When you need flat roof repairs for your home or business in Washington, whether it's an emergency or you have noticed that your flat roof has seen better days, you need someone that you can rely on.
Checkaroof takes the hassle out of this process by finding a trusted, competent, professional roofer to do the job. Even so, it's good to have some background knowledge of flat roof systems, and this guide should help you to grasp the basics.
Before we go into more detail, you might want to know a bit more about Checkaroof.
We are a company that cares about the quality of your roofing. We believe in the excellence of your roof, no matter how harsh the environmental factors are in your region.
You rely on your roof to protect you, your family, and your possessions from the elements. Checkaroof firmly supports the idea that all flat roofing construction should be of the highest quality using the best materials, to ensure that your roof continues to keep your safe and dry for many years to come.
Although many homes have pitched roofs, there are thousands of flat roof systems installed on garages, apartments, Sheds, pre-fab houses, chalets, maisonettes, and extensions in Washington, especially in older properties set within urban areas where space is limited. Although called 'flat roofs', they are slightly angled to allow water to drain away.
Flat roofs were not commonly in use before the Second World War, after which a mass house-building programme was undertaken during the baby boom years. Flat roofs used fewer materials than pitched roofs and were relatively easy to install, making the process much quicker and cheaper. They are also easier to maintain and are generally more energy-efficient than pitched roofs as they help to keep a stable temperature.
However, the materials used for many of these older flat roofs have degraded over the years. Some of the properties erected in the last six or seven decades are still in use today, and many are in a bad state of repair and need replacing.
In recent years, modern flat roofing systems have become popular again, especially on commercial buildings, partly because they look amazing, but also because of their energy efficiency as well as allowing the option of a green roof, or the easy installation of solar panels.
There are several options when it comes to flat roof coverings and the different materials and installation methods used:
Traditionally the most widely used flat roofing material, felt roofs are still popular today because they are a quick, cost-effective option. There are two basic methods of installing a felt roof. The first is called torch-down or torch-on roofing as two or three layers of modified bitumen felt are melt-welded onto the roof surface and to each other using a heavy-duty blowtorch. The other method is known as pour and roll, where rolls of felt are applied to a pool of hot bitumen or asphalt.
The modified bitumen forms a watertight seal that protects the roof, and any joins must be overlapped to prevent leaks. The torch-on method has mostly replaced pour and roll these days, although you may still find a few roofers using this.
Older roofing felt tends to degrade fairly quickly, but modern bitumen felt has been greatly improved and will last for in excess of 30 years. Installation is a hazardous job because of the fire risk involved, so it is always best to leave this to the professionals.
Bitumen flat roofing systems are often called 'built up' roofs as they consist of many layers, including the insulation boards, multiple layers of tar/asphalt and roofing felt, with a top layer of gravel.
Checkaroof will assist you in finding a qualified and competent roofer to ensure that the work is completed to the highest standard.
A popular choice these days, EPDM roofing is a great choice as it can be cut to size immediately before being installed and it is easier to install than some other materials. EPDM rubber is extremely durable and waterproof, and the EPDM membrane can be lifted and reused in many cases. It is also resistant to UV rays from the sun and has a potential lifespan of around 50 years. This roofing material is excellent for big or small roof areas, doesn't require a heat source (such as a blowtorch) for installation, and has no joins, so is unlikely to leak. It is also perfect for complex roof shapes, parapet walls, and gutter linings.
GRP roof stands for glass-reinforced polyester, which is plastic strengthened by the addition of fine glass fibres (fibreglass roofing). The process begins with a coating of catalysed resin being spread over the roof decking. Fibreglass matting is laid over this for reinforcement, and another layer of resin is applied. When this is fully cured, a final layer of fire-retardant resin is applied to make it fully waterproof and provide a good finish. This single-ply method of roof construction is suitable for roof terraces or areas with foot traffic. All flat roofs must be strong enough to take the weight of someone walking on them, but constant foot traffic can damage certain materials more easily.
Green roofs have become enormously popular in the last two decades, especially in urban settings, for many reasons:
These are a few of the many benefits of a green roof, but it is essential that installation is performed by a qualified professional. In fact, whatever your roofing project, you need to be confident that it will be installed correctly using good-quality materials. Checkaroof will find a trusted, local fitter who is qualified and equipped for the task.
There are several other flat roof terms that you might come across that might be unfamiliar:
The benefits of green roofs are clear, but what about the other flat roofing materials?
EPDM rubber roofing has the advantage of being environmentally friendly, as it is made from recycled materials and can be reused or recycled. An EPDM membrane is cost-effective and is resistant to algae and moss, meaning that it requires less maintenance. Finally, an EPDM rubber roof has a lifespan of between 30 and 50 years!
Bitumen flat roof felt may seem old fashioned, but improvements in methods and materials still make it an attractive option, at least financially, and this is probably its main benefit. Although it's probably the most cost-effective but doesn't always provide the modern, elegant finish that some of the other methods do.
The benefit of liquid systems, such as GRP fibreglass, is that they are lightweight, fire-resistant, waterproof, and essentially maintenance-free. They are also extremely durable, long-lastin, and don't need much maintenance at all. GRP fibreglass is also suitable for period homes, including listed buildings, providing an excellent alternative to old felt or resin roofs. Most local authorities have no problem with GRP fibreglass being used on period properties and will approve planning permission in 8/10 cases. In addition to all this, it is environmentally friendly!
In general, based on price per square metre, flat roofs are cheaper to install than pitched roofs, which definitely counts as a benefit. This makes sense because far fewer materials are needed, although you need to take into account any alterations, repairs, or remedial work. Labour costs will be lower because the contractors won't have to spend as much time working on your roof.
Finally, flat roofs don't generally require planning permission, but it is always wise to check, especially if you're situated on an area of designated land or you live in a listed building. Designated land means places such as national parks, conservation areas, or world heritage sites.
Whichever roofing system you choose, Checkaroof believes that it should always be of excellent quality, whatever the local environment.
There are several potential areas where flat roofs can fail, and these need to be taken into consideration before any roof construction, replacement, or repair takes place.
All roofs, whether pitched or flat should be checked periodically for any damage. Ideally, you should have your roof checked twice annually, immediately before winter and soon after, as this is the season that generally causes the most problems. It's true to say that the vast majority of homeowners don't look at their roofs, let alone have them inspected unless a problem becomes apparent. However, it's always good practice to get it checked fairly regularly as this could save you a great deal of money in the long term.
Some people are put off having their roofs inspected because they are concerned about being overcharged by unscrupulous contractors. You need to know that you are being given the best advice and a reasonable quote. And finding a reputable contractor can be a chore.
Checkaroof takes the hard work out of this task by finding the very best contractors for your roofing project.
This depends on your location, local planning laws, the type of building, and the intended use of the flat roof. A Checkaroof approved roofing specialist will help you determine the best flat roof system for your property.
Even though the UK is a fairly small island, weather patterns can be extremely varied from one end to the other. The northern end of the UK generally has more rainfall, snow, and much lower temperatures. The southern half tends to have heavier bursts of rain, which can be destructive, though it is usually a few degrees warmer. This needs to be taken into consideration when choosing flat roof systems as some will cope with particular conditions better than others.
For example, cold roofs are not recommended for use in Scotland as they are prone to condensation, which can cause materials to decay and warp.
When it comes to the best overall roofing systems, it's hard to beat EPDM roofing due to its ease of installation. EPDM roofing has many benefits other than this. For example, it can be cut to size on-site and can be reused.
Bitumen flat roof felt still has its place, but other materials can often provide a more pleasing finish.
GRP fibreglass is excellent for rooftop gardens and terraces as it can take the weight of pots, tables, chairs, etc.
A Checkaroof approved expert will help you to choose the best option for your roofing project.
Whether you need a new roof or think that your existing roof is in need of repair, you need a professional roofer who you can trust.
Making repairs to an existing roof is obviously a more attractive proposition, as it keeps the cost down. However, sometimes a new roof is the most practical solution, especially in cases where the internal roof structure has been compromised.
Even though flat roofs are considered by some people to belong in the past, they offer an attractive alternative to pitched roofs, particularly on contemporary buildings. In urban areas, they are often the only viable option. Planning laws sometimes stipulate that roofs can't be over a certain height, or there may be other restrictions imposed locally. It is absolutely essential that you are given the correct advice and guidance, and that flat roof construction is undertaken by qualified professionals using good quality roof coverings.
The first step is to have your roof inspected properly to ascertain the extent of any problems. This will allow the roofer to suggest a realistic and cost effective solution.
Checkaroof only recommends people that can be trusted to deliver this, giving you the peace of mind that you deserve.