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What is the Best Flat Roofing System?

There are many flat roof systems, all have their strengths and weaknesses both in application and after installation process

Rubber roofing/ Single ply is a membrane that is either bonded with glue or mechanically bonded to the substrate with laps glued or heat bonded vast area’s can be installed in a single working day. Some common faults with Rubber/ Single ply are shrinkage and being a single membrane, can be easily punctured, then other systems.

GRP is a rigid system that is resin bonded with CSM (Chop stranded matting) running in-between the 2-layers of resin coating and with a UV coating of any rail colour available, it is probably one of the most robust systems on the market. However, it has to have an expansion joint every 60m² and can only be laid generally on a OSB board. Winter months make the system difficult to install and keeping the boards dry can be an ongoing problem.

RBM (Torch-on Felt) is a single or double membrane that is laid in rolls with laps showing a ‘bitumen bleed’ on joints with a variety of thicknesses up to 5mm that can cope with extreme weather changes and SBS or APP bitumen being used for different situations. Felt is not self-terminating and this is a problem with area repairs also unless felt systems have a separating flashing or termination bar these are susceptible to movement.

Liquid systems are a great modern system and tick nearly all the boxes for roof systems, they can be installed at low and high temperatures, are seamless and easy to install. The finish looks great but because of the liquid thicknesses, it can be prone to impact fractures that other systems can cope with. Weather conditions have to be dry and because most systems are thin the substrate can ‘grin’ through and spoil the finish.

Mastic Asphalt, as know as the ‘king of roofing’, the system has been around for over 100years. With nearly no changes being made, the system has stood the test of time. Still being applied n all building the product can be formed to nearly all details and a great addition of ‘polymer’ asphalt is available making it highly flexible. Some common faults are that asphalt has to be recoated with solar reflective paint every 5-10 years and is susceptible to movement on lead aprons and thermal movement.

Lead roofing has been used for roofing since 500BE on churches and period buildings. It can last up to 500years and is 100% recyclable. Lead roofs are extremely attractive and is highly used on old buildings. There are a few down sides to lead, as a material is very expensive compared to other systems, it has to be applied in bays and is desirable to lead theft.

Our conclusion is that there is no best roof system, all systems are great products and if installed correctly by a fully trained installer, they can all meet the guarantee requirement.