What Is the Best Material To Use For Flat Roofs?

Abbot Ace
4 min readSep 14, 2021
Best Material To Use For Flat Roofs
Best Material To Use For Flat Roofs

When it comes to covering a flat roof, your choices are very restricted. In a nutshell, when you need a commercial roof replacement in the Bronx NY, traditional roofing materials like asphalt shingles, concrete shingles, and metal are obsolete and appear to be out the window.

That being said, flat roofs have specific roofing materials like PVC, TPO, rubber, and others, each with its advantages and disadvantages. But how do you go about knowing which of these roofing materials is right for you? This article has the answer for you. Here’s a quick guide to the right roofing material for your flat roof.

The Built-Up Roof (BUR)

The traditional hot tar and gravel roof consists of three or more layers of impervious material alternated with hot tar and weighted down by a layer of smooth river rock. A few years ago, it finished with tar paper, these types of roofs gradually use more advanced materials, such as fiberglass and other high-grade materials.


Gravel is an excellent flame retardant.

Attractive for roof windows and terraces.

It is the cheapest of the four roof varieties.


Very heavy.

Sometimes the roof support needs to be further strengthened.

Smelly and messy to install.

Installation is not recommended for occupied dwellings.

Single-Layer Membrane Roof

The roofing membrane is one of the most advanced roofing technologies. This makes it one of the best selections in the commercial roofing industry. This roofing system is popular under the name of elastomeric roofing membrane in the market. This single layer roof is available in a variety of categories including;

1. Polymer-modified Bitumen's

2. Neoprene (polychloroprene)


Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM)

EPDM, which stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer, is a rubber roofing usually installed on residential and commercial roofs. The most common and sought-after single-layer membrane material is EPDM, also known as a rubber roof. This material is one of the first choices for commercial and residential use for roof installation.


One of the main advantages of this single membrane rubber roofing is that it is affordable compared to other roofing membranes.

If you pick a darker shade of EPDM membrane, but it tends to absorb heat.

It has lower-cost, a substitute to PVC and TPO roofing.


As EPDM membranes are generally dark in color and will attract a significant amount of radiant heat from the sun, keeping the temperature of the house high.

Most of the time it is installed like a huge sticker, but it needs to be done slowly and precisely to avoid air bubbles. Else, you will face some difficulties.

Modified Bitumen Roof

A single-ply Bitumen roof similar to the Ice and Water shield but saturated with a mineral-based wear surface. This roofing systems involve heating the adhesive as the material unwinds. Modified bitumen roofing systems are safer and easier to install.


Homeowners can install peel and stick material.

Its light-colored mineral surface reflects heat and reduces utility bills.

Its price is in the middle of the package.


Torch application is a fire hazard and is not recommended for occupied buildings.

Not as resistant to scratches or tears as rubber membrane roofs.

It is more vulnerable to punctures than the other options.

TPO Roofing Membrane

It is recommended to use this type in the construction of complex buildings, especially buildings for industrial and social use, including commercial workshops, administrative buildings, sports facilities, hotels, leisure centers, cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets.

The Pros:

Elasticity, resistance to deformation at subzero temperatures.

The shelf life can be up to 50 years.

Low water absorption, vapor barrier properties.

Chemical components against fire

The Cons:

Repairing a TPO roof usually requires a heat sealer and professional experience.

It is not a flat roofing material suitable for DIY.

PVC Membranes For Flat Roofing

PVC films are ground-breaking waterproofing materials for flat roofs. PVC ceilings are monolayer based on elastic polyvinyl chloride. Hot air welding ensures absolute tightness. Fact: Did you know PVC is also used as Siding Installation in The Bronx NY.


PVC building linings are robust and elastic.

Membrane coatings are an excellent choice for rough and deformed surfaces.

PVC membranes meet all fire safety necessities.

The installation of a PVC membrane costs between 8 to 12 dollars per square foot.

Low lifetime operating and maintenance costs


Installation takes a much longer time.

Subject to damage from wind, rain, snow, etc.



Abbot Ace

Editor & Owner at icecampingpro.com Abbot loves all things travel and outdoors and is a nature-loving, comfy-camping kinda guy. He loves winter camping.