PVC roofing has many advantages over other single-ply roofing membranes like TPO and EPDM. It’s one of the most durable membranes available. One thing that makes it durable is the heat-welded seams. These seams create a highly watertight bond and make the roof very wind resistant. These roofs are also exceptionally fire- and chemical-resistant, which makes them very appealing for industrial applications where there are high chemical concentrations. Of course, as a cool roofing system, they are very energy efficient, and you’ll save money on your utility expenses. Your building will be kept much cooler.
A variety of characteristics makes PVC roofing appealing: strength, durability, and resistance to fire, chemicals, wind, and moisture. Longevity also ranks highly with building managers. These roofs are known to last 20 years or more and will require very little maintenance over that time. With a PVC roof, you’re not going to spend as much on maintenance or repairs, so you’ll save money in that timespan.
PVC roofing has been around a long time, but because of several similarities it is sometimes confused with its distant cousin TPO, even though TPO has been on the market less time. Both roofing systems are single-ply polymers, and both are durable cool roofing systems. But they also have some significant differences.
If you need to perform maintenance on your PVC roofing or have to get to rooftop HVAC or similar structures, the PVC roof is generally safe to walk on. You have to be careful when walking on it, however, as the material can be slick. Also, it can be punctured or damaged if you happen to drop tools like hammers on it. You also don’t want to walk over the material frequently as this can create added wear, but this is often true with most roofing systems. With older PVC roofs, you’ll want to take care and not walk on them in temperatures of 50 degrees or below, as the material can become brittle.
PVC roofing can be painted. It’s recommended that you not paint it a darker color as this will affect its ability to keep the building cooler. Darker colors can absorb heat and even make the PVC buckle. When painting PVC, you’ll want to use high-quality latex paint rather than oil-based paint. The roof will also need to be cleaned very well before it is painted so the paint will adhere to the roof.
Older PVC materials can become brittle in cold weather. In temperatures of 50 degrees or lower, it’s recommended to refrain from making repairs in cold weather. You’ll also want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing new PVC roofing once temperatures drop below 45 degrees. Elements such as wind, rain, snow, or sleet should also be avoided when installing PVC or similar roofing. When working in the winter, you need to take care to observe these conditions to avoid problems like the following:
While most PVC roofing installations are for commercial buildings, PVC can be used for residential applications as well. Many homes have flat roofs for either all or part of the roofing system, and this is where PVC can come in handy. You’ll get the same durability and reliability from a residential installation as you would a commercial one. With a PVC roof, you’ll be especially protected from leaks, a particular bane of those with flat roofs. The way the PVC seams are welded make the roof watertight. These roofs also have fewer problems with ponding, in which water collects and pools on flat roofs.