7 Helpful Flat Roofing Terms You Should Know

Flat roofs are extremely popular in commercial and industrial applications, but they’re increasingly gaining traction in high-end residential buildings as well. A well-installed flat roof can give your home solid protection for upwards of 25 years depending on the specific material used. Knowing more about flat roofing can help you to make decisions about your roof.

1. Roof Slope

A roof’s slope, or pitch, is simply the number of inches the roof rises vertically for every 12 inches it spans horizontally. A flat roof has an almost level slope with a slope of 3-in-12 or less.

2. Flashing

Roof flashing is a thin roofing material, mostly made of galvanized steel, which roofers install to channel water away from important areas of the roof. Such areas include points where the roof plane intersects a vertical surface like a dormer or wall, or in spots surrounding roof fixtures such as vents, skylights, and chimneys.

3. R-Value

R-value refers to the measure of a building material’s resistance to heat flow. A material with a higher R-value typically offers better insulation. For flat roofs, R-value is a critical consideration since increasing the thickness of an insulating layer will significantly improve thermal resistance and reduce your utility bills. When determining the R-value of your roof, things such as the underlayment, insulation, adhesives, cover boards, and the membrane are all taken into account.

4. Substrate

The substrate is the surface upon which the roofing or waterproofing membrane is applied. Its main purpose is to prevent the adhesive from dripping into the interior, improve fire resistance, and provide a clean surface upon which an air or vapor retarder or insulation can be adhered to.

5. Underlayment

Roofing underlayment is basically a water-resistant or waterproof material installed directly onto the roof deck. It’s applied under the rest of the roofing materials as an added layer of protection against severe weather. 

6. Seam 

A roof seam is where to sheets of materials meet and join or overlap. They’re made by joining the two sheets together.

7. Storm Straps 

A storm strap is a connector installed to strengthen wood-framed flat roofs. The most popular storm straps are made of stainless steel or galvanized steel and are designed to protect structures from adverse weather elements, including hurricanes, tropical storms, and winter storms.

Having understood these common flat roofing terms, it’s important to always work with an experienced roofing contractor to ensure your roof will weather the storms for several years to come. At Imperial Roofing, we want our Tampa customers to have peace of mind knowing we provide quality craftsmanship and exemplary customer service. Contact us today for a free estimate on your flat roof project.