Flat Roof Materials (UK), Which Are The Best Systems & Coverings?


There are many flat roof materials to choose from and the options continue to increase. Some materials are suitable for new build projects while others are best for refurbishing.

New roofing systems are appearing on a regular basis to meet the demands of clients. More are now looking to materials that are friendly to the environment and energy efficient. Some look for systems that are cost effective, others for longevity.

Flat Roof Materials

Best Flat Roof Coverings & Materials

Flat roofs are one of the many common roof types which are growing in popularity across the UK. Below are some of the top flat roof materials in use currently. We will also add the advantages and disadvantages of each roofing system. We will also talk about lifespan and pricing to help you make your choice.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

EPDM is currently one of the leading roofing systems for flat roof surfaces. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) is also the most friendly to the environment. This roof surface comes from recycled rubber which makes it quite unique.

EPDM Flat Roof

EPDM is more like a covering because you can install this system in one sheet. This prevents the need to cover and waterproof the roof seams. One of the biggest advantages is the lifespan of up to 50 years. Repairs are easy to resolve in comparison to other types of roof materials.

Another great benefit is EPDM contracts and expands in extreme weather conditions. This material has a high resistance to UV light and easily repels any moisture.

The only real disadvantage of EPDM is that it’s installation requires dry conditions. There is also a chance of leaks if the installation is not perfect.

Liquid Flat Roofing Materials

Liquid flat roofing is a method which is quickly growing in popularity. There are more manufacturers such as Langley waterproofing that offer liquid systems. This type of system usually last for at least 25 years. The installation involves applying a liquid coating direct to the roof deck.

A liquid waterproofing system is both durable and long lasting. It’ s not as cheap as some systems but can take less time to install. Liquid roof systems tend to provide either a single or double layer protection for your roof. An interesting benefit of a liquid roof system is it allows moisture to escape from inside. A good installation will still prevent moisture from outside coming inside.

One of the biggest advantages of a liquid system is it’s 100% cold apply. This means there is no need for torches or other hot-works for installation.

One of the disadvantage is the aesthetic look after installation. There are other options that are easier on the eye but this would seem like a minor drawback.

Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP)

GRP Fibreglass is another option worth considering for your flat roof. Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) has a lifespan of 20 – 30 years. This system is a mix of polyester resin and small strands of glass fibres.

GRP Fibreglass can be quite pricey to install but is easy to make repairs. There are usually either one of two layers that leave a strong aesthetic finish. This is one of the better systems to withstand moisture and wet conditions. GRP Fibreglass is lightweight and very durable.

Some of the disadvantages include the noise made by outside weather conditions. Fibreglass is also not as ideal for larger roofs and is usually for smaller projects. For the installation to be perfect, warm or mild outdoor conditions are better.

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    Felt Flat Roofing Materials

    Felt as a flat roofing material is one of the oldest and still one of the cheapest options. It’s common to find felt on all types of roofs including garden sheds and other outdoor roof surfaces.

    Felt usually contains up to three layers on flat roofs which you apply with a torch. This material is better for smaller roof surfaces as a rule of thumb. One of the great benefits is this material is quite simple to repair. Felt roofs also have a decent lifespan of up to 30 years. The price of felt is usually far less than other materials such a rubber roofing and fibre glass.

    Built Up Roofing (BUR) Flat Roofing

    Built up roofing is another material that has been around for a long time. In this case, well over 100 years. Many refer to this material as “tar and gravel” roofs. The installation requires several layers of materials to form a watertight membrane.

    Built up roofing can put people off for a variety of reasons. It takes along time to install this system which can be very smelly and messy. It often requires the occupier of a home to leave during the installation.

    Another disadvantage of this system is the expense which makes it one of the pricier options. Due to the heavy layers, it could also mean strengthening the structure to support your roof.