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Ultimate Guide to Low Slope Roofing Materials, Installation and Maintenance

Feb 21, 2022 | Roofing

Did you know that certain types of roofs can last up to 50 years? While the durability of a roof is very important, the look of the roof can be important as well. After all, do you want your roof to look like everyone else’s?

In this low slope roofing materials guide, you’ll find that low slope roofing can be a stylish roofing alternative. There are also plenty of different materials that you can choose from, all of them stylish and functional. But before we explore the different materials, installation, and maintenance, let’s take a closer look at what low slope roofing is exactly.

 

What Is Low Slope Roofing

Roofs that are flat are known as low slope roofs. Of course, no roof can be completely flat otherwise there would be drainage problems such as stagnating water. Stagnating water, in this case, could seep in through the roof and create mold problems in the ceiling.

As with other kinds of roofs, low slope roofs have a weatherproofing layer. The weatherproofing layer is arguably the most important out of all the layers of a roof. This is because this layer is able to protect your roof from most types of wind and rain damage as well as other types of elemental damage.

But the weatherproofing layer is not the only protective layer that your roof has. Beyond this layer exists the reinforcement layer. This layer is all about structural stability. It gives the roof its shape and allows it to keep its shape even against harsh wind and rain.

Finally, there is one final layer that brings all the layers of your roof together: the surfacing layer. This layer goes on top of the other two to give them an extra coat of protection. It is especially important for the protection against the sun’s UV rays and other types of weather.

Some low-slope roofing materials have special surfacing layers that are fire-resistant. Others may have surfacing layers that have a certain degree of solar reflectivity. These extra benefits can help keep your roof maintained and allow your roof to last longer.

Without all these layers working together, your roof would quickly cave in due to minor changes in the weather. But these layers are not the only thing to consider about low slope roofing. There is also the pitch to think about.

 

Understanding the Roof Pitch

Knowing the pitch of your roof is important for a variety of reasons, one of them being the materials you can choose for your roof. The pitch of a roof is the slope of a roof. You can calculate a roof pitch with two numbers: the height of your roof (known as the numerator) and the length of your roof (known as the denominator).

The denominator of a roof is always 12 for simplicity’s sake. For example, if your roof pitch ratio is 3/12, then this means that the height of your roof will increase by 3 feet in height for every 12 feet in length. A 1/12 pitch would create a roof with a very low slope while a pitch of 12/12 would be a very steep slope.

You might notice that low-slope roofs are not all that common for residential buildings. Rather, you tend to see them more in commercial buildings such as offices or stores. But residential low pitch roofs can actually make for a very aesthetically pleasing home.

More than that, it will ensure that your home won’t blend in with the rest. Low slope roofs can also make your house look more modern, sleek, and minimalistic. However, the only limitation you have with a low-slope roof is that it may affect what kind of roofing materials you can use.

After all, roof materials are designed to protect your roof and home against the elements. If these materials are applied at an inappropriate angle, they won’t be able to offer your home the right kind of protection. So, what kind of roofing materials should you use for low slope roofs and which should you avoid?

 

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Low Slope Roof

If you want to handle as little low slope roof maintenance as possible in the future, then you should make the right choice in roof materials before the roof installation process even starts.

Believe it or not, even a slight change in the slope of a roof can influence the effectiveness of a certain kind of roofing material. This is especially true for roofs that are of a particularly low pitch because they might have extra trouble draining.

For that reason, you should prioritize materials that are especially resistant to water. Otherwise, you might have to deal with water damage problems later on which can be frustrating as well as costly.

If you don’t regularly check your roof for signs of damage, you might have no idea what kind of condition your roof is in, so it’s best to choose the most durable materials in the first place so you can rest easy.

One of the most attractive roofing material choices for low-slope roofs is metal. You might not see very many metal roofs in your neighborhood, but that’s because metal roofing tends to be underrated. It is an extremely durable type of roof, but beyond that, it is also very sleek and stylish.

Steel and stainless steel are some of the most popular choices for metal roofs. However, if you want, you could also opt for aluminum or even copper roofs. Metal roofs can withstand some serious damage such as the impacts from hail or falling debris during a storm.

You won’t have the problem of missing shingles with metal roofs. But you will need to account for metal expansion since metal tends to expand in the heat. Ignoring this could damage the roof’s structure over time.

 

PVC Membrane and EPDM

PVC’s full name is polyvinyl chloride and it is a single-ply kind of roofing. It is most commonly used on flat or low slope roofs although it can also be used on roofs of a higher slope. The term “single-ply” may be misleading because PVC membranes are actually made up of two layers of polyvinyl chloride.

Between these two layers is another layer of polyester. This polyester layer gives the entire membrane a bit of extra support. In addition to the PVC membrane, an insulation board is necessary to ensure that heat doesn’t escape through the ceiling of your home.

Certain PVC membranes may also come with special features such as extra protection against the sun’s rays. More than that, this kind of roofing is quite affordable. During the low slope roofing installation process, the PVC membrane is actually welded with heat to your roof, so you can be sure that it won’t go anywhere once it’s installed.

EPDM is another type of single-ply roofing, its full name being ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. It is a type of rubber and makes for a very durable roof. As with PVC membrane roofs, EPDM roofs are very affordable without being made cheaply.

This type of roof is great if you live in an area that often experiences strong winds. And, of course, being a type of rubber, it is very good at keeping the rain off your roof. Some EPDM roofs are even fire-resistant and can keep fires from spreading if they ever start.

An EPDM roof is one of the longest-lasting roofs you can buy. Without needing a lot of maintenance, you will find that a good EPDM roof can last several decades.

 

Installation and Maintenance

You might expect that since the cost of low-slope roof materials is not very high, the installation costs must be expensive. On the contrary, installing low-slope roofs is actually very affordable and can save you a lot of money. This is because steeper roofs are hard to install and will require more effort and cost.

Another reason why low-slope roofs are so cheap is that they don’t require as much material as other types of roofs. But what about maintenance?

Another big benefit of low-slope roofs is that you don’t need to worry too much about maintenance. The materials used for these roofs are already very durable and don’t need a lot of upkeep. The most you might need to do is occasionally check up on the condition of your roof to make sure it hasn’t sustained any damage.

 

Your Low Slope Roofing Materials Guide

If you were unsure if low slope roofing would be right for you, this low slope roofing materials guide has surely shown you all its benefits. From affordability to being easy to maintain, your low slope roofing will last a long time while being very stylish as well.

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