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Home Home Improvement Top Pros & Cons of Flat Roofing Systems

Top Pros & Cons of Flat Roofing Systems

Did you know that flat roofing is not flat in literal terms? It features a relatively low slope –between ½ inch and ¼ inch per foot such that it is capable of draining water. However, the presence of a lower slope makes way for holding water and snow relatively longer in comparison to the roof that is steeply pitched. Therefore, most of the flat roofing systems require different materials for remaining watertight.

Typically, there are three core types of flat roofing systems. These are:

  • Single-ply or membrane
  • BUR or Built-Up roofing
  • MBR or Modified Bitumen

Membrane or Single-ply Flat Roofing

There are different types of membrane or single-ply roofing materials. However, the most common type of material that is utilized for residential flat roofing tends to be EPDM or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It is a synthetic material of rubber sheet having water retention properties.


  • Flat roof repair Ottawa is relatively simpler and inexpensive
  • The home deck does not require reinforcement as EPDM roofing tends to be lightweight
  • Leaks are not quite common


  • Installation is difficult.

BUR or Built-up Roofing

BUR serves to be one of the most common types of flat roofs out there. The BUR features several layers –a top layer featuring gravel, several intermediate layers of asphalt or tar with roofing felt, and the bottom layer of insulation boards. As a result, you get a tough, thick, and seamless roof that remains resistant to damage significantly.

While the concept of BUR roofing is utilized in commercial applications, it is not commonly used for residential buildings. This is because of the overall thickness or weight.


  • Delivers excellent protection against UV rays, sunlight, water, and harsh weather conditions
  • It is low maintenance and inexpensive
  • It is simpler to remove layers while resurfacing or repairing the roof
  • The gravel present in this type of roofing makes it highly resistant to standard foot traffic


  • The installation process is slow & labor-intensive
  • The overall roofing assembly tends to be heavy
  • Not highly flexible during cold temperatures

MBR or Modified Bitumen Roofing

The given type of flat roofing Ottawa system was developed during the 1960s. It was launched with the intent of serving as the lightweight alternative to Bitumen Roofing. At the same time, the given roofing system is also known to feature reduced smell, mess, and heat that are commonly associated with the installation of BUR. Moreover, MBR serves to be a highly flexible and asphalt-based material featuring the mineral top coating –quite similar to conventional asphalt shingles. The MBR is available in the form of rolled sheets that are 3 feet in the overall width and might reach up to 36 feet in the overall length. The sheets get rolled onto the top of the roof with the help of some base sheet membrane.


  • Consistent installation due to the utilization of factory-based mineral surfacing
  • MBR turns out to be simpler to install in comparison to BUR. This helps in saving the overall labor as well as installation flaws.
  • Delivering improved flexibility and elasticity at lower temperatures in comparison to BUR
  • BUR tends to be durable and low maintenance
  • Most of the BUR materials can be recycled
  • Providing improved durability than BUR


  • Some installation processes would require specialized skills as well as safety considerations

Final Words

Now that you have all the information about the flat roofing system, you can consider a professional contractor.


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