There are some things you should know about flat roof materials. The flat roof can be one of the most difficult roofs to build. Unlike a gable or shed roof, a flat roof is a roof that has limited off flow or rain water. There has to be a special system to allow for rain water to drain from a flat roof, thus it has to have a slight slope to allow for drainage. This is not the only thing that you need to know about flat roofs, however.
Flat roofs require different materials from the typical shingles used on pitched roofs. Typically, flat roof materials are a heavy duty rubber, commonly known as roofing rubber, and tar. Why are these materials so important in a flat roof? Well, there are several reasons why.
1. Flat roofs can leak much faster than a pitched roof. This is because a flat roof does not have the aid of gravity to cause the water to come down and the snow to fall off in the winter time. Winter is the most punishing time of year for flat roofs. Flat roofs can carry the weight of heavy snow. On top of that, when the snow melts, it becomes heavier and melting snow can also freeze and turn into ice. For this reason, flat roof materials need to be durable and can handle the full punishment from the elements.
2. Roofing rubber is a strong waterproof water barrier which is often used on flat roofs. This is a strong rubber that is at least three-quarter inches thick and is glued to the substrate of the roof with a special rubber cement. Roofing rubber is so strong that many landscape contractors use it for liners for ponds and water gardens. This just indicates the strength of roofing rubber. Sometimes roofing rubber is used in combination with tar to ensure the seams are sealed tightly to keep moisture from entering into the structure.
3. Tar is also an important flat roof material. Tar has been used on flat roofs for centuries. Tar is known for its waterproof properties. If fact tar is petroleum product that is the solid or coagulator part of crude oil. Tar can make a great waterproof coating when heated. On a modern flat roof, tar is typically used to seal the masonry fixtures on the roof and provide a seem in areas where the roofing rubber won’t adhere to, such as brick.
4. Epoxy is another commonly used flat roof material in today’s structures. Epoxy is great because it can provide a durable finish that is very strong. When using epoxy on concrete, however, there is some preparation that needs to be done. Concrete needs to be treated with muriatic acid before the epoxy can be applied. This takes some special skill, since if too much muriatic acid is used, it can damage the concrete. Typically, the muriatic acid needs to be diluted with water and then the substrate needs to be thoroughly hosed down. The concrete then needs to be dried before the epoxy can be applied. Once applied properly, however, epoxy provides a durable seal that can last for ages.
There is a wide variety of flat roof materials that can be used to treat a flat roof and protect it from the elements. The main thing you need to know, however, is that when constructing a flat roof or repairing a structure which has a flat roof, there are several steps you need to take to ensure that the roof won’t leak when the weather gets bad. There are plenty of materials available that you can choose from and you should seek the advice from a professional roofer to decide what flat roof materials you need to use.