Also known as
Upside-down roofs, protected membrane roofs
Cost effective, durable, weatherproof
Varies between materials
Single ply membrane flat roofing
Single ply membrane roofing is a type of roofing system where the waterproofing is provided by a single layer or membrane of polymer based material. Membranes tend to come in rolls and are sealed together using heat, adhesive or are mechanically fixed and/or ballasted to flat or pitched roofs.
This type of flat roofing system is becoming increasingly popular because it’s very cost effective, durable, lightweight and quick to install.”
Types of single ply membrane material
Single ply membrane isn’t one material, it’s really the material and installation design. It can be made from a variety of materials each with their own characteristics. Below are a few of the main types.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
PVC is the most popular single ply membrane material, accounting for 80% of the UKs flat roofs. Seams are sealed by heating the overlapping sheets. The life span varies quite a lot, between 20-40 years, and depends on the quality of the material used. At Northern Roofing Solutions our flat roofs come with a guarantee of 20 years and life expectancy in excess of 30 years.
Advantages: Comes in a range of colours, quick to install
Disadvantages: If refurbishing a bitumen roof it requires an insulating layer, it’s probably the least environmentally friendly due to the use of plasticisers and is only partially recyclable
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)
TPO has a life expectancy of over 35 years, it’s also very strong and more tear resistant that EPDM (also known as rubber roofing). It can be fastened in a variety of ways, by gluing, mechanically fixing of ballasting, making it quite versatile.
Advantages: Can be partially recycled, durable
Disadvantages: Requires very clean installation, requires a solvent to clean before heat welding
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
EPDM is also known as rubber roofing and is the cheapest form of single ply membrane. While still being very durable and long lasting it makes it a popular choice for domestic projects. Guaranteed for 20 years with a life expectancy in excess of 25 years.
Advantages: Cost effective, flexible, easy to repair
Disadvantages: Can be damaged by falling branches or vandalism, limited range of colours available, not recyclable but can be reused if mechanically fitted
Thermoplastic Polyolefin Elastomer (TPE)
This type of single ply membrane was created to improve upon TPO. Seams are heat welded together but a wider range of temperatures can be used making installation simpler. Small holes can also be resealed using the application of heat.
Advantages: Small holes are easily repaired, 100% recyclable
Disadvantages: Relatively expensive
Polyiso Butylene (PIB)
PIB is the longest lasting flat roofing material which can still be going strong after 50 years. It’s also 100% recyclable and has very little impact on the environment from manufacture right through to the end of its useable life.
Advantages: Very environmentally friendly, very long lasting