Flat Roofs Guide
Flat roofs tend to go in and out of style. Here in the Southwest, they’re much more than that. Flat roofs have been an integral part of homebuilding for centuries, going all the way back to the Ancestral Puebloans. For our climate it’s cheaper, easier to repair and, with the proper maintenance, can last a good 25 years.
Today, flat roofs come in many different types including built up roofs like modified bitumen and tar & gravel, single ply like TPO and PVC, and fluid applied membranes like silicones, elastomerics and acrylics. Built up roofs and single ply membrane roofs are most commonly used in new consturction, roof replacement and roof recovery Fluid applied membranes are used predominately for roof recovery , repairs and restoration. McPartlon Roofing uses all these and more, but here, we’ll discuss the 3 most commonly used processes.
Modified Bitumen (Mod Bit)
Modified Bitumen roofing, derived from asphalt and tailored for low-slope roofs, incorporates either the plastic-like quality of APP (Atactic Polypropylene) or the rubber-like essence of SBS (Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene). Typically set up in multiple layers for optimal waterproofing, these roofs feature an insulation layer, a base sheet, and a protective granulated cap sheet. Renowned for its durability, a Mod Bit roof can effortlessly endure heavy traffic, diverse weather conditions, and, with proper care, can last over 20 years. From an aesthetic standpoint, the roofing offers a range of colors, while its straightforward maintenance and long lifespan underscore its cost-effectiveness, making it a preferred choice for many roofing companies.
Fluid Applied Membrane
Fluid Applied Membrane roofing, primarily designed for low-slope roofs, is a liquid coating applied seamlessly that ensures a watertight surface. These coatings are directly applied to the roofing substrate, creating a fully adhered, elastomeric, and durable membrane. Resilient against weather extremes and UV radiation, Fluid Applied Membranes can prolong the life of the underlying roof system while offering the added benefit of reflectivity for energy efficiency.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)
TPO is another single-ply synthetic membrane and one of the fastest growing commercial roofing systems on the market. There are two ways to apply TPO: fully adhered or fastened at the corners and heat-welded along the seams. At McPartlon Roofing, we prefer fully adhered, so there’s something behind the membrane. If it’s not glued on, it can be highly susceptible to puncture by hail or other flying debris. TPO is bright white to reflect UV rays, is fire retardant and can last up to 30 years. TPO is very fit for Santa Fe weather conditions. TPO is available in more colors than just white. Santa Fe Historic District and some HOA’s do not allow white or reflective roofs.