Comprehensive Guide to Flat Roof Replacement

Flat roofs are a popular choice for several architectural styles, including adobe and modern design, in addition to outbuildings like garages and sheds. An important aspect of caring for your property is to replace your flat roof at the right time. You will also want to carefully select the material and installation styles to ensure a long roof lifespan.

At Roof Rescue, we can tell you everything you need to know about flat roof replacement in this comprehensive guide. 

Types of Flat Roof Materials

There are several ways to roof a flat-topped building using different roofing materials. Each material has unique qualities, so understanding their pros and cons can help you make the right choice for your property.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing, or BUR, creates a waterproof seal over your roof using a combination of gravel and tar spread over the top of the roof membrane. 

  • Easy to repair
  • Gravel and tar mixture
  • Lifespan: 15 to 30 years

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen or mod-bit roofs are a rolled membrane of asphalt mixed with fiberglass and polymerized rubber or plastic.

  • Easy to unroll and install
  • High tear resistance
  • Poor heat resistance
  • Lifespan: 15 – 25 years

EPDM Rubber

EDPM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer.

  • Black or White rolls
    • White higher priced, superior heat reflection
  • Highly durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Adhered, fastened, or ballasted
  • Lifespan: 40-50 years

TPO Roofing

TPO stands for Thermoplastic polyolefin. These roofs are a single-ply roofing membrane that offers inherent UV reflection. Its light color and UV resistance make it ideal for hot climates

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Heat resistant
  • UV resistant
  • Well-insulated
  • Fire resistant
  • Lifespan: 15 to 30 years

PVC Roofing

PVC is a highly durable plastic material made of polyvinyl chloride made of two layers of vinyl bonded to a polyester reinforcement layer.

  • UV and heat resistance
  • Chemical and fire resistance
  • Lifespan: 20 to 30 years

Signs You Need a Flat Roof Replacement

Certain signs relating to your roof’s appearance or performance can tell you when your next flat roof replacement becomes necessary. At Roof Rescue, we often come to the rescue after a roof has started showing serious signs of wear.

Here’s how you will know when to take action:

  • Leaks and Water Damage
    • Water spots on the walls and ceiling
    • Growing water spots
    • Discoloration
    • Intense musty smell
  • Visible Wear and Tear
    • Pooling water: The membrane and drainage systems are no longer working
    • Cracks: The sealant layer has broken
    • Blistering: Your roof has reached it’s lifespan and is taking bad heat damage
    • Loose Material: Heavy winds have pulled sections of your roof membrane free.
  • Rising Energy Bills
  • Age of the Roof

The Flat Roof Replacement Process

The replacement of a flat roof involves a predictable process no matter the roofing material being removed or installed. If a flat roof replacement is in your future, we can help you understand what to expect by providing a step-by-step guide through the process you will see your roofers performing.

Inspection and Assessment

Every roofing service, from maintenance to replacement, begins with a roof inspection.

Removing the Old Roof

Roofing professionals will then remove the old roof. The insulation and membrane beneath the top layer will also likely be removed in preparation of new insulation with modern materials and a fresh lifespan.

Repairing the Deck

A roof deck is typically made of plywood boards laid in a floor-like structure. Deck boards can be repaired or replaced with new boards before the new roof material is installed.

Installing New Roofing Material

Once the roof deck is ready, it’s time to install the new roofing material. This typically involves two or three layers.

  • Laying the insulation
  • A waterproof membrane (in some roofs)
  • Roofing material
  • Finishing touches

Final Inspection

When the work is done, a final inspection will be performed. This last roof inspection ensures that there are no flaws in the installation and the roof is ready to provide reliable performance for the next few decades.

While the roof inspection occurs, the rest of the team will be cleaning up the site to avoid leaving escaped roofing debris and leave a clean work area.

Maintenance Tips

  • Have your roof inspected once a year to catch problems early
  • Clean your flat roof occasionally to avoid buildup or growth
  • Watch for signs of trouble like pooling water or leaks
  • Take good care of your gutters and drainage system
  • Schedule a new roof replacement when the lifespan end is approaching.

Costs of Flat Roof Replacement

A flat roof replacement can cost between $3,000 and $20,000. The total cost will be determined by your roof’s size, chosen roof material, labor, and any added expenses. 

Factors Affecting Cost

  • Size of Your Roof – the total square feet of roof to remove and reinstall
  • Roofing Material Choices – The cost of insulation and roofing material to cover the size of your roof based on the cost of the material.
  • Labor Rates – The average roofing labor rates in your region – and with each contractor.
  • Additional Expenses
    • Flashing replacement
    • Deck board replacement
    • Roof features
    • Potential complications

Budgeting Tips

  • Choose lower-cost roofing materials suitable to your climate.
  • Ask your roofer for potential deals on materials. Sometimes, they have a partnership with the manufacturer.
  • Schedule your roof replacement outside the rush season when prices might be lower.
  • Compare quotes to avoid being overcharged by markups.

Financing Tips

  • Set aside 1% of the property’s value per year for eventual large repairs.
  • Take out a HELOC (home equity line of credit) loan for major home repairs like roof replacement.
  • Seek financing through your roofing contractor. Roofers are often prepared to help out with roof expenses.

Choosing a Flat Roof Replacement Contractor

The final question is how to choose the right flat roof replacement contractor for the job. Knowing how to research and select contractors can ensure that you receive quality materials, quality service, and reliable roofing results.

What To Look For

  • Licensed and insured – and ready to show you the documents
  • Excellent online reviews
  • Photo gallery of previous jobs
  • Friendly and responsive communications
  • Smooth initial inspection
  • Transparent and complete roofing quote
  • Helpful tips to guide your roofing decisions
  • Assistance in budgeting and saving money.

Questions To Ask

  • “Can I see your License and Insurance documents?”
  • “What are the best roofing materials for our local climate?”
  • “What is the current condition of my roof?”
  • “Are there any potential deals or discounts on flat roof materials this season?”
  • “What is your preferred channel for questions and communication?”
  • “Can I ask questions during the roof installation?”
  • “Who will be leading the team that roofs my home?”
  • “How long will the roof replacement take?”
  • “How can I save money on my roof without sacrificing quality or performance?”
  • “What financing options do you offer?”

Replace Your Flat Roof This Year with Roof Rescue

If your property has a flat roof in need of replacement, Roof Rescue is here to save the day. We offer friendly expert roofing services throughout Southeastern Idaho, Cache Valley, Utah & Western Wyoming. Whether you’ve seen signs of water damage or know your flat roof’s lifespan is spent, you can rely on our skilled teams to answer all your questions and provide a high-quality flat roof replacement to last your home for another 20-50 years.

We will gladly explain every step of the process before and during completion, from the first inspection to the last. Contact us today for flat roof maintenance services, flat roof replacement, and for answers to every roofing question you might have. We’ll be glad to hear from you.

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