The Best Flat Roofing Materials for Residential Buildings

Flat roofs are all the rage these days, and it isn’t hard to see why. Not only does this modern architectural style allow for greater energy efficiency, more natural light, and more living space, it also makes roof maintenance cheaper and easier. 

But what kind of roofing material provides the best protection? Flat roofs can incorporate a wide range of materials, which means that when the warranty expires or the membrane starts to show signs of age, homeowners have an opportunity to upgrade or switch. 

If you want to explore a different style of flat roof, you should get in touch with flat roof repair experts to discuss the best solution for your home before making any decisions. But to help you stay informed about your options, here are four of the most popular materials on the market.

1. Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen is one of the most common flat roofing systems, and also one of the cheapest. Modified bitumen relies on layering asphalt with reinforcing fabric to provide superior protection from the elements. This type of material is particularly common on older roofs.

2. PVC Membrane

Another popular material for flat roofing is polyvinyl chloride, a single-ply roofing material that comes in rolls that are applied to the roof and bonded to each other through heat welding. A durable option, PVC membrane provides particularly good protection against oils, fuels, acids, chemicals, and chemical fumes, making it a great choice for industrial as well as residential buildings. 


EPDM, or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, is a type of synthetic rubber that is increasingly being prized as a flat roofing material due to its longevity and toughness. Though EPDM membranes are quite thin, they offer durable and long-lasting protection — up to thirty years, in some cases. EPDM is also ideal for use in regions that suffer from extreme temperatures and thermal shocks. 

4. Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF)

One of the most exciting new flat roofing materials is SPF, an easy-to-install and versatile type of spray foam that coats the roof and provides advanced protection, as well as increased R-values. SPF is applied using a chemical spray gun, and then coated in an elastomeric coating for extra toughness. This type of roofing material can last between twenty and thirty years, depending on environmental conditions and upkeep. 

When experts compare flat vs pitched roofs, they often note that the main differences are expense and maintenance. Typically, flat roofs are cheaper but require more regular maintenance, while pitched roofs last longer but cost more to install. 

The truth is that much of this depends on the materials being used. As we have seen, when using a premium material like EPDM or SPF, a flat roof can last just as long as an asphalt shingle roof — if not longer. If you need a new roof and want to know more about your installation options, be sure to get in touch with a local roofing company to find out which of these materials is right for you. 

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