Single Ply Options
The description of single-ply roofing is common on commercial structures that have a flat or low-slope roof. It is made of plastic-derived material that has been compounded and made into flexible sheets membranes that are prefabricated in a factory with strict quality control.
For over 25 years, single-ply roofing has become the favored choice of commercial building owners and professional roofing contractors for several reasons. The first reason is the cost and the second reason is durability. When single-ply roofing is installed accurately, it offers an intrinsic advantage with flexibility, high durability, and strength over other traditional flat roofing materials.
What does single ply mean?
A complete single-ply roofing system is created with membranes that are constituted primarily of synthetic polymer. The membranes are sealed at joints and provide a flat or low-sloped roof continuous waterproofing. With continuous support and insulation combined with this type of single-ply roofing that is up to +2mm thickness, it becomes a complete, durable roof system.
For the maintenance supervisor and the building owner, this is a comfortable, secure feeling to know that the building has the best roofing material possible. The concerns and worries of leaks and other issues are put to ease once a professionally installed single-ply roofing job is completed.
What is the best material for a flat roof?
There are two types of arrangement of single-ply roofing components: warm deck and inverted warm deck. This means that there are many combinations of system types and how they are attached to suit specific design conditions. The different membrane types available for single-ply roofing are:
- Chlorinated Polyethylene: Made from chlorination that is heat welded or solvent welded and is congruent with bitumen.
- Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer: A material that is naturally flexible is made stable with added carbon black and is joined with tape bonding and a special primer. It can be joined with other types of adhesives and is harmonious with bitumen.
- Flexible Polyolefin: A polyolefin family of materials that is heat-weldable and based upon polypropylene or polyethylene. Sometimes, it requires preparing the lap over preceding to welding. Generally apt with aged bitumen directly and the membranes are recycled full circle into the same type or another product.
- Polyvinyl chloride: The high-molecular-weight plasticizers make this a flexible PVC form that can be heat-welded or solvent welded depending on the product. This type of membranes and immediate contact with bitumen is normally not suitable unless a fitting weight of backing made of fleece is used to separate the two.
- Thermoplastic Polyolefin Elastomer: A basic property of elastomers in the process of thermoplasts and shows a high endurance to UV and Ozone exposure. It is resistant to moisture and without. Laps are heat welded, bereft of fumes or smoke. Welding of seams is secured by a wide range of temperatures for various climatic conditions.
- Vinyl ethylene terpolymer: Combined with PVC, this material is made flexible with the blending of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate and can be heat-welded or solvent welded. It is fitting with bitumen.
Which roof type would a single ply roof membrane be installed on?
Single-ply roofing membranes are available in a variety of materials, each having the main characteristic of being installed in a single layer. Single ply roofing pros and cons are many, with the pros being the flexibility and UV radiation resistant in comparison with other products. They are fastened, glued, or directly installed in the insulation material.
For mechanically fastening, a steel or wood roof could be ideal, with the mechanically fastening recommend for use on all slope types with no limitations. This is the most recommended in areas that are hurricane-prone.
Other benefits of single ply roofing are:
- More than fifty years of proven performance
- Customer choice when choosing the method for applying the material
- Fire retardant is Class-A
- Come in black for heat retention or white for UV reflection
- Installation is easy and fast
As far as the cons of single ply roofing, there is not a hard-top layer for protection of the synthetic rubber from dropped tools or gravel. Without that protection, even loose screws could be pressed into the rubber membrane, creating holes that would damage the insulation and rubber, making the roof vulnerable to leaking.
Other issues that create cons for consideration of single ply roofing are the vulnerable of the seams leaking. EPDM covering may shrink and TPO covering becomes brittle and cracks. The sun’s UV rays will reduce adhesives strength.
How do you install single ply roofing?
When it comes to installing single ply roofing, how to do it is best left to the experienced roofing contractors. They have the manufacturer’s installation instructions for any type of roofing that they may be faced with. However, if you feel that you and your team can install single ply roofing, here are basic steps:
Prepare the existing substrate by cleaning it off or removing the existing roof. Once you have completed this, place a cover board on top. The membrane will be adhered to by either ballasted, mechanically fastened, or chemically adhered to.
Both EPDM and TPO membranes will come in sheets in widths of 10-feet, 12-feet, or 20-feet that are rolled up. As you’re applying these sheets of membrane, you can simply roll them out, allowing the sides to overlap each other.
How do you fix a single ply roof?
With single ply roofing, it is important to remember that the smallest gaps will allow water in and that will create a wider problem than the gap leading to water damage. Here is a brief step-by-step on patching a flat single ply roof. You’ll need a hot-air hand tool with an overlapping nozzle, a pressure roller, and a metal prod.
- Make Your Patch: Using roofing membrane material, cut a patch out using a razor blade and place over the problem area with an overlap of 3 to 4 inches on all sides.
- Clean: Next, clean the patch and the surface material, making sure they are free of any contaminants like debris, dust, or oil.
- Weld: Using the overlapping nozzle on the hot-air tool, weld the patch to the surface.
- Test: Once you have completed these steps, it is time to test the patch after a 10 to 15-minute cooling period. Using the metal prod and go along the edge to ensure you don’t have any gaps.
Single ply flat roof build-up is popular for many reasons, as we have discussed here. While there are some concerns and cons about the reliability of a flat roof system with a single ply roofing surface, overall, it is the best roofing available. Contact a local roofing expert for more information on the options available to you and pricing. Call (570) 266-8208 today for your single ply roofing needs in Wilkes-Barre, Dallas, and Scranton, PA.