Commercial Single Ply Roofing Systems

As a commercial roofing option, Single-Ply Systems (SPS) have grown in popularity over the last 30 years. It is strong, lightweight, and highly resistant to tears, punctures, ultraviolet light, chemicals, and temperature extremes. Single ply membranes are available in different thicknesses (mils) and compositions (PVC, TPO, EPDM). With a highly-reflective surface, reflected rays from the sun help reduce building's cooling costs and promote a "cool roof" energy efficient roof system. With so many design & product options, this is a prime choice when it comes to flat/low-slope roof installations. A single-ply roof system will meet almost any need and fit into almost any budget.

What is Single-Ply Roofing?

Single-ply roofing is simply a wide width sheeting or covering designed for a low slope roof. It is classified as malleable sheets of compounded plastic-generated material that is used to protect and cover flat as well as low-sloped structures. The flexible sheets are classified into two main categories, synthetic and thermoplastics rubber roofing.

Single-Ply Roofing Types

Single-ply roofing systems are classified according to the materials they are made of. Mainly, single-ply roofing material comes in three categories.

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM)

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC can withstand a buildup of acidic outflow and chemicals and it's quite durable; features that have made it a common choice for flat roofing across the USA for almost half a century. It is also very easy to produce, install, and even repair.

Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)

Just like the PVC, TPO roofing is another widely used material for different types of flat roofing systems. TPO is also referred to as Flexible Polyolefin (FPO). TPO roofs is ideal for green roof construction due to its unmatched weatherproofing properties and lasts for about 20 years.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM)

EPDM is a flexible and versatile single-play material that can be mechanically fully adhered, ballasted, and even secured. Often, the EPDM roofing comes cured when they arrive on sites, so there is no delay in the installation process. The material also has amazing weathering qualities as:

  • It is 100% UV protected
  • It is resistant to changing weather conditions
  • It is ozone thermal shock resistant.

Advantages of Single-Ply Roofing Systems

While single-ply roofing covers exist in different forms, there are a lot of positive qualities that they share. Their advantages include:

Easy to install - These roofing systems are lightweight and easy to apply. It won't take a roofing contractor much time to install them, meaning that there will be less disturbance to your business.

UV rays and other environmental element protected - Unlike other roofing systems, a single-ply membrane roofing cover doesn't deteriorate easily since it is designed to withstand harsh conditions. These roofing systems don't get easily torn by rain, debris, or wind.

Environmental friendly - If you are an environment enthusiast, then you should consider installing single ply roofing systems. These roofs are easily recycled when they reach the end of their useful life, meaning that there is less waste material to throw away and are energy efficient when recycling.

Reasonable pricing - Even if a single-ply roofing system might have a high upfront cost, its durability and benefits make it affordable. You should consider factors such as ease of installation, level of comfort, energy costs, durability, and lifespan to understand how affordable these roofing systems are.

Single-Ply Roof Installation

This section will go over how to install single ply roofing. This process is similar for the three types of roofing, but they differ in some ways. First, the existing substrate is prepared, either by removing or cleaning the current roofing system. There are a few kinds of insulation options that you can choose from. These are:

Extruded polystyrene (XPS) - It is lightweight, easy to install, and energy efficient.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) - It is lightweight, rigid, and tough.

Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso) - It closed cell and rigid.

Usually, roofing contractors place a cover board on top for the roofing to adhere to. The roofing system is then fixed to the board using any of the following 4 ways:

Mechanically Fastened - First, it fixes mounting plates via the insulation to the deck, laying the roof in place and then fixing it to the plates.

Fully Adhered - The roof insulation is anchored using mounting plates and then the roof is bonded to the insulation.

Induction - This is simply welding through induction in order to minimize penetrating fasteners.

Ballasted - It uses large pieces of rubber membrane and then covers them by a ballast.

The PVC, EPDM, and TPO membranes come in sheets of about 10, 12, or 20 ft. wide. These sheets are rolled up and taken to your facility. As your contractor is assembling the roof, sheets roll out to overlap the sides.

The main difference between EPDM and TPO / PVC installation comes when adhering the seam together.

TPO & PVC - After the above process, the contractor returns and using a hot-air gun, they hot air fuse the seams together. This means that the seams are heat welded together.

EPDM - After the above process, the contractor returns and fastens the seams with an additional adhesive or seam tape.

Single Ply Roofing Maintenance

A key to having durable single ply roofing membrane is regular maintenance. Here are some things you can do to maintain your roof.

  1. Examine the seams regularly to ensure that they are intact and have no punctures. Do this at least twice a year.
  2. Ensure that you use pads when checking your roof.
  3. Watch out for loose fasteners. They can be spotted poking their heads up via the membrane.

Single Ply Roofing Repairs

Ensure that you use the right material when repairing your single ply membranes. For instance, use PV with PVC, TPO with TPO, and EPDM with EPDM.

With that in mind, there are three main issues that you can encounter with a single-ply roofing system.

Punctured membrane - The flexible and lightweight nature of these membranes make them prone to punctures. These punctures can be caused by contractors and other maintenance crews.

The utmost solution is to prevent the puncture from occurring. In case there is a puncture, a contractor will be able to:

  1. Clean the area.
  2. Prime it with a bonding adhesive.
  3. Get a piece of membrane 2 inches bigger than the leak.
  4. Use a hot-air gun or adhesive to bond the new piece onto your roof.

UV Rays Degradation - UV ray can degrade the adhesives faster over time if it shines directly on your roofing. This can lead to a tear or puncture.

The solution here is to find a contractor to align the membranes and ensure that the adhesive is blocked from UV rays. This is done through overlapping.

Expired Warranty - The warranty can range from 15-30 years and it requires you to do repair to your roof for the first few years.

Single ply roofing manufacturers have two solutions that can renew your warranty:

  1. Getting a new membrane.
  2. Getting a new roofing system.

Single Ply Roofing Costs

Single ply roofing costs can vary based on a variety of factors including but not limited to: size of the roof, type of material used, presence of additional roofing accessories such as skylights, and exhaust fans. For more information on single ply roofing prices contact us today.

Hire A Professional Commercial Roofing Contractor.

We know that finding the right roofing contractor for your specific needs can be difficult. With over 35 years of experience installing maintaining and repairing flat roof commercial systems, we are confident that we can get your roof done on the first try. Call us today to get more information or to speak with a professional roofing contractor about your single ply roofing needs.