Single Ply Roofing – Things to consider

When it is time to choose a new roof system for your home or building, you will be faced with the option of single ply roofing. Depending on a wide variety of factors, primarily personal preference, there are both pros and cons of this type of roofing system. Continue reading to learn more about single ply roof membranes, including their common advantages and drawbacks.

Single Ply Roofs

A single ply roofing system is designed to be installed in one layer, directly over roof insulation material. This is one of their key characteristics. Single ply roof membranes come in two primary categories: thermosets and thermoplastics. Both membranes are highly flexible, UV-resistant, and simple to install. However, they can’t be used in combination with other single ply roofing systems.

Thermoset membranes are composed from synthetic rubber polymers, most commonly EPDM, CSPE, and Neoprene. Because they are manufactured in a size that is ideal to for minimizing seams, they are generally used for larger roofs.

As the name suggests, thermoplastics are plastic-based roofing materials that generally contain a polyester or fiberglass reinforcement layer meant to provide extra strength and stability. The most common types of thermoplastic membranes are PVC and TPO, which are often hot-air welded together to create unified laps. Then when they cool, the membranes return back to their original form.

Average Costs

Single ply roofing is priced by the square foot. The average cost to purchase and install such system depends on various factors, including current roof conditions, and the type of attachments and membranes used. For example, labor and materials for a 60 MIL roof will cost between $3 and $5 per square foot, on average. A “MIL” is a manufacturing dimension that specifies geomembrane thickness. One mil is equal to one thousandth of an inch, or .001 inch.

In addition to labor and materials, you must also add in the cost of the actual material. EPDM costs an average of $1.50 per square foot, TPO costs an average of $1.70 per square foot, and PVC costs an average of $1.90 per square foot. These numbers can give you a starting point for estimating the total cost of roof installation for your property, but it is best to trust your licensed roofer for an accurate estimation.