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Exploring your options: a guide to flat roofing materials

Are you wondering what type of flat roofing materials could be best for your commercial premises? 

Flat roofing is a popular choice for commercial buildings across the UK due to its versatility and cost-effectiveness. However, choosing the right roofing material is crucial to ensure longevity, durability, and protection against the elements. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the key flat roofing materials used in the commercial roofing industry, outlining their properties, benefits, and how they are employed by professional roofing contractors, such as ourselves here at DVC Roofing.

Aerial view of housing block showing dark flat roof with air conditioners and waterproofing membranes

When are flat roofing materials employed?

Flat roofs are typical for a number of property types particularly larger properties such as flat blocks, warehouses, and commercial premises. In order to be classed as a flat roof, a roof must have a pitch of less than 10 degrees.

Although they tend to be a more popular choice for properties in dry climates where a high volume of rainfall is not a concern, flat roofs have gained popularity in the UK as a cost-effective option. As such, they’re a common sight to behold across the UK.

Whether you are looking to replace a flat roof that is damaged, or are looking to fulfil the roofing needs of a new property, there are a number of important factors that you need to consider; most importantly, you need to think about what type of roofing material you’ll opt for. This is an important choice, as the selected material will determine both the longevity and reliability of your flat roof. Let’s take a look below at your options.

Reinforced bitumen membranes

reinforced bitumen membrane flat roofing material

Reinforced bitumen membranes, also known in the industry as bitumen felt or roofing felt, have been a staple in the roofing industry for many decades.

Composed of a base material, such as polyester or fibreglass, saturated with bitumen, and then bonded together with heat or adhesives, roofing felt offers a cost-effective and reliable solution for flat roofs. It’s incredibly flexible and offers an ease of installation that makes it a popular choice for both new construction and roof refurbishment projects.

This tried-and-tested material is suitable for a wide range of commercial applications, from warehouses to office buildings due to its durable properties. Additionally, felt roofing is incredibly waterproof due to its bitumen coating, providing excellent protection against water ingress, ensuring protection against leaks and water damage. It’s also resistant to UV radiation, meaning it can provide effective protection for a building come rain or shine, so it really is an ideal material for the unpredictable British weather!

Liquid roofing

Liquid roofing - flat roof on commercial building

Liquid roofing, including methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polyurethane (PU) based systems, offers a versatile and durable solution for commercial flat roofs.

MMA liquid roofing provides quick curing times, making it ideal for projects requiring quick installation or repairs. Its adhesion properties ensure a strong bond to various substrates, enhancing waterproofing and extending the roof’s lifespan.

PU-based liquid roof systems offer incredible flexibility, adapting well to temperature fluctuations and structural movements therefore minimising the risk of cracks and leaks.

Both liquid roofing options boast excellent resistance to UV radiation and weathering, providing long-term protection against environmental elements.

Single ply membranes

Single ply membrane on commercial roof

PVC, TPO and TPE  roofing membranes are another popular choice for commercial flat roofs, prized for their durability, flexibility, and ease of installation. Composed of thermoplastic materials, single ply membranes offer excellent resistance to chemicals, pollutants, and fire, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.

One of the key benefits of single ply roofing is its energy efficiency, making it a standout choice in contexts where this is an important point of consideration. The material’s reflective surface helps to reduce heat absorption, lowering cooling costs and creating a more comfortable indoor environment for building occupants. Additionally, single ply membranes are lightweight and easy to handle, facilitating quick and hassle-free installation for contractors.

Green roofing

Commercial living roof

Last but not least, it’s certainly worth mentioning green roofing, used to create “living roofs” or “eco-roofs”.

This is an innovative and environmentally friendly roofing solution which has been gaining traction in the commercial sector for a number of years now, as emphasis on environmentally friendly design grows. Comprising a layer of vegetation and soil installed over a waterproof membrane, green roofs offer a range of benefits, both environmental and economic.

One of the primary advantages of green roofing is its ability to improve energy efficiency and thermal insulation. The vegetation layer helps to absorb heat and reduce temperature fluctuations, reducing the need for heating and cooling energy. Additionally, green roofs can mitigate water runoff and improve air quality.

Choosing flat roofing materials for your building

Selecting the right flat roofing material is essential for ensuring the longevity, durability, and performance of commercial buildings.

Whether you opt for traditional options like built up roofing or modern alternatives such as single ply membranes, liquid roofing or green roofing, each material offers unique benefits suited to different business needs and environmental considerations. If you’re considering a flat roofing project for your commercial property, it’s essential to consult with a professional roofing contractor to determine the best solution for your specific requirements.

How can DVC Commercial Roofing Contractors help?

Here at DVC Commercial Roofing, we take pride in our ability to deliver a range of flat roof solutions to commercial clients across the UK. Our highly skilled team are adept at carrying out flat roof refurbishments, new installations, and providing state-of-the-art waterproofing systems for a variety of different buildings.

Our team is fully certified, aligned with current building regulations, and consistently up to speed with industry codes of best practice. This standard of practice, along with our connections with top-tier manufacturers and suppliers, ensures high-specification and quality delivery of flat roof solutions, each and every time.

If you are in need of a flat roof refurbishment, or a solution for a new build, our experts have the skills and experience required to advise accordingly, and execute a solution that is suited to the requirements of your building.

Looking to employ a roofing contractor that you can trust? Contact us today.

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