Flat roofing, what material is best? Rubber, fibreglass or traditional felt?

As I am sure you have heard by now there are new methods around for flat roofing. Fibreglass and rubber flat roof coverings have become popular with many company’s offering up to 50 year guarantee on rubber and up to 30 years on fibreglass.

So what are the pros and cons for each of these options?

Which one will provide a long lasting flat roof covering that will protect your home for years to come?

Which is cost effective?

We hope to answer these questions below:

Rubber flat roofing

Rubber roofing is the latest craze in flat roofing with its makers and installers claiming its the permanent solution to flat roofing problems!!

This option does have some noticeable benefits both to the customer and the installer.

It can be installed using a glue which means there is no need to use a gas torch so there is not a risk of a fire.

There are no joints in the rubber material used, so its installed as one sheet which basically means there’s less chance of the roof leaking.

But there are also a few drawbacks to the rubber flat roofing.
The material used is very thin in some cases being only 1.1 mm thick. Why is that a problem you may ask?

Well for one thing it is well documented that birds can peck through rubber membranes. A quick search online will throw up a number of cases.

The question is, who is then responsible for repair or replacement? Does the company that installed it have the responsibility or perhaps the manufacturer?

My guess is that the homeowner is the one left with the cost and the headache of replacing their flat roof yet again.

The second flaw in my opinion is the price ?

The trims for the edges and the rubber material in general is expensive costing in general about 25% more than a traditional flat roof to install.

Fibreglass flat roofing:

Fibreglass again can be installed quickly and without the need for a gas roofing torch,meaning saving in insurance costs for the installer and cutting down on the time the roof is left exposed to the elements.

However there are some drawbacks? In the past I have been called out to repair cracked fibreglass flat roofs that have cracked due to the fact there very rigid and don’t like being exposed to sunlight.

Traditional felt roofing:

Felt flat roofs do not have a good name really. Many people consider them to be a liability and will do their best to avoid having one.

And to a point I agree. In the past felt roofs have been prone to leaks due

to being badly manufactured and badly installed. If you go back 20 or 30 years they were not up to much at all.

But now days I’m pleased to say they are hard wearing flexible and generally as tough as old boots .

Modern felts are able to withstand all that our climate can throw at them and more, and with multi layered systems your flat roof can be up to 4 layers deep and about 12mm thick.
Which I’m sure you would agree should see off even the most persistent bird.

And remember I’ve seen felt roofs that are 20 years old and still in good condition protecting properties as they were intended to do.

How many rubber or fibreglass roofs have you seen that are 20 years old and still going strong?
Not many I’m guessing? Because I haven’t come across many.

And when you consider that a good quality flat roofing felt can be bought at a very reasonable cost i,t makes good sense to stick with tried and tested felt flat roofing.

In conclusion I’d say that there are many options for replacing your flat roof, but having spoken to installers and suppliers and asking them which option they would put on there own home, I like them would go with felt every time because I know a well installed felt roof will last 30 years if not longer.

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