5 Flat Rubber Roof Alternatives

A flat rubber roof isn't always the ideal, nor the only option for a flat roof. Alternatives exist for situations where another type of flat roof would be the better choice that is often just as environmentally friendly or even cheaper. Here are 5 other types of flat roofs.

Tar and Gravel

This type is also referred to as Built-Up-Roofing or BUR. The concept to this type of flat roof is alternating layers of tar and waterproof materials that are ballasted (stabilized) with stone. The main concern with these types of roofs is the materials that are used to make the waterproof membrane. Stay away from types that are used with tar paper, like in the olden days, and go for more advanced and modern materials like fiberglass.

Asphalt Sheets

This type of roofing material has been used since the 1890s. It is installed with a layer of asphalt, made from fiberglass felts or organic material that covers a roof and held in place with asphalt cement and nails. A granular mineral surface typically covers the asphalt sheet.  The life is about 10 years and repairs are generally easy.

Foam Roofs

Foam roofs are installed by first mixing the components of the foam that comes in separate drums and are spread upon the rooftop with spray guns.  Each pass of the spray gun will apply a single layer of foam that is in between ½-inch to 1-inch in thickness. Several passes of the foam will be applied.

Contrary to popular belief, foam roofs are quite durable. The prejudice is typically due to the concept of foam.  The foam is just how the material of the roof is applied.  Once dried, it is a strong material. They also are environmentally friendly as they provide great insulation because of the inexistence of leaks.  Repairs are as easy as caulking a bathtub.

Sheet Metal Roofs

This type of roofing option is one of the strongest in regards to support. Metal roofing panels are normally fabricated from larger flat metal panels made with 26-gauge coated steel. They often weigh around one pound per square foot. The higher quality metal panels will have a finish to better protect it from exposure to the elements. Grooves will be free of corrosion or rust if the metal roof panels are welded together or cover the roof as one large metal sheet.

If they have the right equipment, metal roof installers will fabricate the panels at the site. This method isn’t ideal because the finish possibilities are limited, shorter warranties (less than one year), and quality of work totally depends on the person doing the fabricating and many will let lower quality pass to save money. Pre-fabricated panels will come from larger companies that stand behind the quality of their metal roof panels.

Roll-on Roofs

The material for this type of roof is made from the same material as shingles. It can be installed quickly by rolling the roof cover as you would a carpet. As it’s rolled along, it is nailed in place along the edges. Its life is usually between 6 to 11 years, give or take. This type of roofing is ideal for sheds and barns.