roofing solutions.
If your home or business gets lots of sunlight, keep in mind that flat roofs are susceptible to sun degradation. Because of their open surface area, they receive more direct sunlight than steep-sloped roofs.
There are ways, however, to combat this weakness. Eco Exteriors offers solar roofing solutions that capture those rays and turn them into energy you can use. Or if you wish to stick with a flat roof, we provide a protective granulated cap sheet that will reflect the sun’s harmful rays.
What Are the Different Types of Flat Roof Materials and Low Slope Roof Materials?
As a leading roofing installer in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Eco Exteriors offers three flat roofing solutions ideal for our west coast climate. They are:
2 Ply Torch-On Membrane
Our 2 Ply membrane comprises one layer of SBS modified bitumen roofing and one protective granulated cap sheet that reflects the sun’s UV light. Both our high-grade SBS and granulated cap provide excellent elasticity, conforming to our extreme temperature fluctuations. Eco Exteriors includes a 15-year warranty on 2-layer torch-on roofing and a 5-year warranty on our workmanship.
3 Ply Torch-On Membrane
With our 3-ply membrane, we fortify your flat roof with two layers of SBS modified bitumen material and one protective granulated cap sheet. The granulated cap protects your roof from sun degradation, while the dual strength SBS bolsters the durability of your coverage. Eco Exteriors believes in our 3-ply flat roof so much that we offer an extended 20-year warranty and a 5-year workmanship warranty.
For the best low slope roofing system, choose our Eco Snap Metal Roofing. This engineered roofing system protects your home from heavy wind, rain, and snow. Metal roofing boasts unprecedented durability, and it might just be the last roof you ever install on your home. It’s so sturdy that we provide a Limited Lifetime Warranty and offer 5, 10, and 15-year workmanship warranties, which include materials and fittings.
- TPO and PVC Can Be Installed Over Your Current Roof System
- Both Products Normally Meet Energy Star Guidelines
- Great Choice for Flat Roofing
TPO/PVC is a great choice for flat roofs that come with big warranties. But there are a few things that you should know about your TPO/PVC roof!
TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin, and PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride – it is similar to vinyl pipes but flexible for a roof! The edges overlap and are heat welded together to ensure water does not get in. White material will have the biggest impact on energy efficiency. The cap sheet can come in a variety of colors and designs. Warranties can be issued for as long as 35 years. The idea is for the seams to be heat welded, turning a lot of sheets into one big sheet
Both of these roofs are extremely durable and long lasting. Penetrations, seams and AC units on the roof are the most susceptible areas for a leak to occur. Your roof should be cleaned before and after monsoon season, especially if you have trees of any kind where debris can cause blockages in the way water drains. TPO/PVC can either go over the current roof or we can tear off and dispose of the old roof and then inspect substrate for bad wood. At the very least, a base sheet (underlayment) is applied under the TPO/PVC, but you can add insulation or other materials to create a more in-depth roofing system.
Flat Roof vs Pitched Roof – What Roof Should I Buy?
If you’re in the market for a new addition to your home, or you’re looking to replace an aging roof, you’ll need to know which roof suites your needs. Below, we break down the key differences between flat roofs and pitched roofs.
|Flat/Low Slope Roof||Pitched Roof|
|Affordable roofing option that costs less to install and maintain||Take longer to install because of safety concerns; materials cost more, too|
|Safer to walk on, and often can be harnessed as a patio or living roof||You can add solar panels, but otherwise, the roof is unusable|
|Easy to access for repairs and cleaning or to install solar panels||With asphalt, slate, metal, and wood shake, there’s a variety of tile colors and styles to choose from to boost your home’s curb appeal.|
|Slow drainage and snow and ice can build up during intense winters||Great drainage and shedding potential; snow unlikely to accumulate all winter|
Usually, it’s best to choose the roof that your home was originally designed to hold. But if you’re looking for a change, or you’re installing a new addition or planning a new building on your property, we suggest a flat roof.
With a flat roof, you’ll not only save money on installation but the entire lifespan of the roof. That’s because they’re cheap to build and maintain, and with our 3 Ply Torch-On or Metal roofing options, they’ll last longer than an asphalt roof.
How Much Does a Flat Roof or a Low Slope Roof Cost?
Thanks to our ultimate guide to flat and low slope roofing in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, you’re prepared to contact us about your new flat roof installation.
Eco Exteriors services the entire Lower Mainland, so you can install a flat roof in Vancouver, Flat Roof in North Vancouver, Flat Roof in Surrey, Flat Roof in Richmond, Flat Roof in West Vancouver, Flat Roof in Burnaby, Flat Roof in Langley, Flat Roof in New Westminster and Flat Roof in Coquitlam and even a Flat Roof in Langley.
Don’t forget that, with our financing options, you’re could be closer to a new roof than you realize. Call or email us today for your free quote.