08 Sep Low Slope Roofing Options
Low Slope Roof Options
Low Slope Roofing Options. While low slope roofs aren’t often produced today, they were, by and large, some of the most popular options for homes and buildings during the 1960s. To this day, many of these timeless homes still sport their original roofs, and some urban housing developments and commercial buildings still use them.
Like any other roof slope, they need to be maintained and occasionally replaced to maintain safety and efficiency within the home. However, roof pitch affects the type of materials that can be safely used on a roof, meaning you can’t simply choose any roofing material and call it a day. So, what is the best roofing material for a low pitch roof? In fact, there is a range of options to choose from, each with its pros and cons to consider.
What Is Considered a Low Slope Roof?
As a category, low-pitched roofing includes any roof that has a slope of 3-in-12 or less. This means that for every 12 inches, the roof is measured horizontally, it rises by less than 3 inches vertically. These roofs are often visually flat or very nearly flat, which, while visually unique, leads to several challenges when it comes to overall functionality.
The main issue that low slope roofing face is water drainage. Roofs with higher slopes can rely on gravity to direct moisture down their sides and into gutters, so they can drain correctly, without causing harm to the walls, foundation, or roof itself. However, low pitch roofs lack this slope, so other measures will need to be taken to protect against moisture damage.
However, low slope roofing has its benefits, too. It’s believed that low-pitch roofs are more efficient when it comes to cooling and heating, and they are generally cheaper to install than many other options. Furthermore, the near-flat surfaces are sometimes a great place for installing A/C units or even solar panels and gardens in some cases for the ultimate “green” roofing experience. These roofs’ near-flat pitch sets them apart visually from other, steeper roofs, but offers them slightly more functionality in many ways as well.
Can You Use Shingles on a Low Pitch Roof?
Generally, shingles are best used on roofs with at least a pitch of 4-in-12. As low-pitch roofs only include those below 3-in-12, it’s not usually recommended that shingles be used as a primary roofing material.
Low pitch roof drains water more slowly than roofs with higher slopes, meaning the water has more time to breach the spaces between shingles and create leaks if this type of roofing is used. There is simply not enough mechanical drainage to allow for the use of plain asphalt shingles without damage occurring to the roof.
What Type of Roofing Is Best for Low Slope Roofing?
Asphalt shingles may not be a safe or practical option for low slope roofing, but there are still plenty of other roofing materials to choose from in Miami. The three big options you’ll have to choose from when finishing your low pitch roof include:
- Built-Up Roofing
- Single-Ply Roofing
- Modified Bitumen Roofing
Built-up roofing consists of a thick layering of various materials to create a strong, watertight seal that keeps moisture at bay. Multiple layers of tar paper (otherwise known as roofing felt) are anchored in place using a thick bitumen solution (a type of coal-tar pitch) or hot asphalt.
This creates the initial watertight effect. Next, this membrane is then surfaced with a specialized coating or gravel that’s been embedded into a hotter bitumen pitch. While this is among the best roofing for low slope roof stability and durability, there have historically been concerns about the environmental friendliness of the materials.
Furthermore, the price of installation can vary based on the cost of crude oil and other materials required to create the bitumen solution. Single-ply roofing is manufactured as a full, single piece that’s ready for installation. The most popular of these roofs are made of high-quality thermoplastics that have been heat-welded together for unbeatable durability, but other single-ply roof systems thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), PVC, or EPDM.
Single-ply roofs are among the most environmentally friendly low slope roofing options. They’re typically painted white, which allows them to reflect more heat, keeping them cooler and, overall, more energy-efficient.
Because they don’t incorporate bitumen and other crude-oil-based products like the other single-ply roofing options, their manufacturing, transportation, and installation are generally “greener.” Thermoplastics and other materials used for these roofs are also resistant to fire damage, chemical damage, and water damage.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
Modified bitumen roofing consists of chemically modified asphalt that’s designed to remain flexible while still providing a watertight, reliable seal that keeps moisture damage at bay. This specialized asphalt is poured over a heavy mat made of either fiberglass or polyester for extra strength and stability.
The combined flexibility and strength offer modified bitumen roofs superior durability. The asphalt itself has several surfacing options, including “cool roofing” options that help to reflect heat and keep buildings’ interiors cool. Generally, they hold up to fire, wind, rain, and hail better than many other types of roofs. Much like single-ply roofing, these roofs have a proven history of withstanding the elements and providing an excellent low slope roofing experience overall.
Each type of roofing system has its own benefits and drawbacks to consider, making choosing an outright “best” option nearly impossible at a glance. Your home’s best roofing option depends on your budget, your expectations of your new roof, and your values. Speaking with a team of professional roofers about your options is the best way to ensure you’re getting the right solution for your needs as a building or homeowner.
What Should I Use on Low Slope Roofing?
Choosing the right roof for your home involves taking stock of your home’s physical requirements and your own roofing expectations. If you value economically and ecologically sound building materials, then single-ply roofing may be the way to go. If you’re more invested in finding a structurally sound, watertight option, built-up roofing might be the appropriate fit.
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds and are looking for a sturdy yet reasonably priced roof, modified bitumen roofing will fill that role. Speak to your roofing professionals in Miami about your needs as a homeowner to find the perfect low-slope roof for your building or home.
Learn More with A&E Brothers Roofing
To learn more about the low slope roofing options available for homes and within your budget, contact A&E Brothers Roofing. This team of professional roofers has been servicing the community of Miami, FL, with the best customer care and construction quality for years.
The family-owned, family-run business boasts a combined 50 years of experience, making them one of the most reliable, knowledgeable companies in the area. If you’re looking to install, repair, or replace a low-slope roof, reach out to learn more about their products and services and how they can transform your roofing experience.
Featured Image: Shutterstock / Prapat Aowsakorn