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Making Flat Roofs Last: Which Material is Best?

When looking to have a flat roof constructed, it can be overwhelming and incredibly difficult to know which type of material is best to ensure a strong and sturdy flat roof that will last for years to come. Here are a few materials that can be used to build a flat roof, along with their pros and cons to help you make the right decision.


Felt Roofing

Felt roofing has often been associated with rotting and subsequent cracking, which can allow leaks to occur. However, with advancements in the roofing industry, the old felt material has been replaced by APP and SBS bitumen technologies, ensuring durability and prolonging the life of your felt roof.


  • It’s cheap – you need not spend excessive amount of money on a good quality roof
  • Easily repairable – it’s easy to repair felt roofing in isolated spots without damaging the aesthetics of the entire roof
  • Aesthetically pleasing – the mineral finish can make for a pleasant viewing experience


  • Susceptible to damage – a felt roof should be kept clear from heavy debris such as wet leaves. Refrain from propping up ladders on, or against it, and cut down any tree branches that encroach on the roof space
  • You’ll need to call a professional – felt roofing isn’t easy to install, therefore, it’s important that you call a highly qualified, fully accredited expert to do it for you


Built Up Roofing (BUR)

This is one of the oldest and most common roofing materials. Tar and gravel is applied when molten, in order to create several layers that will form a watertight seal to prevent the roof from leaking.


  • Environmentally friendly – this material is ideal for those looking to make a conscious effort to be kinder to the environment
  • Relatively low maintenance – this will save you money in the long run
  • Incredibly waterproof – this will help to minimise the risk of leaks, rotting and cracking
  • Excellent UV protection – this can help prolong the life of your roof, protecting it from hot temperatures on a summer’s day
  • It’s fire-resistant – from a safety perspective, this is a huge advantage for BUR


  • Installation can be slow – it’s a time consuming, meticulous process which will take time, especially if you’re wanting a good quality, durable roof
  • It can be costly – because of its time consuming installation and durable materials, BUR can be expensive to construct
  • Susceptible to wind damage – although the wind would have to be blowing at a considerable rate, it may cause slight wear on corners and edges
  • Lifespan depends on the type of BUR – British Standard will most likely last for a minimum of 10 years, whereas Polymer Modified asphalt could last for up to 60 years (depending on lifespan, costs will vary)


EPDM Flat Roofs

EPDM is a common type of rubber roofing. It’s ideal for low sloping roofs and can be installed as a whole sheet, allowing the entirety of the roof to be covered, mitigating concerns for waterproofing any seams.


  • Easy installation – this can also mean that your roofing will be installed quicker and with no fuss
  • Environmentally friendly – consisting of recycled rubber materials, it takes a small amount of energy to manufacture
  • Excellent insulation capabilities – the heat can be maintained over the colder seasons, although the heat can also be kept out during the summer months
  • Considerable lifespan – the typical EPDM roof can last between 30 and 50 years


  • Not necessarily easy on the eye – although this isn’t a major factor for a lot of people, it can be an issue if the material covers a large area. This can be rectified by choosing a different colour, however, it could boost the cost by up to 30%
  • It’s susceptible to puncturing – although this is easily rectifiable, it’s something you’ll want to steer clear of. Keep it free from debris and refrain from propping up ladders on or against it. Ensure any nearby tree branches are cut back also


Here at B&S Roofing, we take pride in providing our customers with first-class, quality services and to a consistently exceptional standard. We’re highly accredited, fully qualified and greatly experienced, giving you peace of mind. We offer a range of roofing services, including roof replacements and repairs, as well as fitting supplying and fitting Velux windows, all carried out by our knowledgeable, skilled team of experts. To find out more, get in touch with us today – we’re always here to help.