Types of Single-Ply Roofing — Thermoset EPDM TPO Modified Bitumen Roof Membranes

Types of Single-Ply Roofing - Thermoset EPDM TPO Modified Bitumen Roof Membranes

Single-ply roofing usually refers to pre-fabricated flexible sheets of synthetic materials used to cover, seal, waterproof, and protect flat or low-slope commercial and industrial roofing surfaces. Single-ply roofing membranes are strong, long-lasting and durable roofing materials that provide a variety of attachment methods to cover a wide range of applicable uses.

Singe-ply membrane roofing systems are mechanically attached, fully adhered, or ballasted to the roof. Attachment may require screws, fasteners, glues, chemicals, heat, and or adhesives. Regardless of which methods are used, single-ply roofing is designed to protect and seal the roof from UV damage and roof leaks and can be used on new construction or existing roof substrates including concrete, gravel built-up, metal, modified bitumen and smooth built-up roofs.

Above — TPO Single-Ply Membrane Over and Existing Metal Roof

Types of Single-Ply Roofing Membranes

Single-ply roofing is identified through three top level classifications:

1. Thermoset Single-Ply

Thermoset single-ply membrane materials are constructed using rubber based polymers and is commonly referred to as EPDM or rubber roofing. One option for thermoset single-ply is neoprene, but this is not widely used much anymore. Thermoset membranes have shown above average resistance to the extremely harmful effects of the sun and typical chemicals that most commercial and industrial roofs are exposed to.

2. Thermoplastic Roofing

Thermoplastic PolyOlefin (TPO) single-ply roofing is constructed using plastic as a base. There is also a type known as PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). Thermoplastic roofing is unique in that it includes plasticizers which aid its flexibility. Thermoplastic membrane roofing will have seams where the sheets overlap, but these seams are welded shut by using heat or chemical processes. When properly installed by a professional roofer, the seams can actually be stronger than the membrane itself and will last for many years, if not decades.

3. Modified Bitumen Roof Membranes

Modified bitumen roofing membranes combine the advantages of modern single-ply roofing with some of the traditional installation techniques normally reserved for built-up roofing. Using fabricated sheets of layered asphalt that are modified with a rubber or plastic component to aid flexibility, the materials is then reinforced for stability and strength. The two major types of modified membranes — APP (Atactic Polypropylene) and SBS (Styrene Butadiene Styrene) are then applied using either hot asphalt or a high-temperature torch to seal the membranes to the roof and seams to be water-tight.

Ask a Roofing Pro Which Way You Should Go

Since there are so many variables involved with selecting the right roofing material and system for a particular roofing situation — geographic location, typical climate, average versus extreme temperature, budget, etc. — it is impossible to list which roof would be best for your particular situation, so we recommend a personal one-on-one consultation with a roofing expert in your area. SinglePlyRoofingCalifornia.com is happy to arrange a free consultation and assessment of your roof by a roofing expert in your area. Contact us for more information or to arrange a meeting with an approved single-ply installation expert in your area.


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