Deciding on the right slope for your roof can be a challenge.

Especially with the various low sloped roof options available to homeowners & businesses today. A low slope roof offers a lot of advantages to those that choose them. While they aren’t as appealing from the curb as a roof with high peaks, the perks can definitely outweigh the downsides of this style.

When we’re talking about a low slope roof, we’re covering everything with a slope of 0 to 4 inches. Some of the most important elements needed in a low slope roof are:

  • Weatherproofing
  • Sturdiness
  • Reinforcement
  • Surface Area

Weatherproofing is easily going to be one of the most important parts of a sloped roof. Because rainwater and snow can spend a lot of time on the roof as it works its way to running off, weatherproofing the slope correctly is essential to ensuring that water doesn’t enter the structure. Additionally, because a low slope roof won’t have water quickly rushing off of it, you won’t need gutters or anything like that.

low sloped roof on new home.

1. Low Sloped Roofing Materials

The biggest part of choosing a low sloped roof is finding the right material. When you’re considering different materials, two big factors that are going to have a lot to do with your choice are the price and lifetime of the material. Here are the four big factors to watch out for.

  • Warranty – A good warranty is going to help you ensure that your roof stays intact for the longest time possible. These warranties are often specific to how steep the slope of the roof can be. Always pay attention to that part of the warranty.
  • Slope – Aside from the warranty, all materials are going to be specific about how steep of a slope your roof should have.
  • Membrane – Membrane materials are essential when it comes to keeping you dry with a waterproofed roof.
  • Temperatures – The freezing and thawing of pooled water can cause a lot of damage to your roof.  Frozen water will increase the amount of weight on your roof and increase the likelihood of moss, mold, and mildew growing on your roof.

Almost all sloped roofs utilize these three materials:

  • Built-up roof (BUR) membranes
  • Modified Bitumen
  • Single-ply membrane

Which of these materials you choose will depend primarily on your budget, climate, and slope of the roof. Commercial buildings might use the BUR membrane or single-ply membrane and then cover it with smooth stone or another type of protective material. Let’s break down these roof material types.

2. Built-Up Roof (BUR) Membranes

The BUR membrane method of sloped roofing has been in use throughout the United States for more than 100 years. Another name for the BUR Membrane roofs is tar and gravel. These roofs are constructed by combining multiple layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics to create a membrane. This type of membrane is referring to the number of layers used to construct it. For example, a four-ply membrane would be referred to as a four-ply BUR membrane roof system.

Most times, the surfaces of these systems will have gravel or other stones laid across them. This stone helps to keep anything from penetrating the membrane’s protective layer, thus ensuring that your structure stays dry.

low sloped roof drainage

3. Modified Bitumen Slope Roofs

Modified bitumen is a close cousin to the BUR roofing system and uses asphalt and tar in a lot of the same ways. These roofing systems are a bit newer and, in turn, use much newer technology. Modified Bitumen has more recently started being used successfully in the US and Canada when compared to the BUR method. The first recorded installation was in 1975. The system works in five total layers.

  1. The first layer is a sheet of metal roofing that’s attached to the frame of the building. This acts as the building’s support and helps keep everything where it belongs, on the roof.
  2. The second layer is made up of insulation and does just what it’s supposed to. It keeps the structure warm.
  3. Our third layer is a roof board that’s attached to the insulation and metal sheets. This layer is what you’ll attach the rest of the roofing system to.
  4. The fourth layer is made up of membrane sheets. These are made of gravel and tar, and they work to waterproof the roof system.
  5. Finally, the fifth layer provides UV protection. This five-layer system has become one of the most trusted flat roof systems on the market today!

low sloped roof installation

4. Single-Ply Membrane Low Sloped Roofs

Lastly, we have a single-ply membrane. It’s really not too difficult to guess that this membrane is just one single-ply of plastic or rubber protecting your roof from all the elements. These systems can be made out of many different materials and come in a variety of thicknesses. These roofs are rarely if ever, used on residential properties, but they are extremely common on larger commercial buildings. Here’s a deeper look at single-ply membrane roof systems.

As always, if you’re looking for help on your next roofing project, we’d love to hear from you! At Red Canyon, we can guarantee that you’re going to get great service and be treated fairly throughout the entire roofing process.