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What Are the Best Materials for Flat Roofs in the Pittsburgh Area?

Traditional roofs have slopes that allow water to easily flow off the roofing materials, though property owners with flat roofs can’t enjoy this luxury. Flat roofs require specific materials that can handle the increased water buildup. So, what are some of the best materials for flat roofs?

At Gotcha Covered Contracting, we specialize in flat roof installations, repairs, and replacements throughout Pittsburgh, PA, and the surrounding communities, including Allison Park, Cranberry Township, and Wexford.

Continue reading to learn the top seven flat roof materials. When you’re ready to install your new system, call us at Gotcha Covered Contracting in Pittsburgh, PA, at 724-581-8147 for an estimate.

1. Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM)

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) is a durable rubber roof membrane that many commercial facilities use for their roofing materials. It can last over 50 years. The black material absorbs a lot of heat, so you may not want to install it over certain living areas, like your bedroom. Unlike other options on our list of best materials for flat roofs, EDPM’s black color won’t show dirt and stains.

2. Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)


TPO roofs are white, single-ply membrane systems that reflect sunlight and help cool down your home. TPO roof membranes don’t offer the same durability as EPDM, lasting an average of 25 years. Note that the white color can easily appear dingy and dirty, so if you’re concerned about aesthetics, you may want to pick another option.

3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Pvc Flat Roof

PVC has one of the longest-trusted histories out of all the types of roof materials on our list because of its long lifespan and strong durability. PVC roofs are quite similar to EPDM, though they’re usually white and can last up to 40 years. A PVC roof system can easily withstand high winds, hail, and fire threats.

If you’re not a fan of white, you can also purchase your PVC roof system in other colors like brown, gray, or rust—though you’ll reduce the energy-saving effects.

4. Standing Seam

You can install standing seam metal roofs on flat or angled systems. The sequence of metal panels connects with mechanical seams that can expand and contract with temperature changes.

Standing seam flat roofs can last 30 to 50 years. The improved style and durability make this option one of the most expensive on our list.

5. Built-up Systems

Built-up roofs (BURs) include multiple layers of asphalt, tar, rocks, and gravel, to improve weatherproofing and durability. Each layer on the BUR adds approximately five years to the structure’s lifespan, so six layers could last 30 years. The increased mass offers safer working conditions for employees or occupants who frequently walk on the roof.

Occasionally, temperature changes can make your roof expand or contract, compromising interlocking areas. Because the layered system has no seams, you don’t need to worry about leaks or cracks with BURs.

6. Modified Bitumen

Modified Bitumen Roof

Modified bitumen is a flat, asphalt-based material that mimics the appearance of traditional asphalt roofs. The special polymers allow the material to perform well on flat surfaces, lasting about 15 to 20 years.

Modified bitumen comes in rolls that offer easy applications, so you may be able to save on installation costs though the material itself is more expensive. One major drawback with modified bitumen is the repair complications. If your roof leaks, your roofing contractor may not be able to locate the source.

7. Spray Polyurethane Foam

Spray foam roofing systems combine spray polyurethane foam with an elastomeric coating for extreme thermal resistance, energy efficiency, and strength. The foam material can last up to 50 years when installed properly.

The installation process requires advanced skills, so you must select a contractor with enough experience. Spray polyurethane foam may be the most cost-effective solution, offering a long lifespan with minimal damage risks.

Not Sure What’s Right for Your Roof? We’ve Gotcha Covered

Gotcha Covered Flat Roofing

Picking the best materials for flat roofs is challenging. At Gotcha Covered Contracting, we can analyze your property, budget requirements, and style preferences to help you select the best option for your home. Our skilled contractors will install the system using best practices to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

Call us at Gotcha Covered Contracting today at 724-581-8147 to speak with our Pittsburgh, PA, team about your flat roof needs.

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