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PVC Roofing

The Complete Guide

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PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) roofing systems have been widely embraced by commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings for six decades. Their popularity stems from their longevity, ability to withstand severe weather, and cost-effective installation and repair.

Here are some considerations about PVC membrane roofing systems:

1. Longevity:

PVC roofs are known for their durability and long lifespan. Properly installed and maintained PVC roofing systems can last for several decades.

2. Weather Resistance:

PVC roofing membranes are resistant to various weather conditions, including UV radiation, heat, and severe storms. They can provide excellent protection against the elements.

3. Installation Cost-Effectiveness:

PVC roofs are often considered cost-effective in terms of installation. Their lightweight nature and flexibility make them easier and quicker to install, potentially reducing labor costs.

4. Repairability:

PVC roofs are relatively easy to repair. In the event of damage, individual sections or membranes can often be replaced without affecting the entire roof.

5. Energy Efficiency:

Some PVC roofing systems come with reflective properties, helping to reduce heat absorption and potentially contributing to energy efficiency in the building.

6. Chemical Resistance:

PVC is known for its resistance to chemicals, which can be beneficial in industrial settings where exposure to certain substances is common.

7. Seam Strength:

PVC roofs are typically heat-welded at the seams, creating strong and watertight bonds. This can enhance the overall integrity of the roofing system.

8. Recyclability:

PVC roofing materials can be recycled, contributing to sustainability efforts.

Before opting for a PVC roof installation, it’s crucial to assess your specific roofing needs, the local climate, and the expertise of the roofing contractor. A professional assessment can help determine if PVC is the right choice for your building.

PVC Roofing Details

What is PVC Membrane Roofing?

A PVC roof utilizes a single-ply PVC roof membrane composed of two layers of specially-formulated vinyl bonded to a polyester reinforcement scrim layer. The PVC membrane is typically white or light-colored to deflect intense UV rays and enhance energy efficiency.

While PVC is commonly associated with rigid plastic pipes in plumbing, in roofing, it refers to “polyvinyl chloride.” This synthetic polymer can be produced as a flexible construction material used to cover low-slope or flat roofs, providing durability for up to 30 years.

The installation of a PVC roof involves several key steps:

  1. Insulation Layer: The process starts by placing an insulation board over the roof deck, often using ISO or EPS foam boards with an R-value between R4 and R6 per inch of insulation thickness. This layer helps minimize energy losses and reduces utility costs.

  2. Installation Methods:

    • Fully Adhered PVC Roofing: The PVC membrane is glued directly to the substrate using a commercial adhesive. This method is suitable for structures where fasteners may be challenging or where minimizing penetrations into the roof deck is desired.
    • Mechanically Attached PVC Roofing: Heavy-duty screws and plates secure the PVC membrane, making it a preferred choice in areas prone to severe weather events.
    • Induction Welded PVC Roofing: This process involves heating the PVC membrane above metal plate locations, creating a cohesive barrier with fewer fasteners and less labor intensity.
  3. Seam Welding: In all installation methods, the seams of PVC membrane roofing sheets are welded together to form a strong and cohesive barrier against the elements.

It’s crucial to note that PVC membrane roofing materials are relatively thin compared to other systems, with thickness options ranging from 40 mil to 90 mil. PVC roofs often use white materials to reflect the sun’s rays, but alternative colors are available, including gray, tan, brown, red, and green. Some niche materials can emulate the appearance of roof shingles, and certified products are available with fire-resistant properties. Before choosing a PVC roof, careful consideration of local climate, building requirements, and the expertise of the roofing contractor is recommended.

Types of PVC Roofing Membranes

PVC roofing systems have gained popularity in low-slope and flat roof installations since the 1960s. The ascent of PVC roofs can be attributed to their cost-effective installation, minimized weight on structural elements, and resilience to inclement weather. 

Standard PVC Roof Membrane

A typical PVC roofing membrane is a single-ply product crafted to provide prolonged heat reflection and protection against water damage. Leading PVC membrane roof materials in the industry often hold an Energy Star rating. Generally consisting of two layers of membrane with a polyester reinforcement in the middle, a standard PVC roofing system incorporates additives to enhance flexibility and can be installed using fasteners or adhesives.

PVC KEE Roof Membrane

In the manufacturing of PVC roof membrane materials, the rigid elements undergo modification to enhance flexibility. The liquid plasticizers utilized for this purpose may evaporate over time, leading to the introduction of Ketone Ethylene Ester (KEE). KEE PVC membrane roofing products incorporate a concentrated polymer additive that surpasses many liquid plasticizers. Essentially, a PVC KEE membrane retains its elasticity for an extended period, contributing to the longevity of a roof. This class of PVC membrane roofing products can also be utilized alongside asphalt and efficiently reflects the sun’s rays over time.

Fleece Backed PVC Roof Membrane

Enhancing the support of a low-slope or flat roof, high-quality fleece elements are secured to the bottom of a PVC membrane roofing product. Fleece-inclusive materials simplify the installation process, allowing them to be rolled out directly on the roof, thereby reducing labor costs. This approach results in an efficient and protective PVC roofing layer. Whether secured by adhesives or fasteners, a PVC roof installation utilizing fleece-backed products provides flexibility. In areas susceptible to high winds, adhesive PVC roofing installations are often preferred due to their resistance to severe weather storms. Property owners and managers should be aware that both standard and KEE products can be chosen with a fleece backing, with decisions guided by architectural design, structural integrity, and prevailing weather conditions. Consulting with a PVC roofing expert can provide valuable guidance and address any inquiries.

Components of a PVC Roofing System

A PVC roof encompasses more than just a basic membrane. Each PVC roofing installation involves layers of materials, each serving a specific purpose. Some of these include:

A PVC roof involves more than a simple membrane. Each PVC roofing installation requires layers of materials designed to serve a specific purpose. Some of these include:

Roof Deck:

The roof deck is the layer of hard material secured to structural supports. It provides a foundation for other PVC roofing elements.

Insulation:

Each PVC roof employs a layer of insulation that typically rests on the roof deck. The thickness and type are driven by regional weather patterns and energy efficiency.

Fasteners and Plates:

The use of fasteners and plates provides a secure connection between the membrane sheets and roof deck.

Bonding Adhesives:

Adhesives may be the best way to install a PVC roof, based on weather conditions, and other factors. Adhesives sometimes prove a suitable choice in places that frequently experience windstorms.

It’s also essential to note that flashing and sealants are used where a ventilation pipe, HVAC unit, or parapet extends through the roof.

A high-quality PVC roof installation calls for experienced technicians to properly seal and flash around a parapet to prevent moisture penetrations and water damage.

The Benefits of an EPDM Roofing System

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer is suitable for nearly any roof type and stands out as one of the most cost-effective options, ensuring decades of use. In addition to outperforming competitors, an EPDM roof installation offers several advantages:

Fast and Easy Installation:

EPDM rolls, being large and lightweight, cover more area quickly, facilitating swift installation. This efficiency translates to a more cost-effective solution for customers.

Cost-Effective Roof Repair:

While structural failures are rare, EPDM's design makes repairs comparatively simple. Punctures and leaks often require only a few tools, seam tape, or seam overlays for effective and cost-efficient repairs.

Highly Resilient and Durable:

EPDM rubber roofing, especially thicker options like 90 Mil or 60 Mil membranes with ballasted layers and external fleece reinforcement, provides exceptional resistance against hazards such as hail, snow, heavy wind, and falling trees. Thicker systems can prevent damage related to environmental elements up to 300 times better than thinner or lower-quality alternatives.

Optimal Energy-Efficiency:

EPDM flat roof systems contribute to energy efficiency, whether in cold or warm climates. White EPDM roofing is beneficial in warmer regions, reflecting sunlight and lowering cooling costs, while those in colder climates might opt for black membranes to absorb heat and reduce heating expenses. Additionally, these materials boast a superior ozone-resistant rating, with a grade of 'A' in temperatures up to 100º F.

Long-Term Lifespan:

The lifespan of rubber roofing depends on quality installation, climate, and membrane thickness. In moderate climates with a low risk of penetrations, roofing experts may recommend 45 Mil EPDM rubber roofing membranes, typically lasting 12-15 years. Opting for a 90 Mil option can extend the lifespan to 25 years or more when installed with care.

EPDM vs TPO Roofing

TPO, short for thermoplastic polyolefin, is a roofing membrane composed of ethylene-propene and polypropylene. It is gaining popularity as a single-ply roofing option, similar to EPDM. Both TPO and EPDM are environmentally friendly, utilizing rubber and synthetics that adhere to insulation or are ballasted to create a durable protective roofing layer.

TPO membranes come in various thicknesses, impacting their longevity similarly to EPDM. This raises a common question: How long does TPO single-ply roofing last, and how does it compare to EPDM?

Reportedly, TPO single-ply membrane roofing systems have a lifespan of 20+ years, whereas EPDM can last 50 years or more. The newer TPO systems haven’t been around long enough to precisely determine their long-term durability and waterproofing capabilities.

Despite this, EPDM roofs have demonstrated proven long-term results. Key differences between these single-ply membrane roofing systems include:

1. Seam Construction:

  • TPO roofing seams are heat-fused using hot air.
  • EPDM roofing utilizes seam tape for construction.

2. Reflectivity:

  • TPO often reflects sunlight, while standard black EPDM retains heat.

3. Color Options:

  • EPDM is traditionally available in black or white.
  • TPO options include gray, tan, and other colors.

4. Attachment Method:

  • EPDM roofs are mechanically fastened.
  • TPO systems are chemically adhered.

5. Warranty Period:

  • TPO warranties typically range between 10-20 years.
  • EPDM is warrantied for 25-30 years on average by manufacturers.

PVC Roof Manufacturers

S&S Roofing installs only the best PVC roofing systems from the nation’s top manufacturers. While we work regularly with the manufacturers below, we also provide PVC roofing systems from several other PVC manufacturers.

If you need a specific type of PVC roofing product, just ask. Other PVC manufacturers include: Owens Corning, GAF, TAMKO, IKO, Certainteed, Firestone, Malarkey, Johns Manville, Atlas, Mule-Hide, Versico, Soprema, Polyglass & others.

PVC Roof Warranties

Guaranteed by the Manutacturer

As a Certified Roofing Contractor for multiple manufacturers, S&S Roofing offers warranties up to 30 years on PVC roofing systems.

The Benefits of an EPDM Roofing System

The PVC roof remains a popular choice for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings with a low-slope or flat roof. That’s because a PVC roof provides property owners and stakeholders with lasting benefits, such as the following.

Cost-Effective Installation:

A PVC roofing system ranks among the least labor-intensive options. Reducing the number of work hours needed for a meticulous PVC roof installation lowers costs for property owners.

PVC Roof Repair is Simple:

A flat roof allows PVC repair technicians easy access to areas impacted by hailstone strikes, falling debris, or extreme weather events. Accessible areas and easy-to-apply repair materials minimize costs and maximize emergency roof repair response.

Durable and Weather Resistant:

The true test of any roofing system lies in its ability to withstand temperature swings and severe weather. A PVC low-slope or flat roof provides natural resistance to high winds. When properly secured by an experienced roofing contractor, the surface area deflects high winds. Even if hail the size of baseballs makes an impact, PVC roof repairs can be quickly executed to prevent water seepage.

Maximize Energy Efficiency:

PVC membrane roofing materials serve energy-related purposes. White and light-colored surface areas reflect harsh UV rays, minimizing the need for air conditioning. The insulation layer traps heating and cooling energy inside the facility.

PVC Roof Lasts Decades:

For a PVC roof installation to achieve its maximal life expectancy, three things are necessary. An experienced and certified roofing contractor is required to ensure the installation is conducted with precision. Loose fasteners or inadequate flashing can result in unnecessary damage. The climate where the building is situated also matters. Areas prone to hurricanes and hailstorms may require ongoing repairs. Lastly, the type of installation and PVC membrane roofing materials must correctly meet climate and other expectations. When everything is in place, a properly maintained PVC roof can last 30 years or longer.

How to Select a PVC Roofing Contractor

PVC roofing requires the expertise of a seasoned commercial roofing contractor. Specializing in PVC roofing installations, this field demands meticulous craftsmanship and strict adherence to manufacturer standards for complex roof systems.

If your roof has endured hail or wind damage, you’ll need a contractor who can guide you through every stage of the process. One capable of performing emergency roof repairs as necessary and completing total installations.

Ranked Top 100 Roofing Contractor, look for a PVC roofing contractor with the following qualifications:

  • Licensed, bonded, and insured in your state
  • Trained and certified by the manufacturer to offer the best quality and warranty options
  • Experience installing your type of flat roof on multiple projects
  • Expertise in managing staged roofing projects that may require parallel tear-off and installation
  • Proven experience working with insurance companies on damage claims

An experienced roofing contractor can help you prevent leaks and major issues while providing a roofing system that lasts for decades.

In addition to PVC roofing, S&S Roofing Pros offers various roofing systems, shrink wrap roofing, roof tarping, loose lay membrane roofing, emergency roofing and repair, water removal, water damage restoration, mold remediation, catastrophic damage inspections, property damage documentation, testing and damage reports, fencing and perimeter security, disaster recovery services, permanent roof replacement, interior restoration services, and general contractor services.

With roofing and restoration locations nationwide, we are dedicated to serving you better.

PVC Roofing Projects

The showcased photos and videos below capture different stages of PVC Roofing, all skillfully executed by S&S Roofing.

What are our customers saying about us

Our reroofing experience with S&S Roofing could not have been any better. Office staff was great with the scheduling, adjusted as I needed. They called the week before to confirm and everything was on time. They did a super job. A crew of 10 roofers arrived at 06:45, and were gone at 2:30pm. Looks like a new house. They cleaned up nicely. I would HIGHLY recommend the S&S Roofing Team.
Joe Worsley
S&S Roofing and Construction is awesome! Not only did the entire crew do an amazing job putting our roof on, but I got to meet Wesley The project manager, and Michael the owner. They not only did a fantastic job, they are two wonderful guys that obviously care about people. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, and I will be referring everyone I know to them. Thank you S&S for an incredible experience
Garrett ross