Single Ply Roofing Systems

by admin | July 27th, 2015
Single ply roofing systems


Single ply roofing systems are usually constructed out of a factory-manufactured membrane that is rolled out to cover the roofing area. These sheets of roofing can be attached by fasteners to a wood or steel deck. Ideally, single ply membranes should be anchored to a ballast roof by weighty items such as gravel, stones or pavers. Occasionally, a single ply membrane is adhered to the roof by an adhesive.


Most contractors choose single ply roofing systems for a myriad of reasons. These materials are:

  • Strong and Long-lasting
  • Consistent in Quality because of pre-fabrication
  • Able to be Attached in a variety of ways
  • Flexible
  • Manufactured in Three Types


Fasteners are used to secure single ply membranes when the angle of the slope is too steep to allow for ballast methods. Houses located near the shore usually utilize fasteners to deal with high winds. A lack of suitable ballast may also make fasteners an ideal choice.

Ballast Roofs

Before using ballast, there are many factors to consider. How costly would a ballast roof be and is it worth the investment? How tall is the building? Aesthetically, will a ballast roof complement the building structure? What wind exposure does the structure have? How much pedestrian roof traffic is predicted?


Adhesive can be water-based, asphalt or colored solvent. Single ply roofing systems attached by adhesives create a smooth look. Because of its smooth look, the color chosen for the membrane plays a crucial role in creating the aesthetic look of the home.


“SPRI, the Single Ply Roofing Industry, identifies three major categories of single ply membranes: thermosets, thermoplastics, and modified bitumens.

Thermoset membranes are compounded from rubber polymers. The most commonly used polymer is EPDM (often referred to as “rubber roofing”). Another thermoset material is neoprene, although this particular formulation is no longer widely used for roofing. Thermoset membranes are successful for use as roofing materials because of their proven ability to withstand the potentially damaging effects of sunlight and most common chemicals generally found on roofs.

Hypalon is a unique material because it is manufactured as a thermoplastic, but, because it cures over time, it becomes a thermoset. Hypalon materials are heat sealed at the seams.

Thermoplastic membranes are based on plastic polymers. The most common thermoplastic is PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which has been made flexible through the inclusion of certain ingredients called plasticizers. A number of different products in this category are available, each having its own unique formula.

Thermoplastic membranes are identified by seams that are formed using either heat or chemical welding. These seams are as strong or stronger than the membrane itself. Most thermoplastic membranes are manufactured to include a reinforcement layer, usually polyester or fiberglass, which provides increased strength and dimensional stability.

Modified bitumen membranes are interesting hybrids that incorporate the high tech formulation and prefabrication advantages of single-ply with some of the traditional installation techniques used in built-up roofing. These materials are factory-fabricated layers of asphalt, ‘modified’ using a rubber or plastic ingredient for increased flexibility, and combined with a reinforcement for added strength and stability.”

Roofing Insurance

Because you have general liability and workers’ compensation, which is included in your roofing insurance, you guarantee protection to your customer from liability due to faulty workmanship and worker injuries. Your contractors insurance also signals that you hold good professional standards, which is crucial in the proper installation of a single ply or any other type of roof.

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