Although flat roofs are more common in commercial buildings, you will also see some residential homes with flat roof installation. A flat roof that needs repair before it reaches its minimum life expectancy of the material only show that it was not properly installed; perhaps it was installed by a contractor who does not really have experience in installing flat roofs.
If a flat roof is installed with a single ply rubber membrane, it usually leaks easily and will require repairs. Before, flat roofing did not use this material but it was made of a base sheet and multiple layers of felt paper and hot asphalt or coal tar. Gravel was used to cover the roof in order to increase its life. This type of flat roofing is called built up roofing. When used residentially, the built up roofing outlasts the roof that uses single ply rubber membrane despite using less high tech materials. Because of inconsistency in installation procedures, this will be true.
So instead of repairing your flat roof which is really expensive, you decide to replace it with a new one, make sure that the roofing contractor that you will hire has years of experience in installing flat roofs. It is important that you check their references before signing the contract. If you are looking for a flat roof installer for residential homes, you might have to look long and hard to find one. Knowing how to install asphalt shingle roofs does not qualify one to know how to install flat residential roofs. Most flat roof installers only take on commercial roofing jobs, but if you are patient in looking for a flat roof installer for residential applications, then youwill surely find one.
There are many materials used in new flat roof installations today. Some still use the single ply membrane which is the most common material for low slope commercial roofing. Others, however, prefer newer materials like PVC membrane or self adhering membrane system and these use hot air welded seams. Roofing contractors would use materials that fits their preferences. Choose a roofing contractor in your area with plenty of experience. Location of your house is important since there are materials that wok best in extreme hot or cold
There are some options to repair your single ply membrane flat roof. You can use a black rubber glue or a peel and stick flashing material with a rubber primer that covers the seams of the membrane which is where the leaks occurs.
Your flat roof’s life can be extended for a limited period with this repair. You only need a small amount of this repair materials so if you don’t want to spend much on these, find a roofing contractor that can sell you’re the amount the your need.