Most builders consider the roof the most essential part of any building besides its foundation. While numerous types of roofs exist, they can be broadly divided into two categories – flat roofs and sloped roofs. Generally, residential properties favor sloped roofs, while commercial buildings prefer flat roofs. 

commercial flat roof building


Even so, there’s plenty of overlap between the two categories because both types have advantages and disadvantages. Most of us know little about flat roofs, and how they are constituted, so this post will explore flat roof layers, highlighting how they combine to provide effective protection against the elements.

How Many Flat Roof Layers Are There?

There are three main layers in a flat roof assembly, each of which has a role to play in ensuring the roof’s integrity, longevity, and performance, as we’ll explore below.

The Surfacing Layer

Aside from the typical weather elements that all roofs are expected to endure, flat roofs are constantly exposed to sunlight and the effects of Ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are particularly harmful to such roofs. This susceptibility is because UV light can degrade and damage some of the materials that go into the composition of flat roofs. 

Adding a surfacing layer to all flat roof installations makes it possible to protect the underlying layers from damage, significantly extending the roof’s lifespan and long-term performance.

The Reinforcement Layer

Every flat roof must incorporate a reinforcement layer for structural stability and durability.

Roofs made using bitumen, a black, sticky, layering material obtained as a by-product of crude oil distillation, require additional layers of felt to reinforce them. Reinforcement layers play an important role in each flat roof, but they do not need to be made from bitumen to be effective. The reinforcement layer mitigates the chances of developing cracks, tears, and holes, which might metastasize into more extensive damage.

The Weatherproofing Layer

Every flat roof will have a layer that aims to keep water out, and some types of flat roof installation will have more than one waterproof layer. Should your property be located in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions such as heavy winds and thunderstorms, it will be more likely that added waterproofing layers will be required. Such layers are designed to prevent moisture from rainfall, hail, and so on from penetrating your property, where it might cause structural or aesthetic damage.

The Types of Flat Roofs Available

Different types of flat roofs are available from which residential and commercial property owners can choose. At Alan’s Roofing we mainly install two different types. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most compelling is that all of the layers mentioned above can be found in the materials listed below. Because these roofing systems are less complex than some of their heavier counterparts, we’re able to keep labor costs down. It is also much easier to see if damage has occurred, since there is less bulk through which to sift. 

Residential Flat Roofs: 

We choose to use Owens Corning® Deck Seal for residential low-slope or flat roofs that are ¼:12 all the way to 2:12 pitch. This material can be installed in two or three ply systems, according to need. The color options available with the Deck Seal product match with existing shingle offerings to create a cohesive look across the residential roof. An additional benefit offered by this material for homeowners is that the same company gives warranty for both the Deck Seal & the other Owens Corning® materials that are on the house. This greatly reduces the hassle should any problems arise. 

Commercial Flat Roofs:

Website TPO 2 (1)

Our material of choice for commercial roofs that are flat or low-slope is Mule-Hide® TPO. TPO has great flexibility and a longer lifespan than modified bitumen, usually around 20-30 years. It is strong, weather resistant, and has superior seam strength compared with other flat roof material products. TPO is a white membrane and that white color helps it to reflect heat away from your building. It is Energy Star rated to improve energy efficiency for your commercial structure.       

Final Thoughts

Flat roofs are an excellent option for people choosing a roof for their commercial or residential properties. They offer a convenient, aesthetically pleasing, energy-efficient alternative to sloped roofing alternatives. Even so, it’s vital that you call in experienced, qualified flat roofing contractors to carry out any installation, maintenance, and repair work to ensure that the project is carried out safely, promptly, and effectively.

Alan’s Roofing has over 30 years of experience serving clients in Central Florida and surrounding counties. Our team of roofers are hard-working and reliable. You will always get expert, dedicated service when you bring our specialists on board to help you realize your dream for your property. For all your roofing needs, make Alan’s Roofing your first choice. Call us today. You won’t regret it!