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Do flat roofs deserve their reputation?

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that flat roofs have a bad reputation. Mention your intentions to get a flat roof and expect people to wince or shake their heads in disapproval.

In Ireland, with our less than reliable weather, the perception remains that flat roofs are only for Mediterranean climates where sudden downpours are all but non-existent. It’s considered that flat roofs in Ireland are a recipe for drips, leaks and costly repairs.

Is this negative reputation fully justified? Here at KCL Roofing, we’d argue that it isn’t. A properly installed and maintained flat roof is just as reliable as any pitched roof. So why the bad reputation? Unfortunately, like any roofing solution, if you use less than reputable roofing companies, you’ll likely have a lifetime of issues with your flat roof. Therefore, it’s important to always hire a professional, experienced and competent flat roofing company – like KCL Roofing – when considering a flat roof installation or repair.

Also, older disused flat roofing installation techniques – that were popular decades ago – were prone to leaking which has left a bad taste in the mouth of many.

Still not convinced? Well, we implore you to read on as we discuss the different types of flat roofs and explain why they are becoming increasingly popular on Galway properties.

Different Types of Flat Roofs

Let’s begin with the first big shocker of the blog. Did you know that the vast majority of flat roofs aren’t flat! Instead, they are built with a slight slope. The reasons for this are obvious – the slope directs rainwater away from the roof. A slope also prevents water from pooling on the roof, directing it instead to water outlets. As a rule of thumb, you should have more than one water outlet on your roof and this outlet should be cleared off leaves as often as possible.

Broadly speaking flat roofs can be broken down into three distinctive types:

  • Rubber

  • Fibreglass

  • Torch-On-Felt

Torch-On-Felt Flat Roofs

The first major difference between these varieties is the price. The oldest of the three, Torch-On-Felt, is also the cheapest. Modern torch-on-felt is miles away from the now unused roll-on system – the very system that flat roofs can blame their bad reputation on. Contemporary Torch-On-Felt uses three layers of felt that are welded together using a blowlamp or torch. The top layer of felt can be finished with solar reflective paint, a plain black bitumen or mineral fleck for those looking for a splash of colour.

As a general rule, every roofing company should offer a 10-year guarantee on a touch-felt roof, but if properly and professionally installed, this roof can easily last for about 3 decades.

Rubber Flat Roofs

While certainly not as ubiquitous as Torch-On-Felt roofs, rubber roofs are becoming increasingly popular on Galway roofs. The major advantage of rubber roofs is the relative ease with which they can be installed. Depending on the roof area, they can be installed in one piece without the need for joins. The durability of rubber flat roofs means a homeowner should expect their roof to last upwards of 30 years. Of course, with this kind of lifespan, there is a catch. A rubber flat roof will cost anywhere from 30% to 40% more than a more standard Torch-On-Felt roof.

Fibreglass Flat Roofs

Like rubber roofs, fibreglass flat roofs have been gaining popularity these past few years. Much like rubber flat roofs, fibreglass is laid in one or two pieces. It doesn’t require joints. As the material is made in a factory, you can choose just about any trim and colour. You’ll usually be looking at a 25-year guarantee with a fibreglass roof, and assuming the roof has been installed properly, it should easily reach the ripe old age of 25 without any problems.

Again the compromise for this flexibility, durability and damage resistance is the price. Of the three, Fibreglass is the most expensive. Although when you consider its lifespan and your peace of mind, it’s certainly worth the extra initial investment.

Also, repairs on a fibreglass roof are all but invisible, and they are certainly the most aesthetically pleasing of the three options.


As we hope we have demonstrated, flat roofs have come on in leaps and bounds since the leak-prone versions that plagued many homeowners in the 1980s. By embracing new materials and techniques, flat roofs can be just as reliable as their pitched roof counterparts.

As always, the material type never makes up for expertise. The most important thing when installing a flat roof is hiring the right roofing company. This is also true when you're looking for a roof repair in Galway. If you’re considering a flat roof in Galway, please call KCL Roofing and Guttering today for a no-obligation free quote.

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