How to Choose a Garage Roof
View the 2022 updated version of this popular blog post here.
How do you decide which garage roof material is best for you? Choosing a roofing type doesn’t need to be a difficult task, but with such an abundance of different roofing materials available on the market today, there are a few practical factors to consider when picking the right material for your flat roof project.
Think about garage location and usage
The location of your garage will have impact on the type of material that you choose, as well as how you use your garage. Look at which direction your garage faces and the level of shade it receives from other buildings or plants. South facing garages with no shade or cover can get very hot during the summer months.
If you use your garage to house appliances or as a home office, you will need a roofing material that is durable against extreme weather. You will need a level of insulation against frost and water ingress to protect your contents. Also consider whether you will be storing any flammable materials in your garage such as paints, gas or oils, as your roof will need to be fire resistant.
Fibreglass roofing is mould and rot resistant as well as being non-flammable, so it would offer an excellent durable option. EDPM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is a cured synthetic rubber which can also stand up to the British weather and is resistant to UV rays. EPDM rubber roofing also has an impressive life expectancy of 50 years.
Appearance of the garage roof with other buildings
If you are worried about the appearance of your garage roof, it can make sense to use a roofing material that is in keeping with the roof of your house. This can be a particularly appealing option for attached garages or those visible from the road.
You should bear in mind two points though. Firstly, if any replacement materials are needed for either building, make sure that the materials are available, and the appearance can be maintained. Also, think about any future work that you may plan to do to your property. You won’t want to be replacing your garage roof in a short space of time if it doesn’t match your new extension.
With the exception of slate, the majority of garage roofing materials come in a variety of colours and style. Metals and fibreglass roofs are available in different textures and styles but be aware that these options will be more expensive. Rubber, EPDM and fibreglass are the most cost-effective materials, and can give even a DIY installation a professional-looking finish.
The environmental impact of flat roofing materials
More and more people these days are concerned about the impact on the environment of the materials they choose. You should consider the longevity of the option you have chosen. A shorter lifespan may be a cheaper choice, but longer term will mean more materials, and potentially more wastage as a replacement is needed more quickly.
If you have concerns about the environmental impact during manufacture of you chosen garage roof materials, ask your installer or supplier about the manufacturing process, including their own wastage policy and use of any recycled materials. Slate, for example, is a finite material so you may want to consider more sustainable options if this is an important factor for you. Many manufacturers have white papers and technical information readily available for download on their websites.
Longevity and cost-effectivity over the long-term
Longevity, as previously mentioned, must be one of the most important factors to consider. A brick-built garage will likely be in place for many years, so to buy a flat roof material that will need to be replaced in under a decade will become more expensive in the long term, than a decision to buy a material such as EPDM, for example, which has a life expectancy of more than 50 years.
It is widely accepted that Fibreglass roofs could last for 20-30 years, with EDPM lasting up to 50 years and GRP over 40 years. This is based on correct installation and a proper maintenance programme.
Although you may have an initial preference for the type of garage roof material you prefer, it is wise to compare this with a number of other options to make an informed decision. Take into account the factors above, combined with an estimate of costs to help you decide which garage roof material is best for you.