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Stamford Roofing: Article About Single Ply Roofing

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Single ply roofing membranes are usually made of a single layer of materials that are applied to the top of the building. There are several different types of single ply roof systems that each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Although single ply roofing is more commonly used on commercial buildings, homes that have flat roofs or low sloped roofs may also benefit from this type of roofing membrane. A Stamford roofing contractor can help determine if single ply roofing will work for a particular roof.

Thermosets membranes are made from rubber polymers such as EPDM rubber. These membranes do not use heat to seal to the substrate as it can change their physical characteristics. Once installed, however, they are known for performing well even in climates that fluctuate widely in temperature and can reflect ultraviolet rays. Depending on the type of thermoset membrane, there are some distinct disadvantages. Most types do absorb moisture over time, which can cause the membrane to break down. Additionally, this material is not recyclable once it reaches the end of its life.

Thermoplastics differ from thermosets in that they need heat to weld the seams together. PVC membranes are made out of PVC resins, pigments, fillers and plasticizers.

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PVC is naturally resistant to fire due to the materials that it is made out of. TPO membranes are made from plastic blends that may include polypropylene plastic and ethylene propylene rubber. Both PVC and TPO membranes remain hot air weldable as long as they remain in service. The downsides to thermoplastics is that the organic chemicals, some of which are hazardous, can leak into liquids over time. This essentially means that water runoff from the roof could have toxic chemicals from the roof in it.

Modified bitumen membranes are made from asphalt layers that have been modified by adding a rubber or a plastic ingredient. The rubber or plastic component gives the modified bitumen membrane additional flexibility. These systems are often referred to as built up roofing systems as multiple layers of modified bitumen roofing can be installed. The biggest disadvantage to this material is that it can be extremely dangerous to install. Installation is usually done with a blowtorch, which can be a major fire hazard for those who were not properly trained for this type of work.

Ultimately, homeowners or building owners who are interested in single ply roofing membranes should discuss their options with an expert roofer. The roofer may be able to determine what type of membrane may work best depending on the circumstances and the needs of the building.

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