Leaks in your commercial roof aren’t just unsightly. They’re downright dangerous! Besides creating a safety hazard with wet floors inside your building, a roof leak can also cause mold to grow, attract insects, and generate higher utility bills. If your commercial roof is leaking, or you’re building a new commercial building, you need to find a long-lasting roofing solution that provides leak protection and is affordable.

With single-ply roofing from Silver Creek Commercial Roofing, you can get an energy-efficient roofing material that has a long lifespan and can be a cost-effective alternative to total roof replacement. Though, you should know a few different types, benefits, and disadvantages when choosing single-ply membranes for your commercial roof.

What is Single-Ply Roofing?

Single-ply roofing consists of one sheet of roofing material—instead of the multiple layers required of built-up roofing (BUR) or modified bitumen roofing. It typically come in rolls, and professional installers roll it out to apply them to the roof’s surface. Single-ply roofing is easy to install, but the job should be left to the experts, like us here at SCC Roofing, as improper installation can lead to leaks and cracks.

Single-ply roofs can be used as original roofing material or as a restoration solution.

Thermoplastic and Thermoset Roofs

There are two types of single-ply roofs: thermoplastic and thermoset roofs. Thermoplastic roofs include thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) materials and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) materials.

Thermoplastic roofs contain reflective properties and are usually white, while thermoset roofs—like ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing membranes—provide leak resistance when covered with the right membrane coating.

TPO Membranes

TPO roofing systems are lightweight, reflective, and affordable. Installation starts with professional roofers removing loose debris and applying board stock to create a smooth roofing substrate. We carefully position the TPO membranes in overlapping layers, then weld the seams using a hot-air welding method to make the seams more leak resistant. Finally, we seal every nook and cranny with weatherproofing sealant.

Rolls of PVC roofing material wait on a roof for installation.PVC Roofing System

A PVC roof offers as many benefits as TPO materials and is the second type of thermoplastic membrane. It’s typically white or a light color, which allows it to reflect the sun, so your building doesn’t absorb the heat. It’s also a fire-resistant material.

PVC is often used for restaurant roofs and other structures that emit fat and oil through rooftop exhaust systems, as PVC is resistant to this damage.

EPDM Rubber Roofing

Known for its age-related weakness, unattractive qualities, and seam failure, EPDM roof systems aren’t ideal for your commercial building. This material is also prone to damage from extreme temperatures and natural disasters. However, hiring a professional roofing contractor, like SCC Roofing, to apply a rubber roof membrane to your EPDM roof can restore your roof to a leak-free condition.

Schedule a free on-site roof inspection to learn more.

Benefits of Single-Ply Membranes

TPO and PVC roofing systems offer many advantages that building owners love. Both are more affordable than BUR or asphalt roofing because they require fewer materials and take less time to install. They are also lightweight on your roof, provide energy efficiency, and are non-flammable. Single-ply roofs are also leak-resistant and can be retrofitted to metal roofs.

Here at SCC Roofing, we exclusively use Conklin products, and for single-ply roofing systems, their Flexion® Roll. This product has a unique formulation that provides superior strength, durability, and flexibility, so you can relax knowing your roof is well-protected.

Types of Fasteners Used

There are typically three ways to fasten PVC and TPO roofing membranes to your existing commercial roof: fully adhered, ballasted, and mechanically-attached:

  • Fully Adhered Fasteners – The thermoplastic membrane is bonded or glued to the roof substrate and held in place with fasteners. Weather conditions like temperature and humidity can affect installation.
  • Ballast Fastened – Ballasted systems use stone or paver material to hold the membrane onto the roof. It’s not anchored or adhered. These thick stones hold down the roofing materials and are highly fire-resistant.
  • Mechanically Fastened – Screws and oversized washers, called plates, mechanically fasten the roofing material to the roof. As the membranes are laid down, screws are drilled through it and into the roof substrate. The next sheet overlaps the seams to create a water-tight seal.

Single-ply Disadvantages

Single-ply roofing systems have a few disadvantages. First, they need to be installed by professionals. These roofing types aren’t suitable for DIY-business owners because improper installation can lead to cracks and leaks.

If your roof experiences heavy foot traffic or frequently has large tree branches fall on it during storms, it can damage your single-ply roof more easily. You may want to consider metal roofing in that case.

While single-ply roofs have a long lifespan—of about 30 years—they often run into problems, even with regular roof inspections. It may need to be restored by a professional roofing contractor at that point.

Schedule a Free On-Site Inspection Today for Your Commercial Roof!

While it’s true that single-ply roofing has a few disadvantages, its benefits far outweigh them. And if your commercial building needs a roof replacement, consider a single-ply roof restoration instead. You’ll save time, money, and create a long-lasting roofing surface that keeps out water, bugs, and fire.

Contact Silver Creek Commercial Roofing today for a free on-site inspection of your current roof! Our family owned-business will help you restore your roof to leak-free condition.