Flat Roofing Repairs v. Replacement: Making The Right Call

Flat Roofing Repairs v. Replacement: Making The Right Call

If you have a low-slope roof or flat roof, you need to make special considerations when you’re faced with a “repair or replace” dilemma.

Flat roofs have their pros and cons. They are often easy and much cheaper to install comparing to tile or cedar roofing.  At the same time, they tend to be difficult to maintain and pricey to repair. Making the right call – whether to repair or replace – can be hard, so it’s a good idea to call an experienced roofing contractor for help.

Flat Roofing Repairs v. Replacement: Making The Right Call

A number of factors contribute to the inevitable degradation of a flat roof, including sun and shade exposure, the type of flat roof material, and the overall structural integrity of the house, itself. Flat roofs also demand intricate flashing at the points where they join the outer walls of the house, and if this flashing was not properly installed, it can break down quickly and cause leaks.

First, consider the average lifespans of materials commonly used in flat roofs:

  • Modified Bitumen/Tarpaper/Asphalt BUR: 10 to 12 years
  • PVC/TPO: 20 to 30 years
  • EPDM synthetic rubber: 25 to 30 years

Flat Roofing Repairs v. Replacement: Making The Right Call

Thus, if you’re having problems with your tarpaper roof, it could just be that the material has reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced. It typically isn’t worthwhile to repair a roof that is up for replacement, or will be within the next three to five years.

It’s always a good idea to get an expert opinion when it comes to a “repair or replace” roofing dilemma. Having an experienced roofing contractor make a thorough inspection of your roof to diagnose its problems and make a recommendation makes most sense, considering that most homeowners lack the detailed knowledge and technical expertise required to make accurate diagnosis.

If you do choose to replace your flat roof, there are several things you can do to protect it. Applying a reflective coating will extend its life, as this will inhibit the effects of sun exposure. If you have a tarpaper or asphalt roof, you should apply roofing tar every few years to ensure your roof stays watertight.

Need a Reputable Flat Roofing Contractor?

If you’re looking for a contractor with flat roofing installation expertise, consider All Roofing Solutions, a family owned & operated Delaware roofing contractor with over 15 years of experience. We proudly serve homeowners throughout Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania, and look forward to discussing your low-slope roofing repair project!

Call 302-725-ROOF (7663) in Delaware or 610-551-ROOF (7663) in Pennsylvania for a free estimate!


  1. Posted September 5, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Excellent post. Following its advice I would agree it does depend on what material is currently on the roof and how old it is. Sometimes its better to invest and replace an older type with one that will last a lot longer.

  2. Posted September 15, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Great article!! There are so many variables to consider with a flat roof. Low slope roofs benefit from maintenance more than other systems.

  3. Posted November 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    We currently have flat roofing. We have been considering doing some re roofing to it. I think it would be smart for us, as you suggested, to apply reflective coating. Anything we could do to extend the life of the roof sounds good to me. Thanks for the info!

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