Single ply roofing has become an increasingly popular flat roof covering over the last few years. Essentially, a single ply membrane roof is comprised of flexible sheets of synthetic polymer that can be divided into two main groups, thermoplastics and synthetic rubber. Due to the fact that thermoplastics can be re-heated and re-molded, they have become the number one option for many industrial roofing contractors undertaking flat roof installations.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is recognised as a thermoplastic membrane and has been used as a single ply membrane roofing material across Europe since the sixties. From the largest of factory rooftops to much smaller garage roofs and bay windows, it can be easily used in a variety of situations and environments.
The Benefits of Single Ply Roofing
Regardless of the type of roofing material that you’re considering to use, there are many universal benefits in choosing a single ply membrane roof. These include:
- Resistant to UV & Natural Elements
A fundamental requirement for any roofing material is the assurance that it’s resistant to damaging ultraviolet light. Not only are most single ply membrane materials 100% UV resistant, but they’re also not affected by the build up of potentially harmful micro-organisms.
When applied with a hot air weld, the single ply roof membrane also provides your building with some much needed protection against changing weather conditions and even the most extreme temperatures.
- Fire Retardant
Due to their composition, single ply membrane roofs are also fire resistant and even self-extinguishing. For any business, organisation or workplace that is concerned about the fire safety of their employees, visitors or customers then single ply roofing is certain to provide you with both confidence and security.
- Resistant to Chemicals
For areas that are likely to be exposed to potential harmful chemicals, it’s certainly reassuring to know your roofing material is protecting yourself and your building against acid rain and other forms of acidic outflow.
In comparison to the more traditional industrial roofing materials, single ply membranes are considerably more environmentally friendly in their production, longevity and ability to be recycled. Thermoplastic Polyethylene (TPE) is claimed to be the most eco-friendly variation that’s currently available.
Types of Single ply membrane
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Due to its durability, longevity and ability to withstand a build up of chemicals and acidic outflow, PVC has become one of the most widely used flat roofing materials in the UK and across Europe for almost half a century. It’s also extremely easy to manufacture, install and repair.
- Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)
Much like PVC, Thermoplastic Olefin is another commonly used material for a wide variety of flat roofing solutions. Also known as Flexible Polyolefin (FPO), TPO isn’t as flexible as PVC and is also likely to incur extra installation costs due to the use of solvents. Due to the strong weatherproofing properties, TPO is often used when undertaking a green roof construction and has a life expectancy of around 20 years.
- Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM)
EPDM is a versatile and flexible single ply material that can be mechanically secured, ballasted as well as fully adhered. Normally, the EPDM membrane is 100% cured when it arrives on site so there is not need to delay the installation process. It also has excellent weathering qualities as it is 100% resistant to UV radiation, Ozone thermal shock and changing weather conditions. The life expectancy of EPDM is between 20 – 30 years, however reports in the USA now suggest up to 40 years.
The cost of a single ply roof membrane
Depending on the specific manufacturer, the cost of a single ply membrane roof can vary considerably between the type of material that you’ve settled for. Generally, it’s suggested that an EPDM roofing membrane is usually the most cost effective closely followed by PVC and TPO.
Nevertheless, we would always recommend contacting professional industrial roofing contractors for more detailed information about the material, the installation process and any costs that may incur.