Roof Types in Philadelphia

If you own a home or business in Philadelphia at some point you will need to replace or maintain your roof. In this post we will discuss the most common roof types in Philadelphia and help to guide you.


Asphalt Roofs

Asphalt roofing used to be the most common roof type in Philadelphia. Most flat roofs and rowhome roofs in Philadelphia had this type of roof. This type of roof is installed by mopping hot asphalt and setting sheets of material in the hot asphalt in an overlapping fashion. They are also known as built up roofs, because they are made of typically 2-3 plies of felt, set in hot asphalt. Typically 90 lb felt paper is used for vertical wall areas adjacent to the roof surface. While asphalt is a great roof, it is dangerous and an outdated technology, but because it works so well two other types of roof that are more common today are still based on this time tested material. 

Rubber Roofs

Rubber roofs are probably the most common roof in Philadelphia. There are several types of rubber roofing. When most people talk about a rubber roof they are referring to a Modified Bitumen Roofing system. Modified systems combine the proven technology of an asphalt roof with a plastic or rubber compound to add lifespan, and flexibility to the material. These roofs are available in several versions including a torch down roof, glue down, and self adhering versions, as well as smooth and granulated surfaces. They are by far the most common roof type in Philadelphia, because of their low installation and maintenance costs, as well as compatibility with older asphalt based roof systems. 

Shingle Roofs

Shingle roofs are roofs that are installed on a steeper slope. While rubber is great for a low slope roof, when the pitch of the roof increases you can typically see it from ground level. This is where asphalt shingles come into play. They are more decorative and available in many colors and designs. They are made up of individual pieces that are installed in an overlapping fashion, providing redundancy and keeping your property dry. Major manufacturers of shingles include GAF and Tamko. There are also specialty products like natural and synthetic slate ans terracotta tile roofs that can change the look of a property while providing protection from leaks. 

Silicone Roof Coatings

One of the newest products on the market are Silicone roof coatings. They are highly reflective roof coatings that unlike traditional aluminum coatings act as a waterproofing agent. Made from 99.99% silicone particulate these are not typically considered a new roof, but an alternative to roof replacement and can extend the life of an existing roof indefinitely with repeated application. 

Single Ply Membranes

There are several types of single ply roof membrane, typically used in commercial applications, that are available. EPDM has been around since the 60’s, gaining popularity in the 80’s and 90’s on commercial projects. TPO is a newer single ply membrane wchich is glued down or mechanically fastened and flashings are heat welded together. There are also PVC and Urethane roofing membranes available.