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Single-Ply Membranes are sheets of rubber and other synthetics that can be chemically adhered to insulation or ballasted creating a layer of protection on your commercial facility.
There are two main types of single-ply membrane commercial roofing: Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM). They differ in their chemical makeup, how they are installed and the energy efficiency.
Read More: Single-Ply Membrane Roofing: Installation & Performance
Built-Up Roofing Systems have been in use in the U.S. for over 100 years. These roof systems are commonly referred to as “tar and gravel” roofs. Built-up systems are installed by alternating layers of asphalt or tar and supporting fabrics directly onto the roof. You can choose the number of layers (or plies) that are installed. The final layer of a built-up roofing system consists of stone or gravel.
Single-Ply Membrane Roofing
For an average 20,000 sq. foot commercial roof, it will usually cost between $3.50 to $7.50 per square foot for EPDM and $3.50 to $6.50 per square foot for TPO, including materials and labor warranty.
For an average commercial roof, it will usually cost between per $5.50 – $8.50 square foot in materials and labor to install a typical built-up roofing system. This price range can change depending on the materials you choose.
Single-Ply Membrane Roofing
The beginning of the installation process is similar between TPO and EPDM single-ply membrane roofing systems.
After the existing substrate is prepared, either by cleaning or removing the existing roof, the insulation is installed. There are a few types of insulation options the facility manager/owner can choose from Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso), Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)
After the existing substrate is prepared, either by cleaning or removing the existing roof, the insulation layers are installed and covered by a cover board.
There are three ways to attach the membrane to the cover board: ballasted, with an adhesive or mechanically fastened.
The significant difference between TPO and EPDM comes when it is time to adhere the membrane seams together. TPO uses a hot-air gun to melt down the membrane at the seams and fuse them together. EPDM is joined together with a seam tape.
Infographic: Single-Ply Membrane Roofing: TPO vs EPDM
The first layer can be adhered directly to the roof substrate. If needed, a base sheet can be fastened to the roof to create a flat and safe work space. A built-up roofing system is installed by alternating layers of bitumen and reinforced fabric. Property managers can choose three, four or five ply roofs to meet their needs and budgets.
The last layer is rock or stone, this layer protects the underlying layers from UV rays, extreme heat or cold, and wind damage. A layer of gravel can be added to be more aesthetically appealing.
If properly installed and maintained, a commercial single-ply membrane roof can last 30 years. There are quite a few other benefits of single-ply membrane roofing systems:
Proven Track Record – EPDM roofing has been used for commercial flat roofing for over 60 decades. This amount of time on the market has allowed various laboratory and field studies to be performed and tracked.
Customer Choice of Insulation – Since single-ply membrane roofing does not include the insulation factor, as a customer you have more options to choose from to insulate your facility’s roof.
Class A Fire-Rated – TPO membranes and EPDM can achieve Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Class A fire resistance listings by adding fire retardant chemicals during the manufacturing process.
Reflective or Retentive – TPO is generally white and highly reflective. On the other side of the spectrum, EPDM is often described as “Black Roofs,” due to the natural dark color of the membrane.
Read More: Pros and Cons of Single-Ply Membrane Roofing Systems
If properly installed and maintained, a commercial built-up roof can last 40 years. There are a few other benefits of built-up roofing systems:
Seamless and Waterproof – The continuous solid surface does not require joints or seams, removing the most vulnerable area for leaking.
Reflects UV Rays – provides ultra-violet protection.
Low- maintenance – Minimal upkeep needed after installation
Read More: Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Associatio
Single-Ply Membrane Roofing
While the advantages of a single-ply membrane roofing system outweigh the disadvantages, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are disadvantages of single-ply membrane roofing systems:
Durability – Single-ply membrane roofing does not have a hard top layer to protect the synthetic rubber from dropped tools, gravel or loose screws from being pushed into the rubber membrane.
Seams – Although these seams are sealed either mechanically or with melting adhesives, they are still areas that are more vulnerable to leaks than other roofing systems.
Roofing Accessories – Penetrations such as skylights or vents need special attention during installation.
UV Rays – UV rays that shine directly on the roof can degrade the adhesives quickly over time.
EPDM roofing is made of recycled rubber materials, which makes it environmentally friendly. It also helps to insulate your roof and attic -- and cuts down on cooling and heating costs -- which makes it economically friendly as well. EPDM roofing shingles come in a wide variety of textures and colors.
EPDM roofing is waterproof.
It allows you to encase your entire roof.
Repairs are relatively simple and inexpensive; homeowners should be able to do some as DIY projects.
Roofs last between 30 and 50 years and hold up against wind, water, and fire.
The roof deck doesn’t need
reinforcement because EPDM
roofing is lightweight.
Leaks are very rare with EPDM
EPDM roofing is durable -- it
doesn’t scratch or scuff very easily
-- and repairs are easy.
You must have an EPDM roof
installed by a professional contracto
r who knows how to properly install
the roof. It can be somewhat costly.
Any exterior pieces -- pipes, HVAC
systems, chimneys -- can pose a risk
to your EPDM roofing and cause
leaks if not properly flashed.
Rubber roofing can be damaged by branches, foot traffic during installation, or storm damage. You just need to take more care when walking on a membrane roof.
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Flat Roof Systems
Overtime, any type of roof will be in need of repairs and the most common problems are leaks. Leaks are something that should be taken care of as soon as possible. Not only will leaks cause the hole in the roof to get larger over time, leading to a more expensive repair, it will create water damage. If your Owensboro property has water damage, then you will need to restore or replace every part the water touches, otherwise you run the risk of spreading harmful mold.
If you are having any issue EPDM
BENEFITS OF EPDM ROOFING
Experienced with precise and reliable installation, EPDM roof installers have a proven track record in the Louisville region for replacement and repair of rubber membranes that offer numerous benefits including:
-High resistance to ponding, hail, and UV damage
-Longer than average life span
-Greater value and cost effectiveness
-Superior flexibility (expansion and contraction) even in cold temperatures
Material and system description
Built up roof membranes, referred to by the acronym BUR, have been in use in the U.S. for more than 100 years. These roof systems are commonly referred to as "tar and gravel" roofs. BUR systems generally are composed of alternating layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics that create a finished membrane. The number of plies in a cross section is the number of plies on a roof: The term "four plies" denotes a four ply roof membrane construction. Sometimes, a base sheet, used as the bottommost ply, is mechanically fastened. Built up roofs generally are considered to be fully adhered if applied directly to roof decks or insulation.
The reinforcing fabrics also are called roofing felts or ply sheets. Roofing felts are reinforced with either glass-fiber mats or organic mats. Felts are produced in a standard width of 36 inches and metric width of about one meter.
The bitumen typically used in BUR roof systems is asphalt, coal tar or cold-applied adhesive. The asphalt or coal tar is heated in a kettle or tanker and then applied by mop or mechanical spreader. Asphalt is a petroleum product refined from crude oil; coal tar is derived from the distillation of coal. Cold-applied adhesives typically are solvent-based asphalts that don't have to be heated in a kettle or tanker.
Surfacings for built up roof systems include aggregate (such as gravel, slag or mineral granules), glass-fiber or mineral surfaced cap sheets, hot asphalt mopped over the entire surface, aluminum coatings or elastomeric coatings.