Flat Roof Systems Found on Buildings
Low-slope (flat roof systems) are most commonly used for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.
Roofing 101: It’s easy to spot the difference between a flat roof (low-slope) and a steep-slope roof. The vast majority of residential homes have steep-slope roof systems. Steep-slope is most likely the type of roof that is on your home. Being in the roofing profession, I constantly notice the different roofing systems on structures, which most people don’t pay much attention to. A flat roofing system is actually a roof with a very small slope. Basically the roof is flat enough where it can be walked upon with ease. Try walking up a steep-slope roof and you could easily lose your balance.
- Flat roof systems: roofing systems that generally include weather-proof membrane types of roofing systems installed on slopes at or less than 3:12.
- Steep-slope roofing systems: roofing systems that generally includes water sheding type of roof coverings installed on slopes greater than 3:12.
So the difference between the two is black and white, and can easily be identified. Now that we have that covered, let’s discuss the different types of flat systems.
TPO, EPDM, PVC, SPF, Built up roofs (BUR), Modified Bitumen, Metal
My Flat Roof System is White, what Kind of Roof would that be?
This would narrow your search down, but still doesn’t give a clear indication of what type of roof it is. It is likely a TPO or PVC roof system. Both of these membranes are either white or light in color. EPDM has recently become available in white, but is not as common as the other white single-ply membranes.
Also does the roof have a coating? If so the roof could be anything from metal to SPF, it all depends. As you can see there are many type of white colored flat roof system, which can make it more difficult to determine. The easiest thing to do as a property manager would be to contact a flat roofing professional to inspect your roof and answer any and all of your questions.
Are Flat Roofs Appropriate for Solar Installations?
Solar PV panels are appropriate for most low-slope systems and will have no adverse effects on a roof that is in good condition. An experienced roofing contractor will need to select, engineer and install the system. The exting roof and building structure should always be evaluated. And the additional weight of the solar system should be calculated.