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Green Flat Roofing

In the push for green construction, your roofing contractor may revert to an old standby--the flat roof. Once a staple in the Middle East and the American Southwest, the flat roof style is making a comeback because of its inherent simplicity and green properties. Now, warehouses, office and commercial buildings, and many residential structures are being built with flat roofs.

Roof Styles 411: The Flat Roof

Flat roofs have long represented the core of the architectural canon in historic modern-style buildings and boast a rich tradition in American architecture as a whole. Flat roof styles mimic the expansive horizontal lines of the natural landscape. Some new flat roofs carry warranties of up to 20 years--similar to sloped roofs. Flat roofs are not truly flat, but rather built on a slight incline--at least 1/8 inch per foot. Some examples of flat roofing materials include:


  • Synthetic Rubber membranes including chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE)
  • Thermoplastic membranes including copolymer alloy (CPA), chlorinated polyethlene (CPE), polyisobutylene (PIB), and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO)
  •  Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) membranes

Each material has pros and cons that you may want to research before making a decision about which flat roof system is the best for your roofing project. EPDM, for example, does not pollute runoff water from the roof and some materials resist ultraviolet (UV) degradation better than others.

In the green construction niche, replacing a roof with a flat roof improves a home's energy efficiency in several key aspects. For example, Team Boston Solar routinely uses flat roofs as mounts for solar panel roofing that homeowners can use to sell power back to the grid. Alternatively, some flat roofs transform into grow layers for natural food products.

Replacing a Roof with a Flat Roof

Roofing costs for the flat roof style vary widely with respect to materials used, roof size, and geographic locale. That said, residential flat roofs are commonly priced at $675 per square for a simple roof without existing roof removal. This price includes roof membrane, foam insulation, perimeter pressure-treated wood nailer, and half-roll membrane for wind-uplift prevention.

For the best results, a flat roof should be installed by a professional roofing contractor who specializes in and is trained in flat roof installation.

Find Local Flat Roofing Contractors

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Flat Roof Cost

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Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in North America mainly because they are economical and versatile, work well on steep-sloped roofs, are sunlight and weather resistant, require little-to-no maintenance and are reasonably priced. In addition, asphalt shingles are also easy to cut, fasten, and fit, as well as being compatible with many different kinds of flashing and edging products.

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