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Kalamazoo Roofing: Article About Flat Roof Options

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A flat roof is one that has a slope of nearly zero. Although flat roofs are more commonly found on commercial or industrial buildings, some homes have flat roofs as well. While it's recommended that property owners hire Kalamazoo roofing professionals for all of their roofing needs, it's helpful if they know about the material options that are available first.

One of the most common options is the built-up roof, mainly because it's inexpensive but still aesthetically pleasing and attractive. Some BUR systems have several layers of fiberglass, and others have layers that combine felt and bituminous resins such as asphalt or tar. The layers are what make this option a durable insulator. However, it's not environmentally friendly because it produces toxic fumes. Additionally, when an existing roof is being covered with a BUR system, it may need extra joists for reinforcement.

Modified bitumen is a single-ply roofing option made with a combination of asphalt, rubber modifiers and solvents. Fiberglass or polyester could be added to strengthen the material. Some modified bitumen roofs require a hot torch for installation, while others come in peel-and-stick rolls.

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It's a more environmentally friendly option that reflects sunlight to reduce energy consumption and costs, and it has great waterproofing and weather-resistant characteristics. However, it doesn't stand up well to foot traffic.

Another durable and reflective roofing system is polyvinyl chloride, which is otherwise known as PVC. This single-ply option is very popular for flat roofs because it's simple to install and resists water pooling. When used as thermoplastic roofing, PVC contains additional plasticizers and stabilizers that help it remain flexible over time. The seams are sealed with hot air so that the membrane is airtight as well as watertight. Tax credits are also available because the Consumer Energy Center considers it a cool roofing option. The main downside is its higher cost compared to other flat roofing options.

Ethylene propylene diene monomer, which is shortened to EPDM, is another durable single-ply option. It's similar to PVC in that it's a type of thermoset membrane, but it's made with rubber derived from natural gas and oil rather than plastic. EPDM systems usually come in rolls that provide a smooth finish that can be in any color. The white is a cool option that reflects sunlight to reduce heat absorption and lower energy costs. Additionally, this type of roof is lightweight and easy to install. However, EPDM systems require more maintenance than other roof types, and it's more expensive than PVC.

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