Does Your Flat Roof Need Repairing Or Replacing?
Do you have a flat roof with insulation, stability, or drainage issues? Is your flat roof old and worn and in need of some loving care?
We specialise in repairing and replacing Flat Roofs in Auckland. We can replace your old Flat roof with high quality modern materials.
Here we’ve put together a Flat Roof Guide to give you more information about this specific roof type …
JP Franklin Roofing Flat Roof Guide
The angle or slope of a roof is properly known as its pitch and flat roofs have up a pitch of up to approximately 10 degrees. Flat roofs, or ‘low-slope’ roofs, are also commonly found on commercial buildings throughout the world. They are an ancient form, largely used in arid climates to protect a property from the heat of the sun.
JP Franklin are a leading Auckland flat roof replacement company and offer a complete solution to your flat roof membrane or internal gutter. Many of the existing Butynol-type roofs and gutters do not have the required fall and over time fail at the seams, sometimes causing thousands of dollars of damage. We offer a range of solutions to suit different budgets from applying a specialised coating such as Silcoat to removing and replacing the existing membrane.
A Bit of History About Flat Roofs
While flat roofs are ancient and have been in use in the Middle East for thousands of years, flat roofs only came into widespread use in Europe and America in the 19th century, when new waterproof roofing materials and the use of structural steel and concrete made them more practical. Following this, flat roofs fast became the most commonly used type to cover office buildings, warehouses, and other commercial buildings, as well as many residential structures. They have seen a come back in recent years in line with contemporary architecture and the desire for inside-outside living and roof gardens.
Flat Roof Materials and Varieties
Lead, tin, copper, asphalt, galvanised steel and more have been used over the years and while some have declined in use, most of these have stood the time and are still used today.
What is the best flat roof material? It depends on many things such as the size, shape, and detail level of your roof as well as your budget. Our team of experts at JP Franklin can advise you on the type of materials best suited to your particular roof.
The main types of flat roof materials are:
Long Run Colorsteel Metal Roofs
Over 35 years ago, New Zealand Steel began making Colorsteel products from New Zealand iron sand. Technology is used in paint coatings to colour steel. Highly durable paint technologies, baked on to the steel at around 250oC, provide additional protection to the frequently aggressive New Zealand weather. The first coat, a primer, aids the steel to prevent the onset of rust, while the second topcoat, is designed to maintain its colour and gloss in New Zealand’s high UV environment. Long Run Colorsteel can be installed on roofs with a pitch as low as 3 degrees.
Read our Long Run Colorsteel Roof Guide.
Torch-on Felt Roofs (modified bitumen)
This is a bitumen-coated felt which comes in a roll and is applied in two or three layers. A blow-torch is used to melt the bitumen as it is laid out, bonding it to the roof. Felt is the most economical option for a flat roof, but also the least durable and it can be easily damaged. It comes in a very limited range of finishes and is not easily repaired to a high aesthetic standard, so is best used on roofs that will be hidden from view. These have a lifespan of about 20 years but if well-maintained can last for more than 30 years..
Asphalt or mastic asphalt has been around for a long time, with good results, and today’s asphalt contains modern polymer formulations making it even better. It’s used for all sorts of tasks such as tanking, paving, flooring, damp proofing, as well as roofing. Asphalt can be laid on most firm structures such as concrete, timber, and metal and can be laid around curves, slopes, and skylights. These can last for over 40 years.
Thermoset Single Ply Membrane Roofs (EPDM)
These materials are ones that chemically crosslink. This means that once seams cure they form one giant ‘molecule’ of roofing. EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber is a durable, synthetic rubber that is very popular due to its tough, lightweight, and elastic properties. It’s normally glued onto the roof in a single layer, without the need for joints. EPDM withstands foot traffic well and should last for at least 40-50 years if well-installed and well-maintained.
Thermoplastic Single Ply Membrane Roofs (PVC, TPO, TPE, PIB)
These membranes are very similar to the thermosets, but there’s no chemical cross-linking or vulcanisation. Seams in the materials are welded together with solvents or heat and return to their original material after cooling. This category includes PVC (polyvinyl chloride), TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin), and TPE (thermoplastic polyolefin elastomer). Lifespans vary depending on the material but for a general idea PVC can last for up to 50 years, TPO 20 years, TPE 30 years, and PIB 30 years plus.
GPR (glass reinforced plastic) Fibreglass Roof
This is a waterproof resin used to create a seamless roof covering. Originally used in the boat-building industry, modern GRP designed specifically for roofing is extremely durable and resistant to damage, with a life expectancy of 50 years or more. Most companies offer a 25-year guarantee for these but they are known to last longer if well-maintained.
Liquid or Paint-on Roofs
Liquid roofing is the process of waterproofing a roof by the application of a specialist liquid roof coating. It is suited to all types of roof, including flat, pitched, and domed. Liquid roofing involves the application of a monolithic, fully bonded, liquid based coating to a roof.
The coating cures to form a rubber like elastomeric waterproof membrane, capable of stretching and returning to its original shape without damage. Such coating systems are usually reinforced with secondary materials such as glass-reinforced plastic to provide additional tensile strength. The coatings can be applied over most traditional roofing materials, including felt, asphalt, bitumen, and concrete.
Check out Viking Roofspec membrane product selection for more details.
Read our full Membrane Roof Guide.
Benefits of a Flat Roof
- Cost – Flat roof materials tend to be cheaper than other roofs because they don’t need to have so much ‘curb appeal’. Labour is cheaper because of the ease and speed of installation as well as the reduced risk for roofers working on them.
- Accessibility – easier to climb onto a flat roof to check, clean, and maintain. This also makes repairs and replacements easier and cheaper.
- Space – creates extra space which can be used for other purposes such as a living space or a garden or to store air conditioning units, satellites, and solar panels so they are not visible from the street
Common Issues With Flat Roofs
Less space for insulation so can be more affected by extreme temperature changes.
Less stability and the ability to withstand weight naturally, so builders must compensate elsewhere in the construction to strengthen the building.
To enable rainwater to drain from the roof, a flat roof is slightly pitched by just a couple of degrees. Flat roofs still do not drain as easily as pitched roofs, so your roofer will likely install additional mechanisms to ensure proper drainage.
Let Us Help You With Your Flat Roof Needs
Contact us at JP Franklin Roofing on 0800 456888 (or complete the form below) for professional advice and/or a competitive quote for your Flat Roof installation, maintenance, repairs, or replacement. We provide top quality craftsmanship at affordable prices.