3 Types of Flat Roofing

Flat roofs can have a distinctive appearance, and they’re an important design element of many homes. Unlike traditional sloped roofs, however, flat roofs don’t naturally shed water very easily or efficiently, so they need to use materials to help them shed water. At Charleston Roofing and Exteriors, LLC, our professional Charleston roofing contractors can help you decide on the best materials for your flat roof, and we can provide you with excellent installations, repairs, or maintenance services for your flat roofing.

If you need to have flat roofing installed at your home, it’s worth considering which material will be best for your home. Our professionals have compiled a list of the three most common types of flat roofing materials for residential properties, along with each of their pros and cons:

Rubber Membrane (EPDM)

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) roofing is made from a true rubber material. This durable roofing resembles an inner tube, but it’s specially engineered to resist damage from sunlight.


  • It’s resistant to all kind of weather.
  • It’s totally waterproof.
  • It’s fire retardant.
  • The material will never crack, peel, or become brittle.
  • Leaks are easy to patch.


The standard black material absorbs heat, and lighter colored materials, which are recommended for warmer climates, add 30% or more to the cost.

Built-Up Roof

Built-up roofs were traditionally made of tar paper, but more and more, they’re created using more advanced materials like fiberglass membranes.


Gravel is an excellent fire retardant, so built-up roofs can make your Charleston home safer. They’re also attractive, which makes them great for windows and decks that overlook the roofing.

Also, this is the cheapest of flat roofing options.


Built-up roofs are very heavy, they’re messy to install, and the joists do sometimes need to be strengthened. Installation is not recommended in homes that are currently occupied.

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen is a single-ply rolled roofing material that has a mineral-based wear surface. Torch-down systems, which are more traditional, involve heating the adhesive as the materials is unrolled. The newer “peel-and-stick” systems are safer and easier to install.


Its light-colored mineral surface reflects heat and cuts energy bills.
Its price is in the middle of the pack.


Torch-down application is a fire hazard, and it is not recommend for occupied buildings. It’s not as scuff- or tear-resistant as rubber membrane roofs.

If you’re looking for flat roofing in Charleston, call Charleston Roofing and Exteriors, LLC at 843-203-5555.