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The best flat roof roofing material is without a doubt an individual sheet of rubber custom made for weather-proofing flat roofs, such as for example Firestone’s EPDM product.

That is laid directly onto roof boarding, itself supported by the roof rafters and nagging. Insulating material is normally laid in the space between your two, and if you are renewing your flat roof anyway you might as well take the opportunity of renewing that at the same time.

This will almost certainly be the recommendation you obtain from any reputable builder or roofer advising you on replacing your existing flat roof.

Until recently the most famous material for a new flat roof was bituminous felt laid in three layers, the initial layer nailed down and the upper two bonded to the one beneath with mastic bitumen. Depending on material used, this may mean heating a good bitumen-based compound to make it liquid, and then pouring it onto the underlying felt and spreading it evenly on the whole area of the roof.

Then you had to hold back for the compound to cool before applying another layer, and by the end spreading a layer of stone chippings over the roof and bonding it with a chipping compound, this being to reflect natural sunlight and prevent the felt and bitumen degrading quickly.

This was altogether a rather messy, complicated and time-consuming job best left to the professionals. In addition, there were several stages where it was very easy to neglect to make the roof weather-proof, e.g. where the edge of the felt met the prevailing tile or slate roofing of the pitch roof.

On water damage prevention of that, if, or rather when, there developed a leak in the flat roof, it could be very difficult and messy to find out exactly where the rain was getting in. Seldom would the manifestation of the leak on the ceiling of the area below be directly below the foundation of it. Water could get through a weakness in the bitumen felt and travel along a rafter before descending to the ceiling board below.

The new generation of rubber-based flat roofing systems are far superior. In case you have reasonable DIY abilities then you can probably do-it-yourself, with one other person to assist. You can easily look for a local supplier of rubber flat roof roofing material online, and the current price is only around �6.65 per square metre.

Most suppliers slice the material to the exact size and shape that you require so are there no unnecessary joins, meaning no weaknesses and an exceptionally long-lasting, leak-proof roof.

The vital portion of the whole process is to ensure that there are no gaps between the rubber roof and any existing pitch roof where rain could possibly penetrate. To ensure you can find no problems it’s important to run the rubber material up and under the tiles or slates of the adjoining pitch roof so that any rain dripping from the lower-most row falls onto the rubber, with no possibility of it over-lapping the edge and getting underneath the pitch roof.

Also, make sure that the prevailing slope of the flat roof towards the guttering or other method of water escape is maintained. The rubber is merely glued onto the roof boards and sealed where appropriate with metal brackets or bitumen so that rain penetration is impossible. Mind that the glue covers the whole of the underneath of the rubber so as to avoid bumps in the surface which could obstruct the drainage of the water away.

Rubber roofs have been proven to last for more than 50 years under all weathers, so it really is the only real flat roof roofing material that you need to consider when deciding on a fresh flat roof.

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