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How to Choose Best Single-Ply Roofing System




Before a facility executive begins weighing the question of which single-ply system to use, it is important to ask whether the building is suited for a single-ply membrane. "One size fits all" is as misleading for roofing as it is for clothing. Here are some situations where a single-ply membrane is appropriate when:

  • weight is a consideration
  • some movement may be expected in the building structure
  • recovering an existing membrane
  • the building is wide open and large panels can be used
  • reroofing structural standing seam metal roof assemblies
  • roofing in cold weather (with some precautions)
  • installing a green roof
  • a light-colored system is desired

Times when a facility executive may want to consider other options include:
  • when vandalism or puncture-abuse is a factor
  • when there is a limited number of local approved applicators
  • when there is a chemical incompatibility between the existing roof and the proposed re-cover membrane
  • when climatic or environmental conditions are not appropriate
  • where insurance considerations favor other types of systems
  • where installation is over lightweight insulating concrete decks
  • where local building code officials prohibit use of particular types of membranes

Except for the last item, none of the above are hard and fast rules. They are issues that need to be addressed before choosing a particular type of roof system, regardless of whether it is asphalt-based, thermoplastic or synthetic rubber.

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