While asphalt and tile roofing are typically built at a sloped angle, flat roofs live up to their name in terms of architecture. These roofs have a more traditional history, originally used in arid environments so that inhabitants could have living space or a living roof on top of the building. The slope of a roof is called its pitch, and a flat roof pitch is typically around 10 degrees.

A flat roof pitch is typically around 10 degrees

Types of Flat Roof

PVC Single-ply

PVC membranes are one of the most common type, as they’re particularly strong and durable. Their breaking point is 300 pounds per inch (PPI), surpassing the industry standard of 200 PPI.

Built-up Roof (BUR)

More commonly known as tar and gravel roofs. They can withstand heavy foot traffic, and are typically made of up to four or more layers of alternating bitumen, such as coal tar, asphalt, or other adhesive.

Modified Bitumen

This multi-ply material is exceptionally durable, as other single-ply materials still face the risk of damage from collisions and sharp objects. A ply overlap is sealed to the base layer, along with an added granule top layer.

Rubber Membrane

Also called EPDM for ethylene propylene diene monomer, this rubber resembles an inner tube and is engineered to resist sunlight damage. It’s relatively light while being tear and scuff resistant, and is easy to patch if leaks develop.


  • Easier to install than pitched roofs
  • Less expensive to build and easier to insure
  • More usable space, like for rooftop decks or patios


  • More usable space, like for rooftop decks or patios
  • Prone to leaking – more repairs, shorter life span
  • Absorbs heat, which can raise cooling costs

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