flat roof

We Currently Have a Flat/Torch-Down Roof. Can We Replace It With a Completely Different Style?

Having a flat roof means that leaks, water damage, and mold are more likely. Especially if you’ve experienced these issues before, you may be thinking about replacing it with a completely different style. Roof replacement is possible, but here are some things you need to know before hiring someone to help you with the process.

About Torch-Down Roofs

Your roof is called torch-down roofing because it is installed with an open-flame propane torch. Basically, sheets of bitumen are rolled out on the roof, and the roofer uses a propane torch to adhere them to the surface. Once everything is at the right temperature, all the seams are melted together to be completely waterproof.

Types of Torch-Down Roofing

There are two-layer and three-layer types of torch-down roofing. The two-layer systems will have a base layer and a cap sheet on top. They are easier to install with only two layers and cost less, but they’re not as durable.

Then there are the three-layer systems, which have an additional layer that is made to be granular. This makes it more difficult to install, with a higher cost associated, but it lasts longer and protects your roof for longer.

Benefits of Torch-Down Roofing

This type of roofing is made to work well in places with high temperatures, since the bitumen is made to expand or contract without melting or cracking. Essentially, it can handle both heat and cold, so if you live somewhere with many temperature fluctuations, this might be beneficial to you.

You’ll also notice the water-resistance of this roof since it’s heat-sealed, so you shouldn’t see any lasting damage from water.

Disadvantages of Torch-Down Roofing

While this type of roof is durable and waterproof, it’s also true that those seams that keep the water out can fail. This will let water into the roof, not to mention that water can get trapped in the rooftop, mostly if it’s installed in wet conditions.

Flat roofs like these will require you to perform more maintenance more often if only to make sure they’re not scratched, scuffed, or otherwise damaged.

Converting a Torch-down Roof

Your flat roof might be a lot of work for you and you might want to convert it to a pitched roof using different materials. You can do this with the help of a professional, but before you get started, there’s a lot to know about the process.

Replacement Cost

Converting your roof is basically akin to replacing it, which means there’s a cost associated with it. If you need to do a complex replacement, it could cost thousands of dollars, especially if you need to replace other pieces of your home to make sure the home’s existing structure remains stable.

Replacement Difficulty

It’s not as easy as slapping a new roof atop the existing structure. The architecture of your home will affect the replacement process, making it either easier or more difficult. Before you begin seriously thinking about the entire process, talk to a professional roofer like us about the best option for your specific home.

Is it worth it to convert?

While you can convert your roof, you have to consider whether it’s really worth it. After all, there are many benefits to a roof conversion, even beyond aesthetics. A pitched roof will have more efficient insulation, which may save you in your heating costs. It’s also much less possible for water to pool anywhere on something that isn’t flat.

A pitched roof is more expensive though, and it will require you to make a solid investment when you get started.


You have a choice to make: convert your roof or keep it flat. Ultimately, you can convert your roofing from a torch-down roof to a pitched roof, but you should consider whether this is something you want to commit to. If you do decide you would like to convert your roof, call us so we can have a look at your house and give you some recommendations. 

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