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Flat Roof Systems Compared

Author: Karen Connolly
Categories: Fibreglass Roofing
GRP Roof Repair

There are many varied flat roof systems available on the market. In this article we compare some of these and identify materials and processes which are involved with each application.

Examined and compared are the following flat roof systems: Concrete, Asphalt, Felt, EDPM and Fibreglass/ GRP.


One of the main advantages with concrete roofing is that it is incredibly strong. Unlike some of its counterparts, it can withstand highly extreme weather conditions. Issues such as wind uplift do not impact concrete flat roofs, and they also have extremely long lifespans.

The obvious downside is the extreme weight of the product. The structure must be able to support the strain of a concrete roof. Concrete roofs also require a sealant to repel water. This sealant is often made from Asphalt felt.


Asphalt flat roofing is inexpensive and easy to apply. In some cases, it is possible to replace an older Asphalt roof by simply overlaying with a new membrane. This can further cut down on costs and installation time. An asphalt roof lasts around 20 years in optimum conditions.

While this is a low maintenance and cheap option, it does have many drawbacks. Impact of light objects, such as tree branches and even hailstone, can damage and tear shingles. This results in leaks and water infiltration.


The use of a hot torch is necessary to apply a felt roof. This process usually involves the laying of three layers. A vapour control base layer is applied first. This is followed by a layer of reinforced felt. A felt cap layer is applied to finish the job. The material has excellent breathable qualities due to its vapour layer, and this prevents condensation.

Felt roofing requires skill and an awareness of health and safety. This is not a method to be be undertaken by a DIY enthusiast or layman. Employ a trained professional to operate the gas torch during application. Be sure to enquire that any contractor who carries out this type of roofing installation on your property has relative insurance. 


EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is a common flat roofing material for residential properties. This product is made of recycled rubber materials and has good insulation qualities. Carrying out repairs on this material is usually relatively simple and inexpensive.

However, its best to have an EPDM roof installed by a professional who knows how to carry out the job properly. Branches and foot traffic can damage this product during installation. Chimneys and external piping can hinder application. Flashing must be applied very carefully to avoid leaks.

Fibreglass/ GRP

Fibreglass roofing is now a very popular roofing solution. It has become widely used for domestic, medium and large commercial roofing projects. This type of roof can last in excess of 20 years when properly maintained. Fibreglass roofing is extremely durable and is an ideal solution for areas of high foot traffic, such as areas of roof access. It also comes in a range of colour to suit particular needs.

Install during dry conditions for optimum results. To finish off a roof to an elegant and decorative finish a range of accessories can be applied such as trim, caps, outlets and fillets etc. It is best to build the GRP structure on a dense, bonded and stable structure so as to limit movement, such as secured OSB boards. Fibreglass/ GRP roofing systems offer a tough, long lasting and durable alternative to other available roofing systems.

If Fibreglass roofing is the right choice for you

If a Fibreglass roof is the right choice for you, FibreGlassDirect supply a wide range of Fibreglass roofing materials and kits.

You can choose from:

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