Whether it’s for a new garage for your pride-and-joy car, an extra bedroom for the latest addition to your family or just an expansion to your dining room so you can to hold bigger dinner parties, additional space in the home is seen by many as worth more than gold.

Just think. The long-awaited extension to your property is almost complete. The final and possibly the most critical element of the entire construction – the roof – is going to be installed.

The joists have been put up on the load-bearing walls. The timber decking has been built and fitted. The necessary roof fall has been introduced to allow the efficient shedding of rainwater. The only thing left to do (if it hasn’t already) is to choose an experienced roofer to do the job!

And what you choose will most likely be determined by one or more of the following factors; installation difficulty, cost, durability, and looks. The last one is not generally too important, given that the roof is predominantly above the average person’s line of sight and therefore hidden, but the others all affect the final decision.

Different Types of Flat Roofing

The market provides the average consumer with options that have subtly different characteristics and have different costs and benefits. Three possibilities amongst these options are Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP), Ethylene-Propylene-Diene-Monomer (EPDM) Rubber and Torch-On-Felt.

GRP is an old material that has only recently matured enough as a technology to be considered viable on almost all roofs. While previous attempts to use GRP for roofing meant using standard fiberglass materials that weren’t always up to the task, things have changed. The development of custom resins implies that roof owners effectively using this technology are practically guaranteed an attractive covering that can deal with the most extreme environmental hardships such as icing and high levels of UV exposure. It’s also incredibly damage-resistant and is capable of lasting for over thirty years (if correctly installed and maintained).

But despite the leaps in GRP roofing, it remains the most expensive option available to consumers. High material costs and the likely need for trained installers mean that high prices are unlikely to fall soon. If the correct procedures and precise guidelines are followed, fastidious and conscientious DIY enthusiasts are more than capable of lowering the overall cost by doing the manual work themselves. But hiring trained installation professionals who are willing to guarantee their work is probably the best choice.

As a flat roofing option, EPDM Rubber is an increasingly popular choice, mainly due to its fantastic durability, its elasticity, its established track record of effectiveness and its relative affordability.

When correctly installed, EPDM Rubber on roofs can last up to twenty-five years, resulting in some guarantees of work lasting ten years or more. Of course, there are drawbacks. It isn’t the prettiest material you’ve ever seen. It requires additional boarding and materials when being fitted. It still needs a fair degree of expertise and experience to guarantee maximum effectiveness. But EPDM Rubber roofing is more straightforward to install than GRP and costs 30-50% less, which is something to consider when you make your choice.

The final flat roofing covering is Torch-On-Felt, which uses either bitumen or asphalt to bond the industrial felt to the roof. As the standard choice of the majority of commercial and industrial buildings, the favorable characteristics of this option are well established; extremely cost-effective (10%-25% cheaper than EPDM Rubber), durable up to thirty years if correctly maintained and quickly repaired. The negative characteristics are equally well understood; high likelihood of repair if not managed successfully, aesthetically unappealing with a tendency to scuff easily, and requires a blowtorch and an open flame to install correctly.