Sealing the deal

Allan Frizzell, technical manager at Topseal, looks at the opportunities for installers to enhance their skills and generate a new income stream through flat roofs.

Flat roofs have been widely used for extensions for over 50 years, as they offer an affordable construction method and aesthetics that appeal to homeowners.

The advent of the conservatory in the 1970s and 80s – and more recently orangeries and lantern roofs – has revitalised the flat roof sector and resulted in huge advances in new product development.

In the glazing industry, there are often flat roof replacements for first generation or aged conservatory roofs, where the customer is looking for greater energy efficiency and for the room to be an all-year-round living space. New designs of conservatory-type structures, such as orangeries and extensions with lantern roofs, are helping to grow the market as well, because most of them incorporate flat roof elements. This results in greater opportunities for installers that are approved and fully trained to offer GRP flat roofing systems.

Early flat roofs constructed from traditional materials, such as felt and asphalt, gained a reputation for being high maintenance, although this is not the case when modern solutions, such as glass-reinforced polyester (GRP), are used. Latest generation GRP roofing systems ensure that flat roofs remain a viable and attractive roofing option for new builds and refurbishments in the future.

In the past few months we have seen an increase in enquiries from glazing industry professionals looking to become Topseal approved installers. This has largely been driven by demand from the market for GRP flat roof coverings, which offer longevity and enhanced performance.

Often our roofing systems are used to create a robust, long lasting roof covering around glazed areas such as a lantern roof. This means the homeowner gets the best of both worlds with a thermally efficient extension, but with the light and airy feel of an orangery. This system is also widely used for extensions, orangeries, dormer roofs, conservatories and large flat roofs.

One of the principal benefits of a GRP system is that, unlike felt, it can withstand foot traffic, which is useful as glazed features require regular cleaning to keep them looking their best.

So, with a number of different flat roofing systems out there, why should you choose GRP? The benefit with working with Topseal’s GRP systems is that installers have the backing of a company that has 20+ years’ experience in manufacturing high quality accredited flat roofing systems. We also provide a two-day intensive training course at our head office in Harrogate for all our installers, as well as technical and specification support.

Installers have the reassurance that all our GRP roofing systems are BBA-certified and suitable for domestic and commercial work, both refurbishments and new builds.

Where installers are carrying out renovations of existing extensions, then GRP systems like our Direct Lay have an advantage as they can be fitted onto existing substrates and above tissue-backed insulation, if a project requires improved thermal performance. This means that the roof refurbishment can be carried out more quickly and the building can remain in use throughout the process, providing greater convenience for your customer.

GRP also has a much longer guarantee period than traditional materials, such as felt and asphalt, which typically offer 10 years. We provide 20-40 year guarantees, but our standard system comes with a 25-year guarantee. This is a benefit for our approved installers, who can offer this guarantee with their installations.

With health and safety being a priority, so are flat roofing methods that don’t involve heat treatment. This is another reason why our GRP roofing systems are popular as they are safe and easy to install, with no heat treatments required.

GRP is also popular for its aesthetics as it is available in a range of colours and finishes to complement the aesthetics of a building.