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A Flat Roof for Every Home: Choosing the Right Option for Your Needs and Budget

May , 2023 | 9 min. read

By Mitch Owens

back of a modern residential home with a flat roof

Flat roofs have a bad reputation - you might have heard horror stories about leaks and low durability. But the truth is, flat roofs have come a long way, and today there are plenty of options that are both reliable and cost-effective.

When it comes to roofing, flat roofs are the underdog of the bunch. They often get a bad rap for being flat (literally), but with so many different options available, it's time to give flat roofs a second chance. 

At RoofCrafters, we've been installing flat roofs for over three decades. We know a thing or two about these underappreciated roofing options. So, whether you're looking for a durable, energy-efficient roof that can withstand the elements. Or a cost-effective option that won't break the bank, there's a flat roof out there for every home, we've got you covered.

In this article, we'll review the best flat roofs for residential homes. Including how long they last, what kind of warranties you can expect, and how much they'll cost. By the end, you'll be an expert on flat roofs - and ready to make a well-informed decision for your home.

So put down that shingle catalog, grab a notepad, and let's get started! We promise it's not as flat as it seems.

What is the Best Flat Roof?


TPO roof being installed on a residential flat roof

Well, that's a question that has plagued philosophers and roofers alike for centuries. But, if we're being honest, it really depends on your needs and budget.

Do you want a roof that can withstand a Hurricane? There's a flat roof for that. 

Are you looking to save money on energy bills? There's a flat roof for that too. 

The point is, with so many options available, you're bound to find a flat roof that will make you and your wallet happy. Just remember, there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all roof. But with a little research and a dash of humor, you'll be well on your way to finding the best flat roof for your home.

mod-bit flat roof over a porch

The point is: With several types of flat roofs, the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. Some common types of flat roofs include:

  1. Built-up roof (BUR): This type of roof is made up of layers of tar and gravel. It is durable and long-lasting, but it can be heavy and is not suitable for all buildings.
  2. Mod-Bit is short for modified bitumen: Mod-bit roofing is made from asphalt that has been modified with a plastic or rubber material to make it more flexible and durable. It is often used as an alternative to traditional built-up roof (BUR) systems, which are made from layers of tar and gravel.
  3. Single-ply membrane roof: These roofs are made of a single layer of synthetic material, such as TPO, PVC, or EPDM. They are lightweight, easy to install, and relatively inexpensive. Yet they may not be as durable or aesthetically pleasing as some other types of flat roofs.
  4. Metal roofs: Metal roofs are durable and long-lasting, and they can be made from a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum, and copper. They are relatively lightweight and can be installed over low-slope flat roofs.
  5. Green roof: A green roof is a flat roof that is covered with vegetation. Green roofs can help to reduce energy costs, reduce stormwater runoff, and improve air quality. They are one of the most expensive roof systems to build. They are constructed over a single-ply roof system.

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Ultimately, the best flat roof for you will depend on your budget, the local climate, and the specific needs of your home. It is a good idea to consult with a local flat roof contractor to determine the best option for your situation.

How Long Do Flat Roofs Last?


When it comes to flat roofs, the million-dollar question is always the same: how long will it last? Will it make it to retirement age, or will it give up the ghost before your kids even start high school?

Well, friends, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. But, have no fear, we're here to help you understand the ins and outs of flat roof longevity.

roofer inspecting a failing mod-bit roof

The lifespan of a flat roof can vary depending on the type of roof material and the quality of its installation. Some common types of flat roofs and their estimated lifespans are:

  1. Built-up roof (BUR): 20-30 years
  2. Modified bitumen (Mod-bit): 10-20 years
  3. Single-ply membrane roof (TPO): 15-30 years
  4. Single-ply membrane roof (PVC): 15-30 years
  5. Single-ply membrane roof (EPDM): 10-30 years
  6. Metal roof: 50+ years

It is important to note that these are estimates. The actual lifespan of a flat roof will vary depending on several factors. Such as the local climate, the quality of the roofing materials, and installation. The level of maintenance will be a key factor in its longevity. Proper maintenance and timely repairs can help to extend the lifespan of a flat roof.

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Do Flat Roofs Come With a Warranty?


Flat Roofs: Do They Come with a Warranty or a Get Out of Jail Free Card?

Well, well, well, the age-old question of whether or not flat roofs come with a warranty has finally been answered. - drumroll, please!

- yes, flat roofs come with a roof warranty! Hooray!

But before you jump for joy, let's not forget that not all warranties are equal. Flat roof warranties can vary from one to another like a pack of wild animals. They can vary in the length of coverage, and the types of repairs or replacements that will apply. Also, don't forget about the exclusions and limitations that can make your warranty as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

roofing crew installing TPO on a commercial building

The warranty may come from the manufacturer of the roofing materials, the contractor who installs the roof, or both. It's like getting a present from both your grandma and grandpa - double the love!

So, before you buy a flat roof, take a deep breath. Carefully review your roof estimate and the terms of the warranty to make sure you understand the level of protection it provides. Some common types of flat roof warranties include:

  • Material warranties: These warranties cover defects in the roofing materials. They typically provide a set number of years, kind of like a car warranty.
  • Workmanship warranties: These warranties cover any problems with the installation of your roof. They'll also last for a set number of years and they're the most used warranties. We as humans make mistakes!
  • Full-coverage warranties: These warranties provide comprehensive coverage for both materials and workmanship. This is the bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Are you covered by warranties?

So, let's make sure you choose the right warranty for your flat roof because having the right warranty in place is like having a safety net for your roof. 

How Much Will a Flat Roof Cost?


So, you're in the market for a new flat roof, and you're wondering what it will set you back? Well, buckle up, because the cost of a flat roof can be a wild ride! The final price tag depends on many factors, like the size of the roof, the materials used, the complexity of the design, and the building's location. But one thing's for sure, flat roofs tend to be less expensive than those fancy pitched roofs.

Lead metal roofing on a flat roof

Here's a rough estimate of the cost of different types of flat roofs:

  • Built-up roof (BUR): $12-$19 per square foot, aka "the priciest flat roof"
  • Modified bitumen roof (Mod-bit): $8-$12 per square foot, aka "the middle of the road option"
  • Single-ply membrane roof (TPO): $7-$11 per square foot, aka "the affordable flat roof"
  • Single-ply membrane roof (PVC): $8-$13 per square foot, aka "the happy medium"
  • Single-ply membrane roof (EPDM): $6-$10 per square foot, aka "the budget-friendly option"
  • Metal roof system: $11-$18 per square foot, aka "the flashy option"


Remember, these are just rough estimates, and the final cost will depend on your specific situation. Is it a new roof or a replacement? How much flashing and detail work is needed? To get a more accurate estimate, review at least 2 or 3 quotes from local roofing companies. 

Ready to Hire a Company Experienced in Flat Roofs? 


So, it looks like you're all set to hire a flat roof contractor and get the roof of your dreams! Whether you choose to go with a seasoned flat roof team at RoofCrafters. Or, if you decide to venture out on your own, just remember that a flat roof can be a tricky thing to install. So make sure you choose someone who knows their low slope from their steep slope roofs.

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With a little bit of research and some good old-fashioned faith, you'll be well on your way to a leak-free, low-maintenance flat roof. So, don't wait any longer, it's time to get that flat roof installed and start enjoying the fruits of your research labor!

Mitch Owens

My name is Mitch, and I have over 10 years of roofing experience. I enjoy my career in the service industry because I love helping others take care of their homes and businesses. With over 10 years in the roofing industry, my success comes from my honesty and integrity during my roof inspections. I do my best to listen to the needs of my clients and strive to provide an awesome client experience.