Types of flat roofs: structure and device

In contemporary architecture, flat roofs are becoming a common option for both residential and commercial structures. They are a stylish substitute for conventional pitched roofs because of their simple design and usefulness. Anyone thinking about choosing a flat roof should be aware of the composition and design of these systems.

Flat roofs are practically level with a small gradient to allow for drainage, in contrast to sloped roofs, which are designed with an angled shape to shed water and snow. They are built with a horizontal base that is usually supported by beams or joists and composed of concrete, wood, or metal. To stop water from seeping through, layers of waterproof membranes or materials like rubber, PVC, or asphalt are put on top of this base.

The layers of a well-designed flat roof are crucial. In addition to providing waterproofing, these layers also act as insulation and weather protection. To improve energy efficiency and durability, extra layers like thermal insulation or reflective coatings may be added, depending on the climate and the building’s intended use.

The flexibility of flat roofs in terms of layout and spatial utilization is one of their key benefits. They can serve as garden areas, outdoor living areas, or even solar panel platforms. However, if drainage systems are not installed correctly, problems like ponding (water accumulation) and leaks may occur. For this reason, proper installation and maintenance are essential.

Ultimately, even though flat roofs have a modern appearance and many useful features, longevity and performance can only be guaranteed by having a thorough understanding of their construction and material composition. Knowing the different types and construction techniques involved in flat roof construction can help you make well-informed decisions, whether you’re thinking about replacing an old roof or considering a flat roof for a new construction project.

The structure of the roof pie

When considering the structure in its entirety, this kind of roof is made up of multiple layers, which include:

  • flat base;
  • vapor barrier layer;
  • insulation;
  • waterproofing.

A metal profile structure or a reinforced concrete floor slab can serve as the flat roof’s foundation. The material chosen for the roof pie’s other components and installation techniques depend on the kind of base.

Bitumen or roller materials are used to create the vapor barrier. It stops moisture from the rooms from getting into the roof structure’s thermal insulation layer.

A flat roof heater can be made of a variety of materials, such as:

  • mineral wool;
  • expanded clay gravel;
  • polystyrene foam;
  • Cement-sand screed.

Traditionally, rolled materials on a bitumen basis are used to create the waterproofing layer. PVC membrane or special mastics can also be applied.

For the waterproofing carpet to transfer base mechanical deformations and temperature variations, it needs to have a certain amount of elasticity.

The roof’s functional aspects determine the pie’s structure. The following roof types are not the same:

  • traditional;
  • ventilated;
  • operated;
  • Inversion.

There are several varieties of flat roofs in the roofing industry, each with a distinct installation technique and structure. For both builders and homeowners, it is essential to comprehend these distinctions. The common types of flat roofs are examined in this article along with an explanation of their construction. A basic understanding of the design and installation of single-ply membranes such as TPO or EPDM, or built-up roofs (BUR) can help you make an informed decision about which option best meets your needs. Understanding the specifics of flat roof systems gives you the ability to safeguard your property efficiently and guarantee its longevity and durability for many years to come.

Redead of a flat roof

As per SNiP, it is imperative to account for the slope of a flat roof structure in the range of 1-4 degrees while installing it. The way these flat roofs are designed prevents water from building up on the coating’s surface. Not only is extended water stagnation in specific locations hazardous for waterproofing. Multiple freezing and thawing cycles of accumulated moisture cause significant deformation and eventual destruction of the roof’s exterior coating. Roof racks can be made of a variety of materials. Their installation features and technical attributes determine the selection.

One of the more common materials is light-colored concrete with bulk polymer filler, specifically extruded polystyrene. Although the styling is fairly straightforward, the final design is extremely strong. However, since the substantial weight of the concrete used increases the load on the ceiling, walls, and foundation of the structure, the use of this material for disconnection should be provided at the building design stage.

Similar properties can be found in light concrete filled with expanded clay or perlite. Although this material is less expensive, the resulting roofing pie is less durable due to its even greater weight.

Monolithic insulation can be used for the flat roof device, enabling you to conduct a rampant. In this instance, the prepared surface is mounted with sheet material (expanded clay, mineral wool, etc.). The mounting can be done using a robust, persistent glue that eventually stops the sheets from moving. It can also be used with a plastic spacer piece; however, in order to prevent cold bridges in the roofing pie, it is best to avoid having the metal come into contact with the roof’s base.

The roof device that uses bulk materials for ramps takes the longest. Since the granules can move, it is challenging to pour concrete over a layer of bulk insulation (expanded clay or perlite) while maintaining the required angle of inclination of the roof’s plane.

Applying a layer of fiber concrete after laying foam concrete is an efficient, albeit pricey, variation of rampant. Pies with this kind of heat-insulating layer are meant to last for a long time. This technology needs to draw in knowledgeable experts.

As per SNiP, the roof’s slope should be directed towards the water intake (if there is an internal drain) or the external water system’s water intake, which needs to be installed on the building’s exterior wall or beneath the roofing carpet.

Roofing nodes

The locations of the roofing cake’s adjacency to building structures, such as parapets, walls, pipes, external ventilation system parts, etc., should receive extra attention in order to ensure that it is dependable protected from external influences. A flat roof has several nodes. To start, this is a knot:

  • adjoining;
  • overhang;
  • passage through the roof.

The nodes are positioned where the roofing pie is next to the vertical structure on the reinforced concrete base. Roofing material manufacturers frequently create their own systems, some of which may have specific design elements.

The installation of the nodes needs to be done with extreme caution because it is responsible for ensuring the joint’s tightness and thermal protection.

Device of unexploited flat roof

A classic soft roof design is the most popular. In this case, it consists of a load-bearing base, a vapor barrier, thermal insulation made of mineral wool rolled into leaves, and a waterproofing carpet covered in material that contains bitumen. This design has the benefits of being inexpensive and easy to install.

Modern materials are used to complete more practical but unprofitable roof replacements. PVC membrane waterproofing is very common. Since the membrane is resistant to both high and low temperatures, installation can be done in any season. Furthermore, in the unlikely event that a layer of thermal insulation managed to retain moisture during installation, the membrane permits it to evaporate. The substance in this instance has strong water-repellent qualities. Specialized welding equipment that doesn’t use an open flame is used in one complete unit while painting.

Mastic can be used to coat a flat roof that hasn’t been exploded. This liquid substance is applied over a firm, uniform layer of heat-insulating material. The foundation of mastic is made of hydrophobic, elastic polyurethane resins. It polymerizes in the open air, creating a continuous membrane that resembles rubber, after a predetermined amount of time after applying an even layer. You can relyably shield the roofing pie from moisture penetration with the help of such a waterproofing device.

One common application of technology is swimming waterproofing. This is a reasonably priced option considering the quality and price ratio; the roof’s lifespan is 25 years. A super-strong waterproofing layer is created by bitumen-polymer material that is based on a canvas that has been allowed to rot. You can operate the roof device by using this material.

The device of the operated roof

This design of a flat roof is much more expensive in installation, but allows you to advantageously use additional areas. Today, this type of roof is widely in demand for the equipment of sports grounds, green areas, cafes, parking lots, etc.D. Installation of an enhanced roof is also necessary if the roof is supposed to install heavy objects, including equipment. In accordance with SNiP, the roofing structure must withstand uneven high load, that is, not to be deformed in limited areas of area. A cut of flat operated roof differs from the usual presence of a hard base in a pie or a special screed on top of the waterproofing layer. This coating eliminates the puffing of a waterproofing carpet with its subsequent destruction.

Choosing the best flat roof type for your building requires knowledge of the different materials and constructions that are available. Depending on the building use, budget, and climate, each type has unique benefits.

The built-up roof (BUR), which is composed of several layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics, is one typical flat roof structure. BUR roofs are appropriate for commercial buildings because they are robust and able to tolerate foot traffic. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep leaks and damage from occurring.

Another well-liked option are modified bitumen roofs, which combine the flexibility of BUR with its durability. Prefabricated rolls with additional modifiers like plastic or rubber are used on these roofs to improve their resistance to UV radiation and weathering.

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) and TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) are two examples of single-ply membrane roofs that provide reasonably priced, lightweight options. EPDM is well-known for its resilience to ozone and weathering, whereas TPO offers energy efficiency and flexibility.

Green roofs, which are made of vegetation covered in a waterproof membrane, have advantages for the environment in terms of better stormwater management and insulation. They need specialist installation and upkeep, but they can decrease the impact of the urban heat island and increase biodiversity.

Finally, metal roofs are long-lasting and reflective, which lowers cooling expenses in warmer climates. They can get dented by hail or other impacts, but they are resistant to fire and strong winds. Installing and insulating them correctly is essential to maximizing their energy efficiency.

Think about things like building structure, budget, climate, and maintenance needs when selecting a flat roof type. Making an informed decision based on your unique requirements and preferences can be aided by speaking with a qualified roofer.

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Alexandra Fedorova

Journalist, author of articles on construction and repair. I will help you understand the complex issues related to the choice and installation of the roof.

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