Although most residential homes have pitched roofs, flat roofs have grown in popularity and versatility. If your home has a flat roof, you may be wondering what kinds of options you have for finishing it. There are several different finishing methods that you can choose from, each of which offer the durability and weather protection that you want from your roof. Here are the most common choices to help you narrow things down.
Tar and Gravel Roofing
This type of roof starts with a layer of roofing cement, which is then covered with a layer of felt. Once the felt is in place, the whole surface is coated in hot tar. Several layers are built up with a layer of felt atop the tar, then another layer of tar. After two to three layers of each, gravel is spread atop the final layer of hot tar. You'll have to have access to a tar boiler, but you can typically rent one if you want to do the work yourself.
Rolled Asphalt Roofing
Rolled asphalt is affordable, durable and long-lasting. It's typically rolled onto the roof over a drip edge to keep water from building up along the edges. You won't need to mess with any adhesive or other material because the underside of the asphalt roofing material will warm up in the sunlight, softening the undercoat enough that it will adhere to the roof.
Rubber Membrane Roofing
The thick rubber layer of a membrane roof creates a waterproof layer that helps to protect your home from rain, snow and other weather damage. In most cases, this material is applied in sheets and is adhered to the roof using a special glue product. Under the rubber roofing membrane is typically a thick foam material that's designed to add some additional protections against the elements as well as insulation benefits.
Start by dry-fitting your rubber roofing so that you can be sure that it is going to fit before you cut and adhere it. Then, work in small sections as you apply the adhesive and press the rubber membrane into place. This will help you avoid the development of any air pockets. Consider renting a dry roller to force out any air pockets once you've finished securing the membrane in place.
Living roofs are probably the most environmentally-friendly option for finishing a flat roof. Just keep in mind that you'll need to be sure that your home's roofing is reinforced enough to withstand the weight of the plants, soil and structure.
You'll need to build a waterproof foundation for your green roof by installing layers of waterproofing material first. Then, build planting boxes from lightweight wood, pallets or something similar. Choose a planting soil that's specifically designed for green roofs, because it will have the necessary nutrients but will be blended to be lightweight. This is important, because the soil can be quite heavy otherwise.
Then, plant your seedlings in the new soil and water them regularly. You may find that you need a watering wand to reach them so that you don't have to spend a lot of time atop a ladder. Think about planting things like colorful flowers, natural green ground cover or even create an herb garden around the outer perimeter where they'll be easy to harvest.
As you can see, there are many ways to cover your home's flat roof. Talk with a roofer, like those at Quinn Roofing Solutions Inc, to find out which one would be the best fit for your home.