FLAT ROOFS ARE A COMMON ROOFING TYPE FOR THE HIGH PLAINS.
While you don’t see as many of these in our area as other types of pitched roofs, especially on homes, they’re very popular on office buildings and other types of commercial architecture. They’re actually one of the oldest types of roof there is. First used in ancient times, they provided a home with additional usable space in arid regions where water isn’t a real concern.
Another popular use of the flat roof is by modernist architects who prefer the abrupt symmetry that a flat roof’s design offers residential homes. One of the biggest problems associated with a flat roof is eliminating ponding water. This can be done in numerous ways, but must be done within a day or two. Most flat roofs do have a minor pitch that facilitates this, but it remains a common problem.
What Types of Flat Roofs Are Most Common?
Built-up Roof – most traditional, most common, has three or more plies of waterproof material layered with tar and covered with river stone
Modified Bitumen – single-ply rolled roof with fragments of crushed material “torched-down” or Peel & Stick
Rubber Membrane – material like an inner-tube is fastened, covered with river stone or glued
Do Flat Roofing Systems Last Long?
If water is properly draining and the roof has been well maintained, most can be expected to last around 15 years. However, some built up roofs have offered 20-30 years of service and probably longer on some of the old flat roofs of the northeast.
These roofs require a few inspections by the homeowner per year, particularly after major storms. Essentially to make sure flashings, meshes, and other drainage elements are unobstructed and properly fastened. Creases, blisters and bare spots also appear from time to time on the bitumen variety and they need to be covered again promptly.
Even though there are some minor drawbacks to having a flat roof over other types, it’s hard to beat the look of one. They offer a modern look, something very different for homes east of Albuquerque. However, our New Mexico friends have been utilizing the style for a long time. Flat roofs on homes provide an aesthetic compliment to the high plains regional landscape. If they’re done the right way, they won’t leak, and they’ll provide a good serviceable roof, and architectural flourish for many years to come.