A low-slope roof is a roof pitched just enough to ensure drainage. For a roof to be considered “low slope,” the roof level must go up less than 3 inches in vertical height for every 12 inches horizontally. Often used in commercial buildings, low-slope roofing also works well on residential homes and garages.
Maycon Construction Services understands the importance of installing and maintaining a sound, reliable roof. With experience installing various types of roofs, including low-slope roofing, we can help you get the best roof for your property’s unique needs.
Types of Low-Slope Roofing
Unlike roofs with a steeper pitch, low-slope roofing cannot depend on gravity to shed water. Instead, a watertight membrane must be bonded over it to seal out moisture.
Most modern low-slope roofs use a membrane that covers the roof. Each sheet of the membrane is bonded with heat welding or special adhesives to form a continuous sheet. A more expensive option uses metal panels that interlock and are soldered in place, creating a tight seal.
Traditionally, low-slope roofing consisted of layers of a special reinforcing fabric and a type of asphalt called bitumen. Today, advancements in technology have improved the quality of materials available. Most built-up roofs use layers of plywood sheets, modified bitumen, and other surfacing materials.
Plywood sheets may be reinforced with organic materials or fiberglass that bond to the bitumen. The bitumen is applied as a liquid (“hot”) or adhesive (“cold”). The top layer is often fine gravel or other small materials like stones.
Ballasted roofing refers to the way the outermost layer anchors the roof. For a ballasted roof, the stones in the outer layer are larger than usual for a built-up roof. The lower layers of roof materials do not need to be fastened or adhered to underlying materials because the weight of the “ballast” stones keeps everything in place.
A single-ply roof system is constructed in a factory where conditions are carefully monitored. Single-ply roofing is a membrane roof and, once completed, forms a single sealed membrane that blocks water out.
Single-ply roofing is made from various plastics and rubbers, including:
- Thermoplastics: Often white, they help reflect heat off the roof and earn a high ENERGY STAR rating.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): A thermoplastic, PVC may be reinforced with fiberglass or polyester and additional materials to ensure flexibility.
- Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM): This type of membrane roof is made from synthetic rubber, making it strong, resilient, and able to endure high temperatures. EPDM may adhere at the seams or it may be mechanically attached or ballasted.
Torch-down roofing is a single-layer membrane roofing that lays down in pieces, and the seams are sealed with fire.
Other Low-Slope Roofing Options
There are other options for covering low-sloping roofs, including
- Standing seam metal roof: This type of roof is steel or aluminum with raised seams. The seams function like gutters, channeling the water off the roof.
- Rolled roof: Similar to asphalt shingles, this roof comes in large rolls. It is available in a variety of colors and styles and is sometimes available with a peel-and-stick application.
Low-Slope Roofing Advantages
Installing a low-slope roof has several advantages. For one thing, the installation process is less expensive and requires fewer roofing materials and less labor to complete the job.
Low-slope roofs are very energy-efficient, decreasing the costs of heating and cooling by reducing the surface available for extra air to build up, which decreases HVAC efficiency. Low-slope roofs are also well suited to solar panel installation, a step that can increase your positive environmental impact and reduce your installation costs through tax breaks and rebates.
Low-slope roofs are also easy to maintain, with less risk of slipping and falling for the professional installers and you. Though you will need to keep the roof clear of snow and debris, the accessibility factor makes this job much easier to accomplish safely and effectively.
For more information about low-slope roofing installation in the Huntington, WV, area, call Maycon Construction Services today at (304) 208-8978.