What does single-ply roofing mean?

single ply membranes being installed

Quality commercial roofing

Single ply roof material comes in a variety of materials, each having pros and cons and each works better for certain types of roofs and climates. There are many factors that determine the benefits and the downsides to each type. It is important to know that the contractor you choose to purchase your roofing and install the material knows these pros and cons. Not every roofing contractor is experienced in single ply roofing installation for commercial or residential structures, though.

There are single ply roofing details and required specifications that they aren’t knowledgeable of. Nor will they be able to answer questions or make suggestions to a customer on the various single ply roofing options available to them. Chances are they won’t offer you a guarantee or warranty that is worthy of the singe ply roof material you choose.

In this piece today, we will focus on single ply roofing and answer a few of those questions that an owner of a commercial structure may have. 

Which roof type would a single ply roof membrane be installed on?

For roofs that have a slope without limitations and made of steel or wood could be ideal for a single ply roof that is mechanically fastened. For a commercial building that is a hurricane-prone area, single ply roof is the preferred option in roofing.

Another option to be considered is a fully adhered single-ply roof. In this scenario, they must attach the membrane using the adhesive the manufacturer recommends. That substance may be asphalt or solvent-based, or possibly water-based adhesive. They can apply pleasant aesthetic surfaces to a finished surface afterward because of the smoothness that results.

What is single ply roofing membrane?

Single ply roof is a complete roof system that is manufactured from flexible, strong membranes that are predominantly synthetic polymer. This material comes in thickness ranging between 1.1mm and +2mm. Some of the single ply roof products are homogenous and others are fortified with glass fiber or polyester to create membranes. Those membranes are sealed to form uninterrupted waterproofing and when combined with continuous support and insulation that form a durable roof system.

Is EPDM a single ply membrane?

Yes, and it has been used on commercial structures since the 1960s. EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer and comprises a synthetic rubber compound that keeps it flexible. This single ply roof material is UV resistant, which helps in lowering energy bills and has a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.

Other types of materials used for single ply roofing, pros and cons with each one can be stated. Those other types of materials are:  

  • PVC – PVC is a budget-friendly material, making it a popular choice, along with the ease and speed for installation. Repairs are easy, and it is a durable material that can withstand a range of weather and chemicals.
  • TPO – TPO is like PVC but isn’t as flexible and is used for other reasons. It is weather-resistant and has a life expectancy of twenty years. It is a good product to apply under a green roof, but the installation process makes it more expensive.
  • Vulcanized Rubber Roofing – An excellent single ply roof material that comes in large pieces that are laid on the roof then sealed together. Because of the large pieces, there are few seams that minimize possible leaks.

How long does single ply roofing last?

A fully adhered single ply roof material, which is the most commonly used application, where the membrane seems, and flashings are glued down. The material is warrantied for forty years. The EPDM single ply roof system has a life expectancy for up to 35 years with the exception of the 90-mil type of EPDM has a material warranty of 40 years. However, the seams are not covered by the warranty.

epdm roof on a commercial property

How do you fix a single ply roof?

Single ply roof membranes can be walked on, however, because they are a lightweight material that is flexible, the membrane layers can be punctured easily because there isn’t a hard layer over it. So, any gravel or a dropped screw can puncture the membrane. When this happens, repairing it is simple: 

  1. Clean the around the entire area of the puncture
  2. Apply bonding adhesive as a primer
  3. Cut a slice of the membrane that is 2” larger than the puncture
  4. Position the newly cut piece of membrane to the area and use an adhesive to bond it in place.

If you’re in the market to replace your current roof with a single ply roof material, shop several contractors, making sure they are experienced and qualified in single ply roof materials and applications. Remember, the less expensive quote is not always the best, but neither is the most expensive ones. Side by side comparisons of the quotes and choose the one fits your budget and needs. For single ply roofing in St. Louis, MO, call 314-375-7475 today!