Flat Roof Replacement Options

Flat roofs are one of the most common roofing options in San Antonio and other areas with similar weather conditions. You will find these roofs on almost every commercial property. One of the reasons it has become very popular is that there are so many flat roof materials to choose from, and they save a lot of space.

However, depending on the roof structure, you may want a flat roof replacement sooner than you thought. The best flat roof material can last 50 years, and you will need an update.

Today, we will be talking about the different flat roofing materials you can use to replace your roof. We want to help you make the easiest and best decision.

Do You Need a Roof Replacement 

Before we talk about the best flat roof materials, it’s important to establish when your roof needs a replacement. With proper and regular maintenance, you can have a long-lasting roof. During this time, you need to check out several signs that tell you when you need a new roof.

Consider the following:

Your roof has been up for more than 15 years

Most flat roof materials start showing signs of old age after 15 years. This depends on the material quality. Metal roofing can go up to 30 years or more, while synthetic rubber can take less than 25 years. It’s, therefore, crucial to start thinking about a new roof once you notice the signs of old age.

Roof leaks

No one wants to see a leaking roof on their properties, especially if it’s commercial. If the water leakage is beyond repair, get a new roof to avoid spending too much.

Water stains

Water bubbles and stains are among the main indicators of roof damage. You will notice this on your walls and ceiling, which can cause serious damage to the whole building.

Mold and algae

If you see mold on your ceiling and walls, it could signify your roof is leaky. You will need an immediate inspection because the condition might affect more than just your roof. Seek expert services, and they will remove the mold for you.

Flat Roof Replacement Options

6 Popular Flat Roof Replacement Options

So, you want to replace your flat roof by trying to figure out where to begin? Well, don’t worry; here are the six most common options on the market.

Built-up roofing

If you are looking for the most budget-friendly option, go for a built-up roof. Generally, built-up roofs are characterized by five layers of gravel, hot tar, and asphalt. It’s a durable material that is highly resistant to natural elements.

A properly installed new roof will give you at least 25 years before you start thinking about replacement. This material is ideal for safety as it stands up against temperature extremes thanks to its fire resistance.

Also, the built-up roof bur is waterproof, which means you don’t need to worry about standing water leaking into your building. It’s low maintenance and highly resistant to extreme weather conditions like heavy wind and hail.

The biggest limitation is that build-up roofs are extremely heavy. If the underlayer is lightweight, installing them will prove futile. That also means the installation costs may be higher.

EPDM roofs

Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is another material that has become extremely popular for flat commercial roofs. This material is made from a synthetic rubber membrane that is quite durable, offering up to 50 years of service. Due to their flexibility, EPDM roofs are much easier to install, costing much less per square foot compared to the build-up option above.

Most experts will think about EPDM rubber when you talk about the safest single-ply membrane roofs. It’s fire-resistance and handles heavy items better than other roofing types. And hence, it’s ideal for a roof with heavy foot traffic.

Despite the incredible life span, EPDM can easily experience shrinkage if not installed by a professional roofing contractor. It’s elastic, which makes it quite tricky to handle. Also, it’s found in black color, which absorbs too much heat – although this is an advantage during colder seasons.

Modified bitumen roofs

Modified bitumen is another common single-ply roofing material on the market. It’s also made from asphalt and polymers, just like PVC, EPD, and TPO.

Modified bitumen is much stronger than asphalt only. It has several layers of materials that help it withstand natural elements much better.

Aside from the multiple layers, a modified bitumen roof offers incredible aesthetics. You can choose any color and design to match your roof structure and meet your needs.

The biggest limitation is that modified bitumen is quite prone to damage. You need to keep it from tree limbs, branches, and similar objects. Apart from that, it could be more durable as it only lasts for about 20 years if properly maintained.

Metal roofing

Flat metal roofs promise a lifespan of more than 30 years. But that will depend on whether they were properly installed and if you are taking good care of them. Also, flat roofs have an incredible reflective ability, making them ideal for hot areas. You can save a lot of energy costs.

 Metal is not, however, the most preferred material for flat roofing, especially where heavy foot traffic is expected. Also, it’s prone to rust, which might lead to roof leaks much faster than you expected. Always look for a qualified roofing contractor if you want to get the best from metal roofs since not everyone can install them properly. 

PVC roofing

Up on this list are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roofs. PVC roofs are one of the most preferred flat roof material options their flexibility and durability. Hot tar is used, like with most rubber roofing materials, giving it strength and the ability to last for up to 30 years.

PVC roof is waterproof, fire-resistance, and offers better handling of natural elements. You can also choose from the various color options for your roof surface to match the rest of your home.

PVC membranes are quite toxic, though. It’s, therefore, not the most recommended replacement option for your roofing system. Even though it will reflect heat, this limitation makes it a great threat for green roofing enthusiasts.

For a full roof replacement with this material, we recommend using white PVC for summer and dark-colored on for colder months. That should save you some energy costs.

TPO roofing

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is another great roof material for commercial buildings. A TPO roof comes from a family of single-ply roofs with similar advantages to PVC. It’s a highly recommended material in the roofing industry, especially for its energy-saving properties since it’s good at reflecting heat – if you choose white.

Besides, TPO roofs don’t require much maintenance. They are not adversely affected by mold. TPO can be made from recycled material. This makes it eco-friendly.

However, TPO is a relatively new material on the market compared to the others mentioned above it. It’s ideal for those with a substantial budget as it falls on the more expensive side of the roof.

You will find it in a range of quality and color choices depending on your preference.


Choosing the best commercial roof replacement material is crucial for your entire structure. However, it’s even more important to hire a professional roofer. Call Bison Roofing today, and you can put all your worries to rest. The company has been around for more than 25 years, offering high-quality roofing services at the most affordable prices. Your roof is in the best hands.