single-plyNobody wants the cost and hassle of replacing an old flat roof, but when pinprick holes form and water starts to enter, the rot has – literally – set in. You might be wondering how much it will cost, and what materials can be used.

Most of our customers choose modern membranes for their brand new flat roof, although traditional techniques are still popular because so many roofers are skilled in fitting them. Here are some ideas to consider.

Factor in the location

Bitumen roofs are traditionally laid as sheets, and sealed using hot torches, with an insulating material underneath. Bitumen roofs are commonly used on industrial buildings, where the owners want an exceptionally durable solution. Having a new roof can be very disruptive for a school, so while this is an expensive option, it can last a long time. However, hot torches may present a fire risk if an inexperienced person uses them, and this has given bitumen a bad reputation.

For domestic roofing, there are two alternatives that tend to be more popular, mainly because they are more affordable.

  • Elastomeric membrane (EPDM) is applied in a single ply sheet, and looks similar to a piece of rubber. In fact, it’s a synthetic material that is extremely strong and flexible. EPDM can last a long time, providing it’s correctly fitted; some manufacturers will guarantee your roof for two or three decades. Don’t be tempted to cut corners with the budget, because a good result is dependent on using the best quality EPDM you can afford. EPDM does degrade when it comes into contact with fumes from ovens, although this is more of a concern in commercial kitchens than domestic ones. For advice, consult your installer before you have it installed on a kitchen roof.
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a type of roofing membrane that is known for its energy efficiency. That’s primarily because it reflects head very well, and doesn’t rot and weaken in the presence of UV light. TPO perhaps the most difficult to install.

Both EPDM and TPO are modern materials that should last a generation on your roof. For many homeowners, the expected lifespan fits with their expectations and budget, and offers a pleasing finish. Other types of membranes, like PVC, may be recommended in your individual situation.

Getting a good result

Whatever roof material you choose, the key is to hire a competent roofing company who will install the roof to the highest standards.

First, they need to check that the gradient of the roof is sufficient to allow water to drain away. If it doesn’t, the water is always going to be in danger of pooling instead of running into the gutter, which can cause the material to split and sag.

It’s also necessary to check the decking in the roof to make sure it’s not rotten, and made from appropriate materials that will not warp or sag over time.

Get a survey booked

Without seeing your roof, it’s impossible to make a judgement on the best material to use. Contact South Thames Roofing today, and we’ll give you a no-obligation quote for the best replacement.