Roofing Southwest Blog > Single-Ply Roofing Advantages

Single-Ply Roofing Advantages

July 31, 2017

For commercial and industrial buildings, single-ply roofing is often the product of choice, in part due to the many advantages.



Single-ply roofing eliminates danger of fire and smoke pollution and is better for use on occupied buildings. This type of roofing also holds up well under exposure to concentrations of grease and oils.


Installation and Versatile Applications

Single-ply is generally less costly since it is simple to install and requires fewer man hours. It is lightweight and can easily be configured to fit unconventional roof designs.


Weather and Climate

Depending on your choice of single-ply, the roofing material can be impact resistant to hail and flying debris, and is resist to UV radiation and ozone. Certain coatings and coloration can create a surface that reflects heat back into the atmosphere, thus lowering the utility costs.


Lifespan and Maintenance

Single-ply requires minimal maintenance, and while every product is different when it comes to lifespan, it generally lasts around 20 years.



Currently, there is a raging debate in the industry on the proper thickness of single-ply roofing. Naturally, each manufacturer has its own preference and reasons. If you are in the market for a new single-ply roofing system, choose a product first, then consult your professional roofer to help you select the thickness (40-, 45-, 50-, 60-, 65-, 80-, or 90-mil membrane). Your product choice may be more critical than the thickness of the membrane.


Single ply roof systems are composed of three to four basic components:

  • Insulation – an insulating layer to keep the temperatures in the building comfortable.
  • Single Ply Membrane – this is usually a rubber or plastic element with an acrylic reflective coating.
  • Flashings – all the edges are covered with flashing to protect them from water seepage.
  • Adhesive – a very strong adhesive is used to meld the layers together.


There are generally three categories of this type of roofing:

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin)

TPO roofing systems offer a fire-resistant membrane with polyester reinforcement to strengthen the bond. The membrane is also resistant to chemical, grease, and punctures, making it a good alternative for rooftop areas with high traffic. 


PVC (poly-vinyl chloride)

PVC formulation allows for added long-term flexibility of the membrane making it extremely durable and impact resistant. PVC is pliable with excellent weathering characteristics and resistance to harsh chemicals and industrial pollutants.


EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber)

EPDM has the appearance and feel of an inner tube, and it rebounds when stretched. It is a highly durable roofing material and can last in excess of 40 years. It is also excellent in climates where hail is a frequent occurrence, since debris simply bounces off.


Roofing material manufacturers are constantly developing new single-ply roofing products with a variety of options, features and innovations.  We recommend consulting a professional roofing company for assistance in selecting the best solution for your particular property.   


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