Even if you’ve never been up on one, you can probably envision a flat roof in Phoenix (if not, just check out the before and after slider below). Flat roofs are just that: flat. More specifically, they are defined by having a pitch no greater than 1/4″ per foot. So virtually flat. In Arizona, they’re often surrounded by adobe or stucco parapet walls, usually making them invisible from the ground. If you can’t see the roof on a building, odds are it has a flat roof.
Flat roofs come with numerous advantages. They allow you to apply a more energy efficient roof system than asphalt and tile roofs, common to pitched roofs in Arizona. Their efficient nature keeps both your electrical bills and your temperature down in the scorching Phoenix summer months. The also can provide easier accessibility for both homeowners and roofing contractors.
There are many types of flat roofing technologies in use around the world and in the United States. The two most common kinds of flat roofs in Arizona though are foam and single-ply roofs. Below, we will cover both and explain why our recommended kind of flat roofing, polyurethane foam, has proved far superior over our 40+ years of experience and should be your consideration for your next flat roof.
Polyurethane Foam Roofs: The Clear Flat Roof Winner
So what are foam roofs, exactly? Foam roofs are comprised of a monolithic one-piece application of polyurethane foam that does not need any mechanical fastening. Once it is sprayed on and dries, it stays put, permanently. The foam is first carefully mixed to specification, and then skillfully sprayed onto the exterior of your existing roof, in a liquid form, that then dries in less than a minute to become water-tight. Foam roofs offer a slew of benefits over other roofing types due to this flexible spray-on application.
If your roof has any existing trouble areas where water tends to pool and does not drain, these can easily be fixed with a professional foam roof application from Landmark Roofing. We can slope these troublesome areas with the foam, which eliminates standing water and pooling, which in turn keeps weak points from developing in your roof.
This spray-on application also helps make other structures water tight, like air conditioners, ducts and parapet walls, which we typically see have issues with leaks. At Landmark Roofing, we’ve done foam roof applications in Arizona for over 40 years, and we know to check out these problem areas beforehand and ensure they’re properly fixed before our job is over.
Before & After a Spray Foam Roof Install in Phoenix
However, beware low-grade contractors who do not take into account weather and temperature. Improper application can compromise the roof and lead to premature failure points and leaks.
Foam Roofs are Renewable, Sustainable and Energy-Efficient
Another great advantage to flat foam roofs in Arizona is their renewable nature. If you properly maintain the coating, you can realize big savings in not having to install a completely new roof after 10-20 years, like tile or shingle roofs. The recoating of a foam roof costs about 25-35% of a new roof and it can be maintained indefinitely, helping you save significantly in the long run.
This renewable aspect also has a significant environmental benefit: it helps keeps roofing materials out of landfills. Our high quality foam roofs also provide an R-7 insulation, helping you save both energy and money on your electricity bill – an environmental and financial win-win!
What Sets Foam Roofs Apart from Other Roof Types?
As an overview, foam roofs in Arizona are more durable, more environmentally-friendly and more affordable than their aging competitor, rubber single-ply roofs, particularly when analyzed through their respective lifespans.
They can even be tailored and easily adjusted to your roof’s specific needs, like helping prevent standing water and debris from accumulating, something that is much more complicated (and sometimes impossible) with a single-ply roof.
Believe it or not, foam roofs are even a great alternative to the more traditional shingle and tile roofs commonly found in Arizona. Not only are they a light-weight roofing solution, but they can also be tailor-made to your specific roof and have no finite life cycle. This helps to make foam roofs an affordable roofing option over the theoretically-endless life of the product.
However, they tend to only find their way onto flat roofs, largely for aesthetic purposes – foam roofing is not considered quite as attractive as tile or shingle roofs when viewed from the ground, and so those “inferior” roofing methods are still strongly preferred for pitched roofs. In addition, most HOAs in Phoenix, Peoria, Glendale, and other parts of the valley will not allow a different roof type than the adjacent houses, so converting to foam roofing if you have a pitched roof can be impossible depending upon where you live.
Rubber Single-Ply Flat Roofs: The Wrong Choice
You might know this kind of flat roof better by its former name, PVC, but these flat roofs aren’t really PVC anymore. Today’s rubber single-ply roofs are comprised of a higher-quality, longer-lasting composite.
A simple way to picture this kind of roof is a rubber sheet rolled out and secured to the top of a flat roof. If you’re looking into a solution for your flat roof, we recommend reading on and learning how other kinds of flat roofs (link to foam roof page) might be a better long-term option than rubber single-ply roofs.
The Pros and (Mostly) Cons of Rubber Single-Ply Roofs
As with any roof, you’ll find different pros and cons to take into consideration. The same goes for rubber single-ply roofs. The biggest pro most people benefit from with this kind of flat roof its affordable price point. On average, it’s around 25% cheaper than the cost to install a regular foam roof.
The cons of this kind of roof all center around its lack of durability, which we do not consider to even remotely outweigh the cost savings. In contrast to foam flat roofs, which consist of a single monolithic application that is sprayed on, rubber single-ply roofs include a number of components with its installation. They are mechanically fastened and rarely fully adhered, which allows moisture to easily get underneath the roofing and cause leaks that can travel yards away from their origination.
Animals, debris, and even just humans interacting with them can also gouge the surface and puncture single-ply roofing. In our four decades of experience, we usually see this kind of roof begin to break down and leak after 2-3 years of being installed. Although it is a very affordable roofing option, you get what you pay for and might be looking at repair costs a few years after having a single-ply roof installed.
Your Single-Ply Flat Roof Warranty is Likely Useless
Rubber single-ply roofs do often come with a 10-20 year warranty, but it’s common for these warranties to be voided early on due to how easy it is for this specific kind of roof to leak. Another issue with rubber single-ply roofs is finding a manufacturer that will still be in business after 20 years to claim your warranty through.
At Landmark Roofing, we are the manufacturer of our flat roofing materials since we are the ones who mix it, and we’ve been around since the 1970s – we are a multi-generational family business that has been around for over 40 years, and we are not going anywhere.
Say No to Rubber Single-Ply Flat Roofs – We Do!
We personally do not install any new rubber single-ply roofing anymore due to the nature of the material installed and how long it lasts. We discovered that even with our many years of experience with this specific kind of flat roof and despite our attention to detail, they would eventually fail and leak regardless of how well the installation job was executed. This resulted in upset customers and reinforced our moral obligation to only install roofs for customers that are durable and will last for decades to come.
Transitioning from a Single-Ply Roof to a Foam Roof
Single-ply roofs just aren’t the right solution for Arizona residents, and they don’t make any long-term financial sense. However, if you have an aging single-ply roof, we can apply a foam roof over the top of it, or virtually any other roofing type. That is part of the beauty of spray foam flat roofs.
We can also repair and patch all roof types, even if we don’t offer it as a full installation option. Again, our main flat roof offering, polyurethane foam roofing, is more durable, long-lasting, and will protect your house for years down the road. We are also happy to chat with you at no obligation about what type of roof you currently have and what you’re going to need in the future – just contact us, give us a call.
Landmark Roofing: Over 40 Years of Flat Roofing Experience
At Landmark Roofing, we combine our industry’s top quality products with our decades of experience to provide long lasting and durable roofing solutions across Arizona. Our tried-and-true roofing methods ensure quality applications free of defects, and we never cut corners. You can rest easy knowing leaks are a thing of the past, and we’ll guarantee our labor for an unprecedented 10 years.
We also use UL-rated material, which many contractors do not. You won’t find any homemade, bathtub-mixed material with our foam roofing jobs. We use only the best and most durable materials to ensure your Arizona foam roof stands up against the harsh desert elements.
We’ve been installing foam roofs across Arizona since 1979 – our 40 years of experience have made us one of the top foam installation roof companies not just in the state of Arizona, but in the country. We aren’t going to practice installing this kind of system on your roof like newer companies might, we already have industry-leading installation methods well established that have worked for us for over four decades.
There has been some concern for homeowners who are looking into foam roofs in Arizona and, unfortunately, discover some poorly applied roofs. These roofs are usually a result of choosing a novice, inexperienced roofing company who is using that roof to practice and improve their methods on. Doing your research beforehand and choosing an experienced company will help you avoid these situations.
When you choose Landmark Roofing for your foam roofing needs, you can rest assured you’re choosing a company who will apply your new roof with the upmost quality and service. We don’t separate our sales and installation teams. Our small, communicative operation is knowledgeable and each one of our reps have installed a variety of different of roofs. Our diverse experience in a number of different roofs gives us a competitive edge and confidence to meet your roofing needs, whatever they are. After 40 years of experience, your home won’t catch us off guard—we’ll handle any problem or challenge that comes up.
If you’re ready to start a roofing project, or would like to have a professional roofing company come inspect your roof, contact Landmark Roofing today.