Just several years ago it would have been a common expectation for self-builders and architects to suggest that unless the design absolutely required it, the best solution for a flat roof is not to have one. This is not surprising as traditional roofing systems have always relied on using sheets or rolls of material which are then glued together along joints and patched over one another to protect pipework or other extrusions. The joints are the most common cause of failure on a flat roof, making it difficult to satisfy modern demands for large skylights or an orangery lantern on extensions and new builds with confidence.
There’s now a rapidly growing shift of attitude among homebuilders and architects who are opting for a GRP (also known as glassfibre) roofing system to allow freedom of design when undertaking a range of projects from domestic extensions to new-build. The flexibility in the design of the system, longevity and colour options allow the roof to be incorporated into the design process to facilitate creative ideas for a flat roof rather than it being left as a necessary but unwelcome cost to be shoe-horned into the budget.
As GRP roofs are wet-laid on site it is now easy to incorporate conventional pipes and vents along with almost any degree of complexity for contemporary glazing, orangery lanterns or other formerly difficult detail work without the problematic seams or joints. The durability of a GRP roofing system often allows existing problem roofs to be converted into showcase balconies or terraces and offers the designer a choice of colours and finishes. This has led to a spree of fantastic looking new domestic flat roof designs over the last few years, which has shifted the limiting factor in projects incorporating a flat roof from being the limitations of the product and put it in the lap of the designer.
In many ways, with the range of design options available with GRP there’s never been a better time to have a flat roof!