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5 Types of Low Slope Roofing Systems

5 Types of Low Slope Roofing Systems

A low slope roof does look flat, but it’s just slanted enough to allow water to slide down from it. It’s sometimes called a flat roof and typically rests at an angle of fewer than 10 degrees. You’ll occasionally see this type of roofing ratio explained in a fraction or ratio format to indicate how many inches a roof rises per foot, such as 1/4 or 3:12.

Types of Low Slope Roofs

Commercial buildings often have a low slope roof because they usually require little maintenance. Walking on them feels safer too, and companies produce them using a variety of weather-resistant membranes that also control indoor climate.

EPDM Rooftops

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer. This synthetic, durable rubber lasts up to 50 years with regular inspection and maintenance. Often, the adhesive comes built into the roofing material sheets. Otherwise, roofers apply it to the overhead structural deck before the bonding of materials begins. This type of roofing system became well-known in the 1960s, and you can choose thicknesses of between 30 and 90 milliliters.

Thermoplastic PVC Roofing

Thermoplastic materials also make excellent rooftops angled at a low slope. Roofing specialists usually attach PVC sections using either a heat or solvent welder. Alternatively, they can bond this commonly used plastic material with specialty tape. The PVC withstands heavy rainfalls and holds up well against gushes of powerful winds.

Schedule regular inspections, and this rooftop could last at least 30 years. PVC materials first appeared after the 1950s, and commercial production started to peak after the 1970s. You can request different thicknesses, ranging from 45 to 90 milliliters.

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer. This synthetic, durable rubber lasts up to 50 years with regular inspection and maintenance.

Modified Bitumen Layers

Sometimes, contractors will only add one layer to the rooftop. However, a modified bitumen roof typically has two or more single-ply layers attached to commercial overhead structural decks. You can also request modified bitumen that comes with one of several waterproofing layer types that prevent leaks or damage. They can last up to 20 years or more and could help you keep your energy bill as low as possible.

Built-Up Roofing

BUR seems to win over most other commercial root types. It’s been used in the United States for more than 100 years, including applying low slope rooftops. Roofers will apply it with liquid adhesive one layer at a time for at least two but often in up to five different coverages, including an additional gravel surface to protect the weatherproofing membrane. Its design helps reflect UV light away from the building, which retains roofing quality and keeps energy costs low.


The TPO layers usually consist of a hybrid between the PVC and the EPDM roofing systems. It’s usually either applied to a rooftop using an adhesive, or contractors might attach it mechanically. A third attachment method not used as commonly anymore is weighing down of roofing layers with gravel and just attaching it intermittently to prevent sliding.

Learn more about low slope roofing options provided by MG Roofing, Inc.