Is Single Ply Roofing Any Good?

A Roofer Installs TPO.

What is single-ply roofing?

When it comes to commercial roofs, more and more businesses are choosing single ply roofing systems. These types of roofs are used on buildings designed for flat or low-slope roofs. Made from flexible synthetic polymer sheets, facility managers and building owners like this material because it can be used on so many types of buildings from large industrial complexes to residential garages.

The membranes are durable and easy to install, which lowers labor costs when putting on a new roof. They also provide considerable UV protection, especially when paired with a roof coating, and will improve the building’s overall energy efficiency.

If you would like to know more about using single ply roofing in Woodward, PA for your next roofing project, give FIVE STAR ROOF SOLUTIONS, INC. a call at 814-810-6982.

Is single ply roofing the same as TPO?

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roofing is one type of single ply roof membrane. Its use in commercial roofing has grown over the past few years, and many prefer it over similar materials like EPDM and PVC.

These roofs are typically bright white and valued for their UV protection. They reflect the sun’s rays, so there is less heat absorption which leads to less energy used up by your heating and cooling system. This means you’ll save on long-term utility costs.

Most TPO roofs have flame-retardant materials added to them during the manufacturing process which makes them highly fire-resistant.

What is the most common type of single ply roofing?

There are three main types of single ply roofing: EPDM, TPO and PVC. For more than 60 years PVC was the most common (largely because they were the only) single-ply system on the market.

But, today most commercial buildings use EPDM or TPO with TPO gaining in popularity every year. Besides providing ample UV protection, TPO is also valued for its puncture- and tear resistance. Most are also fire-resistant.

All single-ply membranes share similar characteristics. They are, for instance, relatively easy to install. Ease of installation accounts for much of these systems’ popularity. It also cuts down on labor costs.

How long does single ply roofing last?

Single-ply membranes generally have a long life expectancy, in particular materials like TPO or PVC. These membranes can last anywhere between 25 to 45 years, depending on maintenance efforts.

What affects these roofing systems the most, creating the most problems, are faults in installation. The membranes themselves are pretty sturdy, but other components including insulation and the adhesive often affect the installation. A fault in any of these components can cause serious problems that will reduce the roof’s lifespan and lead to frequent repairs or even premature replacement.

To ensure you have a durable roofing system installed, look to the professionals at FIVE STAR ROOF SOLUTIONS, INC.. We are commercial roofing specialists that have the expertise to get the job done right the first time.

Can you walk on a single ply roof?

While single-ply membranes are sturdy, they typically aren’t designed to handle heavy foot traffic. These roofs can also be slippery when wet, so precaution must be used in inclement weather.

If you do expect heavy foot traffic on your roof, you might want to consider installing a walkway membrane.

Also, when you do have to walk on the roof for maintenance or repairs, service technicians need to be careful with their tools and equipment. Single-ply membranes can be punctured if heavy tools are dropped on them. Punctures in the roofing material can leave it vulnerable to leaks.

In addition, to prevent punctures it’s also wise to trim branches from any nearby trees and keep the roof clear of debris or loose equipment.

Benefits of single ply roofing

When property managers and building owners choose single-ply roofing they understand the benefits of using these membranes. Here are the key benefits of these roofing systems:

  • Ease of installation which lowers labor costs
  • Weather-, tear-, and puncture resistant
  • Resistance damage from UV which reduces wear and deterioration
  • UV protection lowers the heat absorption and improves energy efficiency
  • Material is environmentally friendly and recyclable

What are the disadvantages of single ply roofing?

No roofing system is perfect and this includes single ply roofing. Here are some of the disadvantages of single ply roofing:

  • Lacks a hard top layer to prevent punctures from dropped tools and equipment
  • Installation can be hampered by roofing accessories like vents or HVAC units. Additional membrane has to be installed around these areas and can be vulnerable to leaks.
  • Seams can be vulnerable to leaks but with a roof coating application, the seams can be sealed.
  • UV radiation can degrade the adhesives which makes the seams vulnerable to leaks. Any punctures or tears make the adhesives even more vulnerable to deterioration.

Single ply membrane with standing seam

Usually, when commercial buildings have steep-sloped roofs most designers and architects choose standing seam metal for roofing. Not only is metal roofing very durable, it’s also much more aesthetically pleasing. It’s also relatively costly to install.

While standing seam is durable and long-lasting, once it comes time to replace the roof, you might want to consider installing single-ply membranes instead. Although typically installed over flat roofs, they can be installed over steep-sloped roofs as well. Although they may be less aesthetically pleasing than standing seam metal, they are less cost-prohibitive and just as durable.

Moreover, there are some types of single-ply materials that can be molded to look like a standing seam roof.

One of the main reasons to avoid recovering a metal roof with single-ply roofing is that single ply can change the water flow on the roof. Poor installation of the single-ply material can lead to ponding or water pooling over the roof.

Single ply roofing companies near me

When you want a sturdy roofing system that’s easy to install you might want to consider single ply roofing. Whether it’s EPDM, PVC, or TPO, you get a system that can be used in multiple industrial and commercial applications.

For single ply roofing installation in Woodward, PA, you can always rely on FIVE STAR ROOF SOLUTIONS, INC. Schedule a free estimate by calling 814-810-6982.

A Single Ply Roof