Flat Roofing Systems: An Overview And Comparison

Are you a homeowner in Ottawa looking for the perfect flat roofing system for your home? There are many different types of flat roofing systems on the market, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks. In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the most popular flat roofing systems available today, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the best option for your home.

1. Built-Up Roof (BUR) System

The BUR system is one of the market’s oldest and most reliable flat roofing systems. It is made up of multiple layers of felt paper or fibreglass-reinforced asphalt that are built up over a plywood deck. The layers are held together with hot asphalt or tar and then topped off with a layer of gravel or stone chips to protect against UV damage. One major benefit of a BUR system is its long life span; these roofs can last up to 25 years if maintained properly. However, these roofs can be heavy and require additional structural support. In addition, BUR systems tend to be more expensive than other types of flat roofs due to their labor-intensive installation process.

2. Modified Bitumen (MB) System

The MB system is similar to the BUR system in that it consists of multiple layers built up over a plywood deck but differs in that it utilizes modified bitumen instead of felt paper or asphalt. Modified bitumen consists of multiple plies that are either heat welded or adhered together using a cold adhesive process. MB systems have long lifespans (up to 20 years) like BUR systems but tend to be lighter weight and less expensive than BUR systems due to their simpler installation process. They also offer superior waterproofing capabilities compared to other types of flat roofs due to their seamless construction.

3. Single-Ply Membrane System

Single-ply membrane systems are some of the simplest and most economical flat roofing solutions on the market today. They consist of one continuous sheet made from either thermoplastic or thermoset materials such as PVC, EPDM rubber, TPO, Hypalon/CSPE, or PIB/FPO that is stretched across the entire surface area and sealed along any seams with special adhesive tapes or sealants. Single-ply membranes offer superior durability and flexibility compared to other types of flat roofs as well as superior waterproofing protection; however, they tend to have shorter life spans than different types (typically 10-15 years).


When it comes time to choose a new flat roofing system for your home in Ottawa, there are several options available—each with its own set of pros and cons. The Built-Up Roof (BUR) system offers long life spans but tends to be pricey and labor-intensive for installation; Modified Bitumen (MB) systems use modified bitumen instead of felt paper or asphalt and provide excellent waterproofing capabilities; Single-Ply Membrane systems utilize one continuous sheet made from thermoplastic or thermoset material which offers superior durability and flexibility but has shorter lifespans overall. Ultimately it’s up to you as a homeowner to decide which option best meets your needs both now and in the future!

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