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How to Pick a Flat Roof Membrane for Your Home

Dec 18

 

If you’re in the market for roofing material, there are several different options to choose from, including asphalt shingles, synthetic slate tiles, metal roofing, and flat roof membranes. While these options all look great on paper, you should carefully consider which one will work best for your home’s needs before making a final decision. This article will cover what flat roof membranes are, how they work, and how to select the right one for your home.

Types of Flat Roof Membranes

There are many different flat roof membranes on the market, but not all of them are created equal. Here are five types of flat roof membranes and their pros and cons. 

EPDM Rubber 

The best feature of this type of membrane is that it is highly resistant to punctures and tears. It also has a long lifespan and excellent resistance to weathering. On the downside, it is susceptible to tearing in colder climates because its rubber material becomes brittle when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

PVC Rubber 

A cheaper option than EPDM rubber, this type of membrane has similar qualities with some notable exceptions. Unlike EPDM rubber, PVC can withstand very cold temperatures making it more versatile for areas where freezing is an issue. However, this membrane does have disadvantages like less wind and snow load capacity. 

TPO

Similar to PVC rubber but made from thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), this type of product is non-toxic and UV-resistant which means you don't need to paint or cover up your roof once the installation is done by a roofing company. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't hold up as well against punctures or tears as other types of membranes do. 

Hot Tar

Though these are one of the least expensive options available, they have limited advantages such as being lightweight and easy to install by San Antonio roofers. You'll need frequent re-coating though so keep that in mind if you're considering this option. One major disadvantage is that hot tar roofs cannot be repaired and offer no insulation properties whatsoever. 

Epoxy Coated Steel Sheet Metal

These kinds of roofs are among the most durable, especially if you live in an area with heavy winds or hail storms. They come at a higher price point than other types of membranes but they last considerably longer too. 

How To Choose A Flat Roof Membrane

There are many different types of roof membranes, so it can be hard to know which one is right for you. The best way to find out is by looking at the features and benefits of each type, then comparing them against your needs. Here's some information on some popular options 

Shingles

These have traditionally been used for flat roofs because they're inexpensive and easy to install. They're also durable and come in many colors, styles, shapes, and sizes. However, they are made from tar paper or asphalt that breaks down over time, which can leave gaps between shingles that allow water to leak through. They can also be noisy when walked on, don't offer much protection from wind damage, and are tough to repair once damaged. Asphalt shingles are classified as hazardous materials by the EPA, which means they will not decompose after disposal and could even pollute nearby soil or groundwater if not handled properly.

EPDM

Also known as rubber roofs, EPDM roofs are made from synthetic rubber, rather than tar paper or asphalt. They are more durable and flexible than shingles, less noisy when walked on, have higher wind resistance, and have better-insulating properties. They also offer better protection from leaks because they're more elastic and easy to repair if damaged. And unlike traditional shingles, they're nontoxic (which means there's no risk of exposure to harmful chemicals) and won't release VOCs into the air. They do cost more than traditional shingle roofs though, so if you want an affordable option this may not be for you. If you have animals like dogs or cats, EPDM roofs are also nonporous, which means droppings won't build up like they would with asphalt shingles.

Metal

Metal roofs are lightweight and require little maintenance. They're designed to last longer than other membrane types and come with warranties that range anywhere from 10-50 years depending on what company makes them. Metal is resistant to fire and storms and offers excellent protection against leaks. It's also waterproof and doesn't need extra coatings to withstand inclement weather. You'll pay a lot upfront but it should save you money in the long run because metal lasts twice as long as asphalt or wood. It comes in two varieties: galvanized steel or aluminum alloy (copper). Galvanized steel is cheaper but less attractive; aluminum alloy is more expensive but looks better on homes. Aluminum roofs tend to be shinier and more reflective than steel ones, while steel can rust if not coated.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners because they're very good at keeping buildings warm during cold winter months. Wood has natural insulation qualities that keep moisture away from the building envelope, so it holds heat in without adding any energy costs to keep things warm inside. Plus, wood shingles are environmentally friendly because they're 100% recyclable and renewable. They're also quieter than most other roofing options, plus the material is rot-resistant and naturally anti-bacterial. On the downside, you'll have to replace these every 25 to 30 years because they wear out more quickly than other types of roofs. They're also heavier than other types of roofs, which means they can make your home more susceptible to wind-related damage. They're also the hardest to install and typically take a roofing contractor near Cibolo three to four times as long as other roofing materials.