A single-ply roofing system is an ideal choice for both new roof construction and for retrofitting or replacing an existing roof. As a lightweight material, they do not add a physical burden to your facility. However, unlike many lightweight things, single-ply membranes are extremely durable and will protect your building for years to come. Contractors and building owners alike have relied on single-ply membranes for years, giving them a proven track record of reliability.
Every building is different and, therefore, every roof needs to be, too. Among the near-countless options for roofing materials available on the market today, single-ply membrane systems offer unique advantages.
Many commercial buildings are aging and though lightweight roofs have substantial benefits for all types of buildings, older buildings stand to benefit the most. The less stress there is on the critical structural components of a building, the longer it will tend to last.
Newer buildings are generally built with materials that are quite a bit stronger than buildings from decades past, so the advantages of lighter weight only compound. Most people think that the biggest risk a roof is protecting them from is the weather. And while that is true, if the roof itself is too heavy, it can cause you to replace parts of your building sooner than you might expect.
For over 50 years, contractors and building owners have been relying on single-ply roofing systems to protect their buildings. Yes, there are newer technologies coming on to the market all the time, but single-ply has stuck around this long because it just works—it’s as simple as that.
Roofs need to be repaired and maintained on occasion. There’s no getting around it. However, the beauty of a single-ply system is that they are incredibly simple. Put another way, they are easy to repair. Translation? Your long term repair costs are going to be lower with a single-ply system.
Choose a single-ply roofing system if you are looking for a cost-effective solution without sacrificing durability or overall quality.
All single-ply roofing systems work in the same basic way: a synthetic material is laid out and attached to your roof to provide waterproofing and protection. However, there are three common materials to choose from. All are effective, but one or another may be appropriate for your building and situation.
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) – Used for over 60 years, EPDM is actually considered a “green” material because it is composed of a mixture of recycled tires, sawdust, slate, and other materials. This combination of raw materials results in a black color and with that comes a choice depending on where your building is located and your needs.
In the winter, the black color will help to lower your heating costs by absorbing heat from the sun. However, in the summer, your air conditioning bills may be higher. This can be mitigated using a simple reflective white covering laid over the material. In addition, this protection from the sun will keep the membrane protected from the sun’s UV rays.
Overall, the main disadvantage of EPDM is that they are less resilient against punctures versus other materials and may degrade over time.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) – A newer material than EPDM, though still used for over 35 years, TPO is affordable, comes in a variety of colors (meaning it can be naturally protected from the sun without additional coatings), and is three times more puncture resistant than EPDM. TPO is also incredibly slick, meaning that water will quickly slide off of its surface.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – PVC is similar to TPO in that it is available in a number of colors, including white, but it stands out for its unmatched fire and chemical resistance. In the chemical industry or in many types of industrial manufacturing, these features can prove invaluable. Like TPO, PVC is also highly puncture-resistant.
PVC does however have one disadvantage in that it is less environmentally friendly than either TPO or EPDM materials.
Rainville-Carlson is here to help make the choice easy. We’ll determine the best material for your facility, your budget, and your timeline and then handle every step of the process. Whether you’re looking to restore your existing roof or are building a brand new building, give us a call!