Flat Roofs and Low Slope Roofs are some of the most common areas to find roof leaks. Because these roofs shed water slowly or not at all, the water has an opportunity to find weak spots in the system and cause leaks. The most common place flat roofs are found is on commercial buildings. Residentially, low slope and flat roofs are typically porches that have been added onto the back of a house.

If you have ever opened google maps on satellite view and seen a Walmart or a shopping mall glow like a big white square. That is because the roof is flat and TPO or PVC has been installed as the roofing membrane. There are a lot of details that go into the installation of flat roof systems, but I’ll give the broad basics here. In the past, flat roofs were most commonly made of torch-down roll roofing systems, and when it was leaking somebody would take a big bucket of tar and glaze over the area or hot mop the whole roof to revive the system. Nowadays most people are going back with a more energy-efficient TPO or PVC system with insulation board installed over the previous roofing systems to create a clean deck surface. This new type of membrane comes in rolls of various widths. It can be either glued to the insulation board or screwed in at the seams. Where one lap meets another the seams are welded together creating one giant continuous membrane. The other components such as pipe boots are also welded into the system. TPO is becoming more common in the residential roofing space as more contractors are familiarizing themselves with the product and finding the cleanliness of installation over buckets of tar and flame throwers to install flat roofs.

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