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A popular question we hear over and over again is “Why can’t we use shingles on our flat roof?” The answer is simple. Shingles are not waterproof. When installed correctly they form a water tight membrane that is dependent on water running down and away from the structure. Shingles should not be installed on any roof that has a pitch of 2.5 inches for every foot.  So what are your options?

When it comes to replacing a flat roof or a low-sloping roof in Philadelphia your options are limited to four types of roofing:

  1. Standing Seam Metal Roofing
  2. Commercial Grade EPDM
  3. Modified Bitumen A
  4. Built-up Roof (BUR)

Standing seam metal roofing is quickly gaining more and more of the residential roofing market because it is durable, environmentally friendly, and lasts a lifetime. While initially more expensive than most flat roof products, a Remodeling Magazine study shows that homes renovated with standing seam metal roofing show a rate of 85.9% cost recouped in the National Average and a full 1 to 6% resale value gain over homes roofed with asphalt.

low sloping standing seam roof philadelphia

Other benefits include:

  • Energy savings – can save up to 30% on heating and cooling costs
  • Warranty – most come with a 35 to 50 year warranty
  • Life expectancy – life cycle cost is less than asphalt or single ply roof
  • Green – made with recycled content and is completely recyclable
  • Little to no upkeep, EVER
  • Can be installed on roofs with as low of a slope as ¼ inch per foot!

Commercial Grade EPDM or TPO roofing (20 year rubber roofing) has become the most common choice for flat roofs or roofs with a slight pitch in the United States commercial roofing market simply because it is inexpensive, installed quickly and has a long life expectancy. Newer generations of rubber roofing are made of recycled tires, saw dust and slate and are coated with a silver epoxy that add energy reflectance and energy efficiency by keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. This epoxy provides increased reflectivity which allows customers to conserve energy and realize additional savings instantly.

flat epdm roof philadelphia

  • Made from recycled materials
  • Will not become brittle due to low or high temperatures
  • Exhibits superior resistance to hail damage
  • Shows superior resistance to ultraviolet radiation
  • Has superior resistance to cyclic fatigue

*NOTE* For added energy efficiency in the summer months you can go with a White TPO roof that can reduce surface temperatures and save you on your home cooling costs.

white reflective tpo philadelphia


Built-up roofs Philadelphia, also known as BUR, are the traditional hot tar and gravel roofs that many of the row homes and town houses of Philadelphia were made with. While it is an excellent fire retardant material and is the cheapest of the four flat roofing options, BUR is also the heaviest, which can cause problems to the structural integrity of your home. Modified Bitumen is similar to asphalt but with additional polymers that provide added protection and an extended lifespan.

Finding the proper option for your home will depend upon your budget, the aesthetic that you’re looking for, and the weather conditions in your area. For more information on flat roofing options or to set up a free in-home estimate on Philadelphia Flat Roofing call Global Home Improvement at 888-234-2929 or visit online at

Copyright Global Home Improvement 2013. Serving PA, NJ, NY and DE.

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