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TPO Roofing, known as an energy star rated eco-friendly flat roofing option.
EPDM Roofing Systems are an economical install without disturbing day to day business.
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PVC roofing system was introduced in the early 1960s in Europe, it was one of the first single-ply commercial roofing materials. In the year of 1985, PVC roofing systems was one of the first single-ply roofing products that had obtained a standard obligation designation from the American society for testing materials. PVC has continued to become one of most popular thermoplastic roofing membranes in the world. PVC has seen fast, tremendous growth in recent years because of the variety of characteristics that it provides. Some of the characteristics of PVC are that it has a long lifespan, it’s durable in harsh weather conditions as well as extreme temperatures. It’s also energy efficient, heat and solar reflective, chemical and grease resistant and roofing contractors and homeowners love the ease of maintenance. Often referred to as the first cool roofing system, PVC is energy efficient, environmentally sustainable, long lasting, and cost effective.
What is PVC?
PVC or polyvinyl chloride is the world’s third-most produced synthetic plastic polymer. PVC can come in two different forms; rigid and flexible. The rigid form is used in construction for pipes and other profile applications such as windows and doors. It can also be used to make products like bottles, non-food packaging, food-covering sheets, or cards (like bank or membership cards).
The more flexible form of PVC can be made by the addition of plasticizers, the most used being phthalates. This softer, more flexible form, can be used in plumbing, electrical cable insulation, leather imitation, flooring, signage, and many other applications where it replaces rubber.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is known for its durability along with its affordability. Because of the benefits that come with using PVC, it is one of the most frequently used types of plastic in the market today. The PVC material is so versatile that it can be processed into a variety of different products with unique performance characteristics, with one of these products being a modular roofing system. Due to PVC’s durability, it is a great roofing material to use because it can withstand even the harshest of conditions and climates and still provide the protection for your roof that you desire.
PVC Flat Roofing System
A PVC roofing system, also known as vinyl roofing, is a single-ply roofing solution used on commercial and industrial flat or low sloped roofs. PVC is the third-most produced synthetic plastic polymer today. PVC, known for its extraordinary flexibility, is very beneficial because it can be prefabricated to fit any specifications for a commercial or industrial project. This means less waste and faster installation, which helps you save money on your flat roof cost.
PVC, like most flat roofing materials, comes in a membrane form. This membrane is rolled out onto the roof and installed to the roof deck with either adhesives or nails. The addition of plastics to the roof membrane helps make the roof impervious to punctures and rips that tend to plague other types of flat roofing systems. A PVC roof is usually heat welded at the seams, which is beneficial because the seams are the weakest part of a flat roof and the most susceptible to water intrusions. Having the seams heat welded shut ensures that the seams are sealed and watertight. PVC membranes are also chemical resistant and fairly low maintenance, therefore, making the membrane an ideal choice for commercial buildings.
The biggest drawback to using PVC roofing on a flat roof is the fact that it cannot interact with asphalt materials in any way. Some flat roofing materials are made up of a combination of materials, or may have hot asphalt applied on top of the membrane. This cannot be done with PVC roofing, and if asphalt roofing is used in conjunction with PVC, the two areas must be kept separate from one another. PVC roofing comes in a wide variety of different thicknesses. Unlike some other types of flat roofing, thicker is better in this case and often makes the roof more resistant to cracking or splitting.
PVC Conservatory Roofing System
PVC conservatory roofs are relatively new. Conservatory roofs were originally made up of at least 74 percent glass, but recent laws have changed, allowing these conservatory roofs to be covered with a wide variety of different materials. Because of the structure of the conservatory roof, however at least 50 percent glass the roof needs to be fairly lightweight in order to be supported without affecting the structure.
PVC roof panels and membranes are extremely lightweight, which makes it the ideal conservatory roofs. With PVC conservatory roofing, it’s quite difficult finding a roofing contractor who knows how to work with this particular membrane. Most types of PVC roofing used on conservatories are installed in panels that resemble standing-seam roofs. The panels interlock with one another or use fasteners to hold them together. Like most lightweight panel roofs, they need to be attached and ballasted carefully to ensure that they are as durable as possible and do not leak. Installation is everything to this type of panel, so finding the right roofing contractor that works with it is the key to a successful and long lasting conservatory roof.
Environmental Benefits of PVC Roofing
PVC roofing membranes remain a popular single-ply roofing choice, and a greater part of this popularity can be attributed to the roofing material’s clear environmental benefits. Many PVC roofing membranes are recognized by the Energy Star Roof Products Program and the U.S. DOE for their energy saving performance. All Energy Star-qualifying PVC roofing systems have an initial solar reflectivity of at least 0.65. This means that 65 percent of the solar heat is reflected, and only 35 percent is absorbed. Some manufacturers offer PVC roofs that reflect over 80 percent solar heat. After many years, PVC roofing membranes have been tested to maintain a minimum solar reflectivity of 0.50 or greater. By comparison asphalt built-up roofs only reflect between 6-26 percent of solar heat.
As a result of high solar reflectivity, the eco-friendly PVC roofing membranes help significantly reduce energy consumption and costs; building owners can save up to 40 percent in annual electricity costs. Moreover, PVC membranes improve the performance of underlying roof insulation by as much as 25-50 percent, which results in further reductions of energy waste, as well as heating and cooling costs. Because PVC roofing is lightweight, they help reduce the use of steel and wood, which would be necessary when supporting heavier roofing systems. A PVC roofing membrane extends the useful life of a roof by as much as 75 percent and lasts around 20-30 years, as well as reducing the amount of energy, materials and labor used in production of new roofing systems. Since PVC roofs are UV-protected and moisture resistant, they require no maintenance for decades, which also contributes to conserving the resources and materials that would have otherwise been used to repair the roof.
PVC roofing membranes can help save valuable landfill space. PVC roofs can be installed on top of other roofing systems, such as asphalt-based roofs, as long as there is a layer separating the two materials. This means that there is no need to tear down the old roof and send it to the landfill. This also helps save on landfill fees, as well as the extra time and labor associated with the tear down process. The light colored PVC vinyl roofing membrane has a positive impact on air quality, because of their ability to optimize its solar-reflective property. Research conducted by NASA found that summertime urban air temperatures can be significantly reduced by using light roof surfaces such as PVC membranes, as opposed to dark colored roofing materials. Decreasing air temperatures in a city can substantially improve air quality, since smog is caused by photochemical reactions triggered by air temperature increases. By installing PVC roofing membranes on multiple buildings in an urban area, it is possible to diffuse heat and thereby reduce some of the smog formation.
EPDM is an industrial roofing material that is made out of synthetic rubber. This material is mainly used in flat or low sloping industrial roofs. EPDM comes in premade sheets or in rolls. EPDM creates rubber layers on an industrial roof by using overlapping single-ply sheets that secure bonding cement and ballasts in place. EPDM systems have begun to rise in popularity, as they do not require any heat to install it and are usually very light in weight. It is usually applied in a mechanically attached, fully adhered system or ballasted system. EPDM has one of the longest life expectancies of the flat roofing systems.
EPDM can be recycled, as well as the white or light-colored options that EPDM rubber provides can help reduce temperatures and cooling costs with the UV rays reflecting off of the white material. Some of the materials that are used to install EPDM roofing are developed specifically for the use of roofing and have low volatile organic compound emissions. EPDM industrial roofs have superior resistance to extreme heat and fire as well as a high resistance to ozone, weathering, and abrasion.
PVC can be installed in three different ways. Regardless of what installation procedure is chosen, all PVC roofing systems are sealed with a hot-air welder. This ensures superior seam strength and makes the membrane resistant to leaks and wind blow off. When choosing a time to install your PVC roof, note that the temperature of the heat welding at the seams is critical to getting a strong bond. Therefore, the welder temperature should be adjusted upwards in the winter to account for cooler ambient temperatures.
The hot air welding of all seams and flashing is used on all PVC roof installations. Hot air welding makes material overlaps last longer than those on EPDM rubber roofs and other torch applied or glued flat roof systems. The advantage of hot air welding is that it can be done in the winter and does not require any adhesives to work, where as solvent based glue used in Rubber Roof installation will freeze, making installation or repair impossible.
It’s important that the environmental conditions are considered when dealing with PVC membranes. A roofing contractor should monitor precipitation, temperature, humidity, dew point temperature, wind and sun, all of which can affect the materials and the application of the roof. It’s very important to follow applicable cold weather installation procedures and storage instructions when installing PVC membranes with ambient temperatures below 40 degrees. During extended periods of cold weather, PVC materials should be stored in a heated, protected storage area for optimum performance. Conditions should remain dry, and the ambient temperature should be well above the dew point at all times during roofing application.
Water-based adhesives should not be stored or used when temperatures are below 40 degrees. Before beginning application, unroll the PVC membrane and allow it to relax. At the end of the field sheet where it terminates at the roof’s edges, walls and curbs, the roofing contractor should fasten the membrane with the appropriate fasteners and seam plates. They should secure the membrane to the deck or a vertical surface at the base of the upstand Clean all laps as necessary before welding and hot air weld laps watertight. Repair all open seams and damage found during inspection.
As the commercial roofing industry’s leader in PVC roofing, Duro-Last produces roofing membranes with a history of providing long-term durability and watertight protection. Duro-Last is known for being the only roof manufacturing company to offer prefabrication of an entire roofing system. This is huge in the commercial roofing market because up to 85 percent of the seams of the roofing system are completed before they arrive at the job site. This service saves roofing contractors a ton of time without taking away any of the quality. In fact, Duro-Last is known as one of the most durable PVC flat roofing systems on the market. The scrim that is used for the roofing system is knitted in-house and has a density of either 18 x 14 or 18 x 9 threads per inch. The fabric is made from polyester threads that provide superior tear and puncture resistance, giving the roof its reputation as a durable roofing solution.
While a Duro-Last roof may be slightly more expensive, it is balanced out with the savings in installation costs as well as the high quality and longevity that comes with a Duro-Last roof. PVC is lightweight, and the roofing membranes are recyclable after their life on the rooftop. PVC is a durable and serviceable product, meaning that a Duro-Last roofing system can have a longer lifespan than most other commercial roofing materials.
Some Frequently Asked Questions About PVC Roofing
- PVC roofing systems reflect sunlight and solar energy which saves building owners up to 40 percent in annual electricity cost.
- PVC roofing systems improve the performance of the underlying roof insulation by 25 to 50 percent.
- PVC roofs extend the useful life of the roof by as much as 75 percent
- Enable rooftop cooling equipment to run more efficiently
- Contribute to better indoor air quality and comfort
- Collectively help mitigate the effects of urban heat islands and the air pollution they cause.
The reason that PVC roofing membranes are sustainable is because of its energy efficiency. The mitigation of the heat released back into the atmosphere helps prevent the urban heat islands that cause elevated levels of air pollution. There is waste reduction at each stage of its life cycle: production, shipment, installation, post consumer disposal. Only 43 percent of PVC membrane composition is derived from nonrenewable fossil fuel feedstocks, in comparison to other single-ply and built-up systems that contain a much higher percentage. PVC also requires less energy to manufacture than competitive products.
PVC cleaners are typically used to remove grease, dirt and oil to prep the surface while PVC primer is used to create a strong, water-tight seal for any gaps or extrusions on the roof. Many products that you will see now combine the primer and cleaner into one product, allowing for the surface to clean as the primer is applied. However, it is suggested you use both a cleaner and primer for optimal performance.
PVC has similar reflectivity qualities to TPO and was the original weldable sheet. But there were questions about the plasticizers; what happens as they migrate out of the sheet? TPO was seen as being inherently flexible; over the years, it’s proven itself and has steadily improved in terms of weathering resistance. Manufacturers have been investing heavily in TPO but, surprisingly to some, PVC remains a variable alternative.
The chlorine used to make vinyl is derived from salt in both sea water and land based materials. Once chlorine is processed into vinyl, it is chemically locked into the product more tightly than it is in salt. Chlorine gas is never produced when PVC burns. When vinyl is recycled, put in a landfill, or disposed of in a modern incinerator, no chlorine gas is released into the atmosphere. PVC roofing products are made from a very stable chlorine compound, and no chlorine is ever emitted from the finished product.
Every organic substance that burns during accidental fires is a source of toxic gases. In fact, the mix of gases produced from PVC combustion carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen chloride and water is very similar to those of all other organic materials. More importantly, vinyl’s inherent flame resistance properties actually play a beneficial role in mitigating the spread and strength of accidental building fires. Most rigid and flexible PVC products will not burn alone without the application of heat from another source. Studies in the US have shown that dioxin is present in all large scale accidental fires, whether vinyl is present or not. PVC roofing membranes are a very small component of the mass of any building, and the smoke produced in a roof fire typically is external to the building.