Single Ply / TPO / PVC / EPDM
In the roofing industry, there are a variety of products referred to as ‘single ply’ products. While in the 1980’s the term applied to modified bitumen, now it is generally reserved for TPO, PVC and EPDM roof systems. Single ply products are generally large flexible sheets, which can be mechanically attached or fully adhered during roof installation. Sheets are typically offered in white, but can be ordered in virtually any color. 45mil, 60mil and 80mil thicknesses are typical, while thicker sheets can be offered in fleeceback products. Fleeceback membranes have a layer of polyester fleece on the back side that aids in attachment, adds durability, toughness and hail resistance. The laps are sealed with a heat gun, robot or adhesive making a solid sheet. Two of the leading manufacturers of heat guns and robots are usually by Leister or Cadillac. The heat gun is usually limited to patching, detail work and difficult areas where a robot cannot reach. The robot is used because it reduces applicator error. The robot works at a programmed pace and temperature. The following gives a little more information on each type of sheet.
- TPO: The fastest growing product segment in the commercial roofing industry. This product is popular with new construction because of its low price and quick installation. TPO can qualify for Energy Star and LEED credits. This is a great product when cost of installation and future energy costs are a concern.
- PVC: Similar to TPO in appearance and quality, but has a higher reflective rate. PVC can qualify for Energy Star and LEED credits.
- EPDM: To the first time viewer of this product, it can best be described as a tire inner tube. People in the industry commonly call it ‘rubber roofing’. The sheet is usually black, but can be purchased in white. While very popular in Texas at one time, it is becoming less popular in favor of TPO’s.