PVC Roofing Pros and Cons for Flat Roofs in 2017

In the single-ply roofing market, PVC roofing membranes offer an impressive set of advantages, unmatched by competitors. Among the most notable benefits are strength, durability, resistance to moisture, wind, fire and chemicals. Additionally, PVC roofs are consistently chosen by homeowners looking to install an Eco-friendly (green) system over their flat or low slope roof.

PVC membrane installed on a flat roof

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PVC roofs are specifically engineered for strength, ensuring the membrane’s long service life. The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) requires a roofing membrane to have a minimum breaking strength of 200 pounds per inch. PVC roofing membranes far surpass this standard, all having a minimum breaking strength of 350 pounds per inch.


The feature that makes PVC roofing membranes exceptionally durable is heat – welded seams. They form a permanent, watertight bond that is actually stronger than the membrane itself. This gives PVC roofs an edge over other roofing systems, which rely on adhesives, tapes, and caulks to seal the seams, and as a result are inherently a lot less durable than PVC.


Exceptional durability and strength lend themselves to a long service life. A properly installed, high quality PVC roofing membrane can last in excess of 20 years, and will not require much maintenance during its service life. This means that once you invest in a PVC roofing membrane, you will be saving thousands of dollars on costly maintenance and repairs for years to come.


With a PVC roof, commercial buildings, such as manufacturing facilities, will not face roofing problems that result from exposure to chemicals, as PVC is highly resistant to chemical damage. Moreover, animal fat from grease vents on restaurants may cause damage to asphalt -based roofs and other single-ply roofing membranes, but will not have a negative impact on a PVC membrane.


PVC roofing membranes have a solid fire-resistance rating. These roofs are difficult to ignite, burn slowly, do not support combustion, and self extinguish when the source of flame is removed. PVC roofing membranes have passed FM and UL fire testing, and have an unlimited slope approval.


Because of their inherent strength as well as heat – welded seams, PVC roofs have superior wind uplift resistance. Many in-service membranes have survived Category 3 hurricanes. A PVC roof is the best choice for low and especially high – rise buildings located in regions prone to strong winds.


PVC membranes are manufactured to remain watertight in extreme conditions. The membrane stands up to constant dampness, ponding water, as well as high and low alkaline conditions. Also, exposure to plant roots, fungi and bacteria have no negative impact on a PVC roofing membrane.


There are many environmental benefits associated with PVC roofing membranes. Notably, the membrane’s high solar reflectivity reduces energy waste, lowers monthly heating and cooling costs, and helps mitigate the heat island effect in urban areas. Moreover, vinyl is one of the few building materials that can be fully recycled into new roofing products, even after decades of service life.


Expect to pay in the range of $6.00 to 8.00 per sq. ft. for a mechanically attached residential PVC .50 mil membrane installed over a flat or low-slope roof on a single story house. If the removal of the old roof is required, then your total cost installed could be higher.

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  1. Yeah, I been putting on built up roofs for 30 years, and I’m getting into PVC. I just got my first PVC job and I was wondering whether or not the contractor has to be certified to put on a pvc membrane roof. I would appreciate it if some one could get back to me soon as possible thank you

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