Flat Roof Materials Rating

The choice of roofing material for a new or renovated building is one of the most important stages in the whole construction process. 


If you make the right choice, the roof will serve you up to 50 years, without leaks, critical damages, deformations and other unpleasant incidents. Some modern roofing materials will even save money on your electricity bills constantly. 


If you make the wrong or hasty choice, you most likely will be repairing your roof every season, getting rid of leaks, the building will be too hot in summer, and you will be spending extra dollars on air conditioning. 


Are you afraid to make a mistake and choose the wrong material for the roof? Ask the professionals for help – we will answer all your questions, tell you about the available options and help you with the right choice. 


Is there an ideal material for all flat roofs?

It’s worth starting with the statement that there is no such thing as ‘ideal material’ for any roof and for any industrial or private house. In each specific case, you need to select the appropriate option, taking into account the architectural, technical, construction, financial and other features. 


We have been working with roofs for many years and we know which materials are better to choose in your case, what advantages and disadvantages each material has. Feel free to ask for advice.  


What materials are used to cover flat roofs?

There are several common options that are actively used not only in Massachusetts, but throughout the United States.  


Note. We will not consider innovative options that are not too much in demand – such as green roofs or roofs with solar panels, focusing on more popular options. 


These are modern PVC or TPO membranes with a wide range of benefits, a time-tested rubber roof or metal sheets. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each material by comparing the basic parameters. 


Briefly about the main

Rubber roof (EPDM) is a material that has been used for 40 years. It is the cheapest, easy and quick to install, but it is also easy to damage. If the rubber roof is black, it will heat up in hot weather – it’s not good if you don’t want to run your air conditioning 24/7 in summer. 


PVC and TPO are membranes that are made from different chemical raw materials, but have several similar properties. Both materials are quick and easy to install even on large roofs, they cope perfectly with any weather, they are durable and watertight. Note that PVC has better puncture (depending on thickness) and chemical resistance, and TPO is more environmentally friendly. 


PVC IB is a modern roofing that has taken the best from all materials. They are environmentally friendly, water and weather resistant and, importantly, due to the unique reflective properties of the material, such a roof reduces the cost of cooling the building. 


Metal (steel, aluminum, copper) is the most durable material on the list. If the installation was carried out by professionals, such a roof will be completely sealed and as durable as possible. It will ignore mostly all negative influences. However, metal roofs are not the cheapest. In addition, the metal is heavy and often requires building frame reinforcement.  


1. Price

The cheapest option is EPDM roofing, and it is the cost that makes this material so common. However, it has its drawbacks. 


PVC and TPO are materials that are only slightly more expensive than rubber roofing, but in many aspects they are better than their aging rubber counterpart from the 80s. In addition, as mentioned above, energy saving PVC IB Roof is more expensive, but saves your budget on electricity bills. To install such a roof is like to make an investment with dividends.  


Metal costs differently. Thin steel sheets are not very expensive, but they have weakness to physical deformation and corrosion (if they do not have a proper protective coating). Copper is the best metal for roofing, but it is very heavy and the most expensive. 


2. Installation speed

Let’s start with rubber roofs. In the past EPDM roofs were installed with adhesive liquids or mechanically. Today, rubber roofs are installed fully adhered or with special formulated seam tapes. Installation speed is average. 


A more modern solution is a membrane roof. PVC materials are assembled using adhered installation or heat welded technology, which ensures the geometric stability of the materials and their tightness. Alternative methods of installation – mechanical fastening. But it has its drawbacks. PVC IB Roofs are installed faster and easier than anyone in the most reliable way. 


Metal roofs require special assembly equipment that seams metal sheets hermetically without leaving holes. The quality and speed of installation depends on the professionalism of roofers, but such an installation cannot be called the fastest. 


3. Appearance

All modern roofs are attractive. The exception is the “classic” black rubber roofing, which is installed in industrial facilities. 


PVC and TPO are available in several base colors. If they are laid on a roof without folds or bubbles, then such roofs always look neat. 


Metal roofing, especially copper, is a special status. Such a roof looks very beautiful, but it requires a lot of investment. Moreover, copper is really heavy and not every building can hold such a roof.  


4. Durability

EPDM roofs can last up to 20 years if used carefully. This material is susceptible to even minor mechanical and chemical influences. In addition, it can crack and bulge over time. 


Metal is a very strong and durable roofing material that is difficult to damage mechanically. Metal’s only enemies are corrosion and chemicals. 


PVC, especially modern PVC IB Systems, are protected from various types of negative influences. They are also protected from moderate mechanical damage, but their durability in this case depends on the thickness of the membrane. 


5. Fire safety and thermal conductivity

EPDM burns really well. Fireproof EPDM materials are usually multi-layer, with a special fire-resistant layer. But they also lose their fireproof properties after 4-5 years. To add, black rubber roofs get very hot in summer, heating up the building itself – this is impractical. 


Metal roofs do not burn, but they heat up even more under the influence of sunlight. Even if you don’t live in the southern region. Metal roofing can increase your air conditioning costs dramatically. 


PVC roofs are inherently fire resistant, TPO are not. One of the advantages of modern PVC IB Roofs is their ability to cool the roof by reflecting UV rays. In a house with such a roof, you will pay less for electricity every summer. 


6. Lifetime and Warranty

Rubber roofing usually lasts 20 years, PVC roofing 20-30 years, and metal roofing from 10 to 50 years, depending on the resistance to corrosion. 


The service life of the material and the warranty period directly depends on the specific manufacturer, the specific model of the material, the policy of the roofing company. 


We recommend contacting those roofing companies that offer a long-term guarantee, both for the work itself and for the selected materials. 


Which manufacturer brand should you choose?

It is highly desirable to purchase products from American manufacturers who already have a reputation in the market, positive reviews, including recommendations from professionals. 


We cooperate with leading manufacturers of roofing materials for flat and low-slope roofs. We have special partnerships with suppliers of building materials, so we can offer the best roof prices on the market in the region. 


Conclusion

As you can see, in the process of choosing the ideal material for the roof, you need to be guided by a set of factors.  


In some cases, it is OK to choose budget, inexpensive materials, but in others it’s better to find innovative solutions, like PVC IB System, which require more investment in the beginning, but will pay off after a few years. 


We recommend that you consult with our specialist. Call an expert, tell us about your project, ask your questions, and find out what material and what brand will be the best solution in your case.