Flat Roofing in Maryland
A Modern Flat Roof Installation Pays Homage to an Essence of Contemporary Elegance & Timelessness
A flat roof is the most cost-effective roof shape, requires less material, and is typically stronger than a pitched roof. Flat roofs can be utilized for a number of ancillary uses, even including such things as gardens, storage areas, and custom barbeques.
At Rooftop Designs, our self-adhering flat roofing construction systems meet Energy Star requirements for cool roofs. We use only the finest materials and the most experienced installation crews for any of our flat roof construction projects. This ensures that you will be thrilled with your new flat roofing system.
Flat roof architecture is very different from your traditional style roofs. Flat roofs are typically seen on commercial buildings, but that isn’t to say that flat roof houses aren’t also common.
The first thing to know is that the name “flat roofs” is sort of a misnomer, because flat roofs are not actually flat. If water fell on a completely flat roof, the water would pool and destroy the roof faster. So, flat roofs are actually designed on a very small incline so the water can slide down — generally ¼ inch per foot of roofing. That means every horizontal foot you travel on flat roofs, you go up by ¼ of an inch vertically.
Types of Flat Roofs
A flat roof is the most cost-effective roof shape, as it requires fewer roofing materials and is typically stronger than a pitched roof. There are many types of roofing materials available.
These are the three most common types of flat roofing materials:
Built-Up Roof (BUR)
BURs are built using a gravel mixture of several waterproof roofing materials,
alternated with hot tar and ballasted with a layer of smooth river stone.
This residential flat roof design continues to evolve — some using
modern and state-of-the-art materials, such as fiberglass membranes.
Pros: This is great for opening up window views and outdoor space overlooking the roof area. Plus, gravel is fire retardant and offers a more affordable flat roof replacement cost than other flat roof options.
Cons: This is one of the heavier flat roof options, and joists may have to be strengthened to accommodate the additional weight. There’s also a strong odor during installation, making it a little grimier. It may also be difficult to identify the source of leaks, as gravel can clog gutters.
Modified Bitumen Roof (MBR)
Similar to ice-and-water shield roofing, an MBR is a light-colored roof
rolled with single-ply, featuring a mineral-based surface. This flat roof
detail can be achieved by using a torch-down system that heats the adhesive
as it’s unrolled. If that’s not in your flat roof design plans,
a peel-and-stick system is a safer and easier option that can be installed
by homeowners themselves.
Pros: Homeowners have the ability to install peel-and-stick MBR materials. Mineral surfaces reflect heat, which saves on energy bills. Plus, the cost is toward the middle of average flat roof materials prices.
Cons: There are more scuff- and tear-resistant flat roof replacement options available. The torch-down system mentioned above is considered a fire hazard, making it unsafe for occupied buildings.
Rubber Membrane Roof (EPDM)
Short for ethylene propylene diene monomer, EPDM roofs are true rubber-membrane
flat roof options designed to avoid sun damage. This type of flat roof
construction can be glued, ballasted with stone, or mechanically anchored
Pros: Many EPDM installations are homeowner friendly, as material is light and scuff- and tear-resistant. Another perk is that it’s easy to patch if your roof leaks.
Cons: Costs are generally more than BUR or modified bitumen because of the black material that absorbs heat. Light-colored coatings are available; however, they add an additional 30% to the cost. Another con is that this type of roofing is vulnerable to punctures.
Flat Roof Replacement Cost: Calculating the Cost of Your Project
For flat roof options around 1,000 square feet, flat roof costs can be anywhere from $4,000 to $13,000, depending on a number of factors.
Here’s a breakdown of the average cost of some of the most popular types of roofing materials per square foot:
- Metal ($7 to $9)
- Rubber ($4 to $13)
- EPDM ($4 to $13)
- BUR ($4 to $10)
- Fiberglass ($4 to $6)
- Spray-Applied Coatings ($3 to $10)
- Modified Bitumen ($3 to $8)
Flat Roof Construction & Designing Costs
Contractors charge somewhere around $3 to $7 per square foot for labor on average. This price includes both removal and disposal of the old roofing. If there are additional roofing layers that need to be installed, there may be an additional cost of $1 to $2 more per square foot.
Want a customized quote for your flat roof? Contact us today for a free consultation!
Flat Roof Installation Cost: How Much is to Install a Flat Roof?
Replacing a flat roof design can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $13,000 for a flat roof that is 1,000 square feet. The total flat roof replacement cost typically depends on flat roof construction, selected roofing material, and whether the job requires work on any vents, drains, and underlayment. About $4 to $13 per square foot is generally the cost of roofing materials and labor. Other added costs include installation, which often requires removing a layer of old roofing, adding in disposal fees. Several hundred dollars are required for ventilation, and roof drains cost somewhere around $40 to $100 a piece. Plus, an extra underlayment could increase your total by up to $100 to $2,000.
Best Options for Flat Roof Replacement
Spray-applied coatings – Seal and protect your flat roof design from water damage with a spray-applied coating. It will cover the seams in EPDM roofs for added longevity. Application is tedious, but when sprayed correctly, it increases your flat roof’s life expectancy.
Modified bitumen – Rolled on using a blowtorch that secures the roofing material, modified bitumen is cost effective, energy efficient, and easy and quick to install. Installation can be dangerous, however, requiring one of our many trained and certified professional crews at Rooftop Designs.
Built-up roof – Made of tar and gravel, built-up flat roofs (BURs) are one of the most popular flat roof design plans because they’re an efficient insulator, durable with many layers, and generally aesthetically pleasing. Those layers make the roof very heavy, however. If you don’t already have a BUR, it’s important we discuss adding extra roof support due to the weight of this type of flat roofing. Homeowners are not recommended to be present during installation, as the process can be dangerous.
EPDM – Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is a type of synthetic rubber roofing made from a mixture of recycled materials that are durable, easy to install, and inexpensive. Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is another term for this type of roofing. Opt for spray-applied EPDM roofing to avoid the risk of seams pulling away from the roof during a seaming installation.
Metal – Metal roofing like aluminum is excellent if you’re looking for durability. It can also last up to 35 years because the metal reflects the heat from the sun, which also keeps energy costs low.
How to Know If You Need a Roof Replacement (Checklist)
Take a look inside and outside your home, and ask yourself:
- Do I have missing or broken shingles?
- Are my shingles blistering, curling, or buckling?
- Are any shingle edges curled or shingle tabs cupped?
- Is there cracked caulking or flash rust?
- Are there any bald spots from missing granules?
- Is there any dripping water, mildew, or water damage on the ceiling or walls?
- Do I have any bubbling paint?
- Are there any dark streaks from airborne algae?
- Do I see any masses of moss and lichen?
- Is my roof 20 years old or older?
- Are my neighbors replacing their roofs?
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do flat roofs last?
Flat roof options often last somewhere around 15 to 25 years. The time when you need a flat roof replacement comes down to proper maintenance and the materials you select for your flat roof design. Most come with a warranty — some lasting up to 20 years.
How often should a flat roof be replaced?
Flat roof options are generally expected to last roughly 10 to 25 years, depending on roof type, proper coating, and regular upkeep. Traditional flat roofs made from felt or asphalt give flat roofing a bad reputation because they typically have to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. That’s because they are prone to leaking and water pooling damage.
Can a flat roof be repaired?
Flat roofs are often made of rubber, asphalt, metal, or another synthetic material. In terms of how to repair a flat roof, you can use easy-to-apply adhesive patches if it’s made of rubber and synthetic membranes. For an asphalt roof, you can use caulk to repair it or bitumen to reseal it.
Are flat roofs covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, there are few carriers that offer home insurance on homes with completely flat roofing. If they do, they typically require that the flat roof is less than 10 years old, if it’s over a living area.
Does a new roof add value to a home?
Yes, a new roof will typically increase the value of a home by around $15,000 on average — that’s almost up to a 70% return on investment. Sometimes a new flat roof design can even make you a profit. Plus, appraisers require a roof replacement or flat roof repair be completed as a condition if a buyer is financing the purchase with an FHA or VA loan.
What is the best material to put on a flat roof?
Often considered the best flat roof material out there, ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) is made of a synthetic rubber compound. Rubber roofing, or EPDM, is both a versatile and effective option for a flat roof installation. This long-lasting flat roof material is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions.
Are rubber flat roofs any good?
One of the most highly requested flat roof replacement options is a rubber flat roofing. A rubber membrane roof, EPDM for example, uses the highest-quality materials and only requires an easy installation process. Add in the benefits of a durable and waterproof roof and worrying about serious damage will be a thing of the past.
What are the disadvantages of a flat roof?
Although there are tons of pros to installing a residential flat roof, there are of course some disadvantages too. Certain roofing materials can be unreliable in cold weather. There’s also a higher chance of early flat roof repair or replacement, as a majority of flat roof options use an inexpensive rolled roofing material that sometimes lasts only up to five years. The biggest disadvantage is lack of drainage, which means regular maintenance is required. Snow, water, debris, and dirt can clog up drains, so you want to clean them out as needed.
What are the advantages of a flat roof?
One of the most durable and affordable types of roofing available on the market, a residential flat roof offers many benefits for homeowners:
- Durability – Building a flat roof uses weather-proof products that can resist basic damage for up to 25 years or more. The composition of a flat roof design doesn’t require much upkeep, and the roofing materials are made to last a long time.
- Access and maintenance – Accessing a flat roof is easy, and typically only requires a ladder in a residential setting. Commercial buildings often have access to the roof within the building. Performing basic roof maintenance is easy, and the ability to get up there and check out other exterior issues is another benefit.
- Cost – The costs of flat roof replacement, installation, and future services are some of the most affordable in comparison to other roof types. Since maintenance is easy, costly flat roof repair should rarely be needed. Installation costs are also low because additional materials like shingles aren’t needed.
Are flat roofs more energy efficient?
One flat roof detail you can’t miss is that a low-sloped roof offers rigid insulation with no gaps, making it more energy efficient. Other roofing uses a cavity insulation system where loose insulation is pressed tightly between joists with blankets. At Rooftop Designs, our self-adhering flat roofing systems meet Energy Star requirements to maintain cool flat roofs. We use only the finest flat roofing materials and the most experienced installation crews to ensure you will be thrilled with your new flat roofing system.
Do flat roofs always leak?
The simple answer is no! If the roof is properly coated, it shouldn’t leak. Flat roofs are more prone to leaking, however, because they’re less able to shed and evaporate water. That’s because flat roofs don’t allow water to slide off as easily as a sloped roof. It’s worth noting that all roofs do feature some level of sloping to avoid sitting water.
Which is better? EPDM or TPO?
When looking at flat membrane roofing systems, EPDM and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) are the most common modern flat roof options we install and replace here at Rooftop Designs. Both flat membrane roofing systems provide durability at an affordable price point.
TPO is a single-membrane roofing system that’s easy and inexpensive
to install. TPO roofs don’t have big seams like EPDM roofs, making
them less susceptible to water leaks. Offering a reflective white color
designed to shield the rays of the sun, TPO roofing keeps your energy
costs low and buildings cool. TPO can be slightly more affordable than
EPDM, although they’re pretty comparable. The biggest drawback of
TPO flat roofs is that they become brittle with the ability to crack as
they age, limiting their lifespan.
EPDM is a rubber, single-ply roof membrane flat roof design that is rolled on via large sheets. It has a longer life expectancy than TPO roofing, which is great because, as mentioned, pricing is comparable. EPDM is more susceptible to leaks, however, because seams between rolls are a common area for moisture leakage. Plus, EPDM roofs are black and not very energy efficient, costing more in energy bills.
Should flat roofs have puddles?
It is common for water to pool after heavy rainfall; however, it shouldn’t last for longer than 48 hours. If it does, you may have a roofing problem you need to address immediately. Our team at Rooftop Designs is standing by ready to assist.
Contact us today for a customized quote or if you have any questions. Our certified professionals at Rooftop Designs are ready to assist!
Top 5 CertainTeed Dealers in the United States
Offering 50-Year Warranties on New Roofs
Backing Satisfaction with Our Work 100%
Over 11,000 Roofs Installed Across Several States
Using Our Own Crew - Never Day-Laborers
Professional, ethical, caring... promises made, promises kept!- Walter R.
Would definitely recommend this company!- Angie D.
Everyone was super responsive, concerned, and friendly!- April J.
I'm sorry that I can only give Rooftop Designs 5 stars!- Bob S.
Very easy and reasonable to work with- Bradley H.