Flat Roof Installation and Repair

Flat Roof Installation and Repair 1
Flat roof with storm damage in Springfield, MO

Flat roofs are unlike other types of roofs, in that rain water doesn’t just run off of them. Other roofing materials are breathable, they shed water but do not have to be waterproof from all directions. Flat roof materials, on the other hand, need to be able to hold water, almost as well as a swimming pool. Water can “pond” on top of a flat roof. So seams must be sealed, roof penetrations treated, etc. Different flat roofing materials address this in different ways, whether heat-sealed, fully adhered, or mechanically attached. But no matter what type of surface is on your flat roof, Cook Roofing Co has experience installing and repairing it. Contact us on the form to the right, or call us at (417) 334-4238 so that we can meet with you personally and find out how best to proceed with your flat roofing needs.

Flat Roof Use Cases

There are some instances where flat roofs are used on residential buildings. In houses, those areas are often porch coverings, carports, or additions. In some cases, the entire house has a flat roof, as a design feature. But typically, a flat roof on a house is used where extending a pitched, shingle or metal roof over an addition would mean a lot of additional roof framing and rework. Putting a flat roof over the addition can be a lot simpler.

Flat Roof Installation and Repair 3
While not completely flat, shingles can’t be installed on low slope roofs like this. This is a residential flat roof.

High rise buildings, or buildings with large expanses, are easier to roof with flat roofs. This can also be more energy efficient, since there’s not a large gable space that gets warmed or cooled. Many large retail stores, office buildings, and warehouses utilize flat roofs. And other, smaller buildings do too, such as restaurants. Many of these roofs have a wall around the outside (“parapet wall”), and “scuppers” (holes in the sides) that connect to downspouts for water to drain down. Some flat roofs also have drains built into the roof.

scuppers on a restaurant roof with peeling paint and damaged trim
Scuppers. And a good example of neglecting maintenance. Not only does it look bad, but now the trim and possibly the siding needs to be replaced too.

A flat roof can save on structural construction costs, but they are not any less expensive to roof than other types of roof. This surprises people, since you can easily walk on the flat surface. But installation and repair is back-breaking work, and requires painstaking attention to detail to ensure that the end result is completely water-tight.

Types of Flat Roofing Material Systems

EPDM Rubber

This material comes in very large sheets, and is self-adhering (peel and stick). It can be difficult to work with, due to the size of the sheets, but it results in fewer, or no, seams. See our EPDM page here.

Flat roof repair needed - EPDM roofing with a puncture
EPDM with a puncture that’s been leaking.

PVC Membrane

Polyvinyl chloride roofing consists of a layer of insulation board, with the PVC membrane welded together at the seams. The material is usually about 6 feet wide, overlaps by 6-8 inches, and is seamed with a hot air welding machine. The edges of the rows of membrane are “mechanically attached” to the roof surface, or “substrate,” before welding the seams together, using plates and screws. It’s also possible to glue the membrane down with adhesive, which is referred to as “fully-adhered.” Fully-adhered has advantages over mechanically attached, but it usually costs a little more.


Similar to PVC, TPO membrane is installed over insulation boards, and can be mechanically attached or fully adhered. It also comes in rolls similar to PVC.

Modified Roofing

Modified bitumen generally is installed with heat, using torches and roofing tar. Installation is work-intensive and requires someone with experience.

Built-Up Roof

“BUR” is called built-up because it consists of layers of material that are bonded together using hot asphalt. BUR is usually finished with a layer of aggregate, or gravel, on top. An alternative to gravel ballast is a reflective material, which can help save energy costs.

Flat Roof Installation and Repair 5
Built up roof on a high rise condo building. The protective gravel ballast is missing from the middle and the roofing material is starting to crack.

Roof Coatings

A material can be sprayed or rolled right onto the surface of an existing roof. This seals and coats the existing roof, waterproofing it, and sealing up any penetrations or holes that may have existed before. It can be applied over almost any existing roof. Usual materials include polyurethane foam (cheapest), acrylic, and silicone (most expensive). Silicone roof coating is generally considered the best of these coating materials.

silicone coating to renew and seal a flat roof in springfield mo
Silicone coating to renew and reseal this roof in Springfield, MO.

Call Us For More Assistance

No matter your flat roofing needs, from repairs to flat roof replacement, we’ve got solutions that can be of help. Cook Roofing Company is ready to guide you through the inspection, repair, and replacement options that will work for your roof. With our emphasis on providing quality roofing, we make sure we our clients receive the best roofing services! Give us a call at (417) 334-4238 or use the contact form to get in touch with us today.