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What is the best system for a flat roof?

Flat roofs are almost completely horizontal, dipping only slightly to allow rainwater to flow through the guttering to avoid flooding, and are suitable for use on both residential and commercial properties. Most modern flat roofs have a lifespan of about 20 years and are substantially cheaper than a pitched roof. There are several choices in flat roof material to ensure that you get the most suitable roofing for your requirements.

Torch on felt

roofing T&Cs

This technique came about as an improvement on the previous mineral felt roofing used in the 1960s and 1970s. The previous technique involved hot bitumen and mineral felt being poured onto a roof and rolled flat. This left an unattractive finish with a lifespan as little as 10 years. These roofs were easily damaged by stones under the membrane causing punctures. The new system allows the material to be peeled off and stuck to the surface of the roof, producing an end product that is minimal and affordable.


  • Affordable
  • Quick installation
  • Provides good protection against bad weather
  • Easy repairs
  • Reflects the sun, keeping house temperature cooler during the summer, so can reduce energy costs


  • Can’t withstand heavy foot traffic
  • Limited lifespan
  • High temperatures can cause the surface to melt slightly, causing a disfigured look
  • Repairs look messy and patchy
  • Requires regular checks and maintenance


EPDM Rubber Roof

flat roof installation in Archway London

Introduced to the UK market several years ago, these roofs have become increasingly popular. Made up of a rubber compound, this material is single ply and installed in one complete layer. The layer is glued to the decking of the roof using a strong adhesive.


  • Long lifespan
  • Competitively priced
  • Can handle foot traffic
  • Durable


  • Material isn’t very breathable – extra precautions will have to be taken to prevent condensation problems
  • Can be pierced – sharp objects, or even birds’ beaks, can cut through the fabric
  • Repairs look patchy
  • Requires maintenance on the seams to prevent leaks
  • Easily vandalized

GRP Fiberglass

fiberglass flat roof

Normally laid in one or two layers with a jointless finish and completed with factory made trims. The system is laid on timber boards that are glued at the joints. The whole decking is laid with a glass fibre matting and a basecoat of fibre resin, and completed with a top coat of resin.


  • Robust and very strong
  • Long lasting
  • Available in a wide range of colours
  • Easy to repair and almost impossible to see repair patches


  • One of the most expensive options
  • Not suitable for all roofing – large areas, for example, can be expensive to cover

Catering for both domestic and commercial properties, Abbey Roofing provide high-quality workmanship on any flat roof, no matter the material. Our services are available in the following areas:

For more information on this, or any of our other services, contact us here.

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