Over the years, the expansion of commercial and residential construction sectors and the increase in the demand for roofing solutions that are low in cost have propelled the global flat roof market size. The industry had an estimated global value of $30,9 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% from 2022 to 2031, reaching $52.3 billion by the end. Besides the low cost, flat roofs also require lesser space, which has played a significant role in gaining traction.


Like other roofs, a flat roof is prone to wear and damage. Because of its surface, this type of roof is affected by water stagnation and blocked drainage systems that might lead to leakage of roofs. Before replacing a flat roof, you must consider the cost of replacement and repair. Suppose a simple repair will suffice, fine. However, if the roof’s repair cost is almost that of replacing it, consider roof replacement. 


After deciding that you will replace your flat roof, there are several things that you will need to think about so that you can improve the performance of your next roof. Besides the performance, you will ensure you do not face issues with your flat roof in the coming years. This piece will guide you on how to avoid issues when you are replacing your flat roof.


There are many flat roof replacement options, and choosing the right one is the most important decision you will have to make. You must know the best material for a flat roof to do this. While there are many options, four flat roof materials will ensure that you are not facing issues with your roof in the future. Here are the best materials for your roof replacement.

·       EPDM Membrane Roofing – This synthetic rubber black membrane is usually used in medical and commercial facilities. But the roofing still has its place in the residential roofing. It is great to use over the garage or another non-living space but would not be suitable for living spaces since it absorbs heat due to the black. 

·       TPO Roofing – The thermoplastic polyolefin is a single-ply membrane of white color used in residential and commercial roofing. It reflects color, and if you have a flat roof over your bedroom, this will be a great option for keeping the room cooler.

·       PVC Roofing – Polyvinyl chloride is a single-ply white membrane great for low or flat slopes over any living space. It is more flexible than TPO and can last up to 25 years when installed correctly.

·       Standing seam metal roofing – These are a series of metal panels locked together at seams or seamed mechanically. They are great materials for a flat roof and are more appealing aesthetically.


Your roof’s slope is the key to how the roof will shed water. Ponding water is the biggest issue flat roofs face, usually caused by insufficient roof slopes. When a poorly sloped flat roof starts leaking, the leaks are more severe since the water does not have anywhere else to go. To avoid issues with your leaking, ensure that the slope has a minimum of 1/4” per foot to minimize ponding water on the roof’s surface, preventing subsequent leaks. 


As the slope of your roof sheds water, its drainage system disposes of it. You will have many of the same problems with an inadequate drainage system as with an improper slope. So, whether you use internal drains, gutters and downspouts, or scuppers, the roof’s drainage system must match your roof’s slope and size. 

As your roof slope increases, so is the water volume routed to your drainage system. Therefore, you must stop and ask yourself whether there are enough drains and if the gutter system is large enough to handle the water volume expected to hit your roof. 


The R-value is the ability of your roof to resist heat transfer. A roof with a higher value is better than a lower one. Before replacing a roof, consider its current R-value and how it affects your cooling and heating costs.

Adding insulation can improve the R-value of your roof. However, if the roof’s slope is inadequate, you can use tapered insulation instead of structurally changing the roof. This is the best way of insulating a flat roof by adding thickness to the taper and thus increasing the R-value.


Your structural load is the other important factor to consider if you are to replace your flat roof. Typically, roofs are made in such a way that they can handle snow loads and projected wind based on historical and regional data. Therefore, you must compare the weight of the new roof to the limits of the original one. You can consult an engineer if you are not certain about the weight the structure of your roof can handle safely. 


The roof system of your home experiences air pressure as the wind passes over it. There is a sanction effect that pulls the roof away from the structure, and if it is not anchored sufficiently, it could fail. If the decking underneath is not accurate, high uplift might cause substantial damage to the structure.

If you want to avoid roofing failure, anchor it properly and use quality materials. Also, make sure you use fasteners and fastener spacing and modifications that will enhance wind uplift resistance.


Another mistake that individuals make when working with a flat roof is when it comes to ventilation. Without the right ventilation, moisture builds up on the roof. This results in mold and material decay ruining the flat roof.

Regularly check your flat roof if its fitted with a ventilator to avoid a malfunction and end up with a mold problem.


Flat roofs are one of the most glamorous roofing systems in the market, offering benefits such as low costs, added space, and more accessibility. And with all the advantages the roof offers, there comes a time when you feel you need to replace the roof. 


It could be due to damage due to years of use or improper installation, but whichever the case, you need to consider if repairing might suffice. If not, or if the price of repairing is comparable with replacement, it will be best to replace. Ensure you follow the tips above, and you will avoid future headaches from preventable issues.

Guest Contributor: Jessica Smith


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