In this month’s article, Chris Page, product manager at SIG Roofing, explores the latest GRP innovations for the flat roof market.
With a growing number of newbuild and refurbished properties finished with a flat roof, its no wonder the GRP market is thriving. Hardwearing, and delivering increased weatherability and waterproofing, a correctly installed GRP system can deliver significant peace of mind for homeowners.
Traditionally, rigid GRP has been the prevailing choice for contractors and property owners alike, and while still incredibly popular, newer, more flexible offerings are beginning to gain traction – and for good reason. As its name suggests, such systems can provide contractors with greater-than-ever-before levels of flexibility, alongside reducing installation times and providing even greater durability.
It is recognising this growing appetite for more flexible solutions which has led SIG Roofing to launch its FIX-R FLEXI-GRP, a brand-new system which allows application both over existing bitumen substrates and onto new OSB3 roof decks.
The new offering has been developed with contractors and homeowners front of mind, making the process of refurbishments or installation on new roofs (particularly in the smaller, domestic sphere) a simple, effective and, importantly, long-lasting solution. Building on the key strengths of traditional GRP systems, FIX-R FLEXI-GRP provides a seamless, flexible finish that won’t crack or peel – and can be used on a variety of surfaces.
A safe solution
Throughout our development process, manufacturing a product which guaranteed high levels of safety when installed was our number one priority. Given the nature of the materials we were working with, it was absolutely essential that the GRP was rigorously fire-tested before being put to market.
“Its important that roofers and contractors look for a system that is AA-Fire rated, which means it has been stringently tested in a real-world setting. Indeed, undertaking real-world testing – and particularly an external flame test – is pivotal to understanding how the fire would spread if the material were to ignite, a critical consideration post-Grenfell.
Ease of installation
Having spoken to contractors about why they would choose a flexible GRP solution, the simplicity of the installation process was one of the most frequently cited reasons. With FIX-R FLEXI-GRP, we take that a step further. The solution can be applied to a range of surfaces, which means that existing roofs that have been inspected and deemed sound, can be overlaid with the product; reducing the labour needed to install the product and allowing contractors to make significant time and cost savings.
For existing roofs, inspection is crucial, as not all roofs are suitable without remedy. When appraising an existing roof ahead of installation, contractors should look out for potential defects and points of failure; each of which should be individually corrected before any further work is carried out. Where roofs are completely sodden or saturated, it is recommend that you remove the affected areas and replace it with suitable materials, to make sure the roof is completely sound.
With all flexible GRP systems, its essential to use the right catalyst when mixing to ensure it cures properly – particularly in a climate has changeable as the UK’s. That is why we offer two distinct winter and summer catalysts, enabling contractors to carry out installations – whatever the weather. The winter variable will activate faster and takes into account lower ambient temperatures, while the summer variant gets to work even on days when the mercury rises above 30 degrees centigrade.
Ultimately, we believe our FLEXI-GRP solution represents an exciting step forward for the flexible GRP market, providing contractors and homeowners alike with an attractive alternative to other market offerings.
When installed, the solution flexes with the movement of the sun throughout the day, allowing the product to expand in a linear fashion and eliminating the annoying ‘creaking’ sound associated with improperly installed standard GRP systems. What’s more, the durability of FLEXI-GRP means it comes with a warranty of 15, 20 and 25 years, dependent on the thickness of the chopped strand mat – making it the ideal choice for homeowners who want guaranteed peace of mind with their roofing solutions.
As we look ahead to the next 10 years, we can only see the popularity of flexible GRP growing further still, as an increasing number of property owners switch on to the unbeatable benefits the product can deliver. For contractors, now is the time to invest in their flexible GRP offering, and ensure they have all the tools they need to take advantage of this growing opportunity.