Flat roof replacement? Fibreglass, Rubber or Torch on Felt? Let us help you decide.
If you are feeling apprehensive about which flat roofing solution to settle on for your new build flat roof (or a replacement for an existing flat roof) then you are at the right place!
3 main technologies are available right now and it takes considerable knowledge and years of expertise in the industry to really understand what is best. The types we are discussing today are fibreglass (FRP – fibre reinforced plastic or GRP – glass reinforced plastic) roof, EPDM rubber roof, and torch on felt roof.
Torch on Felt
Most horror stories about flat roofs come from torch on felt – and why wouldn’t they? With all the seams and expertise needed to properly install this style of roof cover the chance for a rejection at one of these points is high. Don’t get us wrong though – a good quality installation should last 10-15 years. You are here today because of those horror stories, and because you feel you should really get more of a life span out of your investment – and we agree.
So is an EPDM rubber roof the way forward? In our mind this is a much enhanced system to torch on felt roofs. It is flexible and mostly comes with no seams. However the down fall in our view is the appearance: who is keen on the black/grey look of the roof? If you have to put up with this then you’ll want an expert installation where no sags should appear so at least it won’t look like it’s sliding off the roof. Insist on proper edging trims. Lifespans are very reasonable for this style of roof but you’ll need to budget for 20% more than a torch on felt roof.
Although EPDM has good adhesion don’t think your roof is seam free through the entire structure – if you have corners, pipes and other complicated junctions and drips then your EPDM will have joins. Careful installation and attention to these areas are essential.
Don’t throw up bread for the birds on an EPDM roof, you might wake up one morning to see a Cornish seagull poking its head through the roof at you. Damage can be patched and rejoined if you don’t mind the aesthetics.
Fibreglass (FRP or GRP flat roof – they are the same thing!)
Fibreglass has a lot of pros going for it but lets note that we are positive that a good installation of an EPDM or Torch on Felt should last well – we don’t want to talk bad about our colleagues in other roofing industries. If our only choice was EPDM or Torch on Felt, then we would go for EPDM. However your choice today is between a Fibreglass composite roof and the alternatives that can stand up to some of Cornwall’s toughest elements. Find out more about installation.
So why will you want to choose a fibreglass roof for your flat roofing project? For us the lifespan of this roof is excellent. We’ve seen fibreglass reinforced flat roofs that have been around for over 35 years because the damage resistance is excellent with good UV resistive characteristics. Indeed a GRP roof can be recoated so if a repair or an extension is necessary then the roof can be restored as new for minimal cost. Highly damage resistant – fibreglass, kg for kg, is stronger than sheet metal and doesn’t rust. In Cornwall you’ll be used to strong winds, salty sea spray, and those pesky seagulls that eat and pick at pretty much anything. Glass fibre roofing systems stop them all.
GRP roofs are the prettiest money can buy – they can be any colour you choose. They can have non-slip grit installed (ideal for walk-on-roofs where a balcony is present) and they lend themselves well to most people’s aesthetic tastes. Professional installation of a fibreglass roof should always include preformed fibreglass trims to finish off the edges expertly.
Our company statement explains all the reasons why you should invest in a fibreglass roof: No joins, no seams, no leaks! Even on intricate areas a GRP roof chemically and mechanically adheres to everything it touches (with the correct preparation). The roof is layered in such a way that the whole roof structure is one piece. Trust the material and base technology they use on the A380 aeroplane, or what has been used in the marine and renewable energy industries for decades and decades on your flat roof.
Costs $$$ – “this is the deciding factor for me, so break me the bad news already …”
|Torch on Felt||10-15 years (maybe more)||4||3||2||4|
|EPDM Rubber||20-30 years +||2||4||3||5|
|GRP Fibreglass Composite Roof||30 years +||5||4||5||4|
For your next flat roof replacement or if you are building a new extension or warehouse – consider the merits of a fibreglass roof. It’s a good investment. Get a quote here.