Everything You Need to Know About Single-Ply Roofing Membranes

Single-ply membranes have many attractive characteristics that make them an ideal choice for commercial properties. They are considered one of the most durable options on the market and are backed by roofing contractors for their superiority. Ultimately, the choice of system is up to the building owner, but there are many advantages of investing in a single-ply membrane for your commercial building.

You Have Flexibility in Installation Materials.


You can categorize single-ply membranes into two groups, thermosets, and thermoplastics. Thermosets membranes derive from compounded polymers and need adhesives. The most commonly used polymer is EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer).

EPDM membranes are long-lasting and perform well under fluctuations in temperature, ultraviolet rays, and ozone. What’s nice about EPDM is the range of thicknesses available from 30-90 mils making it an attractive product to use. Additionally, they come in sheets up to 50ftx100ft to reduce the number of seams on the roof. With the application of acrylic coatings, you can turn EPDM membranes into energy savers.

Another option, but not used as often is Hypalon. It’s unique because it is manufactured as a thermoplastic but doesn’t function as one. Over time, Hypalon cures making it a thermoset instead. They are unweldable and require heat to seal which also differentiates them from thermoplastics.


Unlike thermosets, thermoplastics weld together with heat and return to their original material after cooling. Most thermoplastics are manufactured with polyester or fiberglass to increase durability and stability. The most commonly installed thermoplastic membranes are PVC and TPO.  PVC was the first weldable sheet on the market and is superior when it comes to tear and break resistance. It’s also a good choice for anyone who is environmentally conscious. PVC is naturally flame retardant and doesn’t get weakened by chemicals, oils, or grease. It is also flexible, impact resistant, and has fantastic weathering characteristics compared to TPO.

Single-ply Membranes Are Cost-Effective.

There are a couple of ways single-ply membranes are cost-effective. The first has to do with installation. The process is a lot faster than other methods, which in turn reduces the amount of money you have to spend on setup. Secondly, the PVC and TPO membranes have naturally reflective properties meaning the temperature indoors is better regulated regardless of the season.

Single-ply Membranes Have a Longer Life Expectancy.

Because most membranes have a lot of flexibility, resistant to chemicals and weather, their life expectancy projected to last at least 40 years. Additionally, most materials are not made from organic material meaning they will not decompose over time. Overall, single-ply membranes are a high-performance material.

They are Chemical Resistant.

For many businesses who deal with potential chemical and emission releases, single-ply membranes provide durability. PVC and TPO are widely regarded as some of the best materials on the market for weathering potential hazards such as chemicals, oils, and grease.

Single-ply is Low Maintenance.

Single-ply membranes are resistant to wind and UV, meaning they are more durable to natural wear and tear. PVC being flame retardant and resistant to chemicals makes it a safer choice. With minimal maintenance, single-ply roof repairs can be kept low.

You Have Choices For Fastening Methods.

In addition to the choice of material, you can achieve the best results by using different fastening methods.

Fully Adhered: uses adhesives to secure the substrate to the membrane. This process can be produced temporary noxious odors and is weather/temperature dependent for application.

Ballasted: works by securing the perimeter with the membrane than applying gravel or other weight ballast. It’s arguably one of the cheapest ways to install a roof, but it can be tricky to locate potential leaks. Plus, the building needs to be able to support the weight.

Mechanically Fastened: requires fasteners to secure the roof in place. This process is efficient and allows for installation throughout the year when coupled with a weldable PVC or TPO membrane.

Have questions about single-ply roofing membrane for your commercial property? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! JBK Roofing, Inc, offers quality products, installation, and service at a competitive price.


Recent Posts