Flat roofs, which have very little to no slope to shed rain like other roofing systems, are a special case for roofing systems. Traditional materials like shingles are virtually guaranteed to leak because water just sits on them, soaking in and eventually causing rot of the deck.

Still, there are plenty of options for protecting flat roofs, many of which are easy to install. The professional technicians and installers at Orange County roofing can help you understand all the options.


This is the tried-and-true roofing material for flat roofs, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Used for more than 100 years, it involves layering bitumen – usually tar, asphalt and the like – with gravel and other materials. It can be added to over time and is extremely durable, especially if the roof gets a good amount of foot traffic. It is simple to ensure all seams and openings are sealed with built-up roofing. The downside? All those layers and gravel make for a heavy roof, which likely would require additional structural support.

Modified bitumen roofs are somewhat related, in that they involve a layering system that includes an underlayment, a membrane and a granule coating. However, both built-up and modified bitumen roofs are usually dark in color, which can end up creating additional heating and cooling costs for the building down the road.


Instead of a “painted-on” roof coating, many building owners choose to have a membrane applied. A membrane is fantastic for making sure all openings, seams and cracks are covered. The membrane often is white, which can assist in keeping HVAC expenses lower.

The downsides of this choice are the cost – it is usually the most expensive option – and the fact that any sharp objects can easily pierce the membrane, providing the opportunity for water leaks. Here are some of the choices for membrane materials:


The most durable of the options, PVC creates a watertight seal thanks to heat-welded seams. It can be installed with a metal plate system or glued directly to the surface.


Also known as a rubber roof, EPDM is much less expensive than PVC but not as strong and helpful with lowering energy costs.


Since its introduction in the 1990s, this option has gained popularity. It is as durable as PVC but at a price point that closer to EPDM.

One of these five options could be the key to your flat roofing needs. Call us today to find out more.