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Exploring the best types of flat roofs: EPDM, GRP, and felt roofs

Jan 31, 2024 | Roofing Advice

Choosing the right type of flat roof for your property is a crucial decision that can impact your home’s longevity, energy efficiency, and overall aesthetic. In this article, we will provide an informative and impartial overview of three popular flat roofing options: EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) roofs, GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) roofs, and traditional felt roofs. We’ll explore the characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of each to help you make an informed choice for your flat roofing needs.

EPDM Roofs (Rubber Roofs)

EPDM, commonly known as rubber roofing, has gained popularity as a reliable flat roofing solution. Made from a synthetic rubber material, EPDM roofs offer several advantages:

EPDM roofs are highly durable and resistant to weathering, UV radiation, and temperature fluctuations. They have a lifespan of up to 50 years when properly installed and maintained.

Low Maintenance:
EPDM requires minimal maintenance, making it a cost-effective choice over the long term. Occasional cleaning and inspections are usually sufficient to keep it in good condition.

Energy Efficiency:
EPDM roofs are energy-efficient, reflecting heat and reducing energy consumption during hot weather. This can lead to lower cooling costs in the summer.

Easy Installation:
EPDM roofing systems are relatively easy to install, making them a popular choice for both new construction and roof replacements.

Environmentally Friendly:
EPDM is a recyclable material, and many manufacturers offer environmentally friendly options, contributing to sustainability.

Despite its many advantages, EPDM roofs do have a few drawbacks to consider:

Aesthetic Options:
EPDM roofs may not offer as many aesthetic choices as some other materials, which can be a concern for homeowners seeking a specific look for their property.

Puncture Risk:
While highly durable, EPDM roofs can be vulnerable to punctures from sharp objects, so care must be taken when installing rooftop equipment or walking on the roof.

GRP Roofs (Glass Reinforced Polyester Roofs)

GRP, or Glass Reinforced Polyester flat roofs, is a versatile and durable material used in various applications, including flat roofing. Here are some key characteristics and benefits of GRP roofs:

GRP roofs are entirely waterproof, providing excellent protection against water penetration and leaks.

Seamless Finish:
GRP roofs are installed as a single, seamless layer, reducing the risk of leaks at seams and joints.

Customisable Appearance:
GRP roofing systems can be customised with various colours and finishes, allowing for greater aesthetic flexibility.

Low Maintenance:
Similar to EPDM roofs, GRP roofs require minimal maintenance, leading to lower long-term costs.

When installed correctly, GRP roofs can last for 20-30 years, offering reliable protection for your property.

While GRP roofs offer numerous advantages, they also have some potential drawbacks:

Professional Installation:
Installing a GRP roof requires specific skills and expertise, so it’s crucial to hire experienced professionals to ensure a leak-free and durable finish.

Initial Cost:
The initial installation cost of a GRP roof may be higher compared to some other flat roofing materials.

Felt Roofs

Felt roofing, also known as built-up roofing (BUR), has been a traditional choice for flat roofs for many years. Here are some of its characteristics and pros:

Felt roofing is generally more budget-friendly than EPDM or GRP options, making it an attractive choice for cost-conscious homeowners.

Easy Repairs:
If a felt roof sustains damage, repairs are typically straightforward and can extend the roof’s lifespan.

Adequate Waterproofing:
When correctly installed with multiple layers and a suitable coating, felt roofs can provide adequate waterproofing.

However, felt roofs also come with some disadvantages:

Limited Lifespan:
Felt roofs have a shorter lifespan compared to EPDM or GRP, typically lasting 10-20 years. Frequent maintenance and repairs may be necessary to maximise longevity.

Vulnerability to Weathering:
Felt roofing can be prone to weathering and may deteriorate faster in extreme weather conditions.

Seam Weakness:
The seams in felt roofs can be weak points, making them susceptible to leaks over time.


Selecting the best type of flat roof for your property depends on various factors, including your budget, aesthetic preferences, and long-term goals. EPDM roofs offer durability, energy efficiency, and easy installation but may lack aesthetic options. GRP roofs provide customisation, seamless finishes, and reliable waterproofing but require professional installation. Felt roofs are cost-effective but have a shorter lifespan and may require more maintenance.

Before making a decision, it’s essential to consult with roofing professionals who can assess your specific needs and recommend the most suitable flat roofing solution for your property. Whatever your choice, proper installation and regular maintenance are key to ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your flat roof.

For expert advice and flat roofing services in the UK, consider reaching out to Rochdale Roofers. With years of experience and a commitment to quality workmanship, they can help you make an informed choice and provide reliable roofing solutions tailored to your needs.


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