Single ply roofing offers a number of benefits over traditional BUR (built up roofs). It is has a long life span (up to 40 year life expectancy), provides strength, durability, is Eco-friendly, and is available in a variety of materials and colors. Single ply roofing systems offer the advantages of rapid installation and lightweight construction. These systems provide high puncture and tear resistance, excellent dimensional stability, and high tensile strength. They offer superb resistance to ozone and UV exposure, extreme weather conditions, chemicals, and fire. During installation, no heavy equipment is required and the membrane can be applied during inclement weather.
Single Ply roofing is a flexible or semi-flexible pre-manufactured membrane typically made of rubber or plastic materials. There are three major categories of membranes used in typical Single Ply Roofing applications. These are: Thermosets, Thermoplastics, and Modified Bitumens.
Thermoset membranes are compounded from rubber polymers, the most common of which is EPDM (ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer). Thermoset membranes have found widespread success as roofing materials because of their and excellent resistance to ultraviolet light (UV), ozone, and most common chemicals generally found on roofs.
Thermoplastic membranes are based on plastic polymers. Most thermoplastic membranes are manufactured to include a reinforcement layer, usually polyester or fiberglass, which provides increased strength and dimensional stability. The most common thermoplastic membrane is PVC (poly-vinyl-chloride) which combines excellent weathering characteristics, high tensile strength, and long-term flexibility. It also exhibits superb resistance to harsh chemicals and industrial pollutants. PVC roofing systems are able to withstand heat, wind, rain, extreme temperature fluctuations and many contaminants. The heat-weldable seams provide a strong, watertight seal and result in a clean, fast, and economical installation.
Modified bitumen membranes are hybrid products that combine the high tech formulation and prefabrication advantages of single-ply with some of the traditional installation techniques used in built-up roofing. These materials are factory-fabricated layers of asphalt that are then “modified” using a rubber or plastic ingredient for increased flexibility. They are then combined with a reinforcing agent for added strength and stability. The two primary modifiers used today are APP (atactic polypropylene) and SBS (styrene butadiene styrene).
Single ply roofing systems have given contractors and building owners an assurance that their roofing material can withstand the harsh elements that severe weather and industrial conditions bring. They can be confident in the system’s ability to protect their investment for many years to come. With their high tear and puncture resistance, UV stabilization, and energy efficient characteristics, these systems are the best choice for new and existing buildings. Combine this with ease of installation and simple repairs and it’s easy to see why single-ply roofing products have become so popular for commercial and industrial applications in recent years. Which product you should use depends on many factors. Important considerations are cost, building height, wind exposure, anticipated roof traffic, and aesthetics. With several product choices in the single-ply category, it is best to speak with a qualified commercial roofing installer to see which option is right for you.