3 Solutions For Single-Ply Membrane Roof Installation

Nowadays single-ply membrane roof becomes more and more popular due to several significant advantages. This type of roofing is laid in single layer only, so its installation is easier in comparison with other roofing materials.

Single-ply membrane roof has following advantages:

  • it doesn’t require the use of open fire. Thus, installation process is safer here;
  • this material has high flexibility;
  • it is a reliable and durable material. Also it can be installed on the roof with complex architecture;
  • also this material is quite universal. It can be used in such ways: as accessible roof coating, water-resistant substrate under the wooden platforms, as waterproofing material for buildings with flat roof.

Types of Single-Ply Membrane Roof

There are such types of single-ply roof:

  • EPDM-membranes;
  • PVC;
  • TPO.
TPO-membrane installation
TPO-membrane installation

They have different chemical composition, production method, service conditions and some characteristics.

Video: PVC vs TPO roof membrane Burn Test.

EPDM-membrane is essentially the type of synthetic rubber. It has some modifiers and stabilizers, which allow to extend the useful life of material. Usually this material can be glued to the base of the roof or fixed with ballast. Seams are glued with the use of special double-sided tape.

This type of single-ply roofing is able to withstand the significant temperature fluctuations. Also EPDM-membrane is wear-resistant, flexible and durable material.

PVC-membrane is more expensive roofing material in comparison with EPDM. But also it has better reliability and longer durability. Seams of PVC-membranes must be welded with hot air, so they are completely impervious to water.

Due to the installation technology, this material has high resistance to the constant dampness, stagnant water, high and low alkaline conditions.

In comparison with other types of single-ply roofing materials, TPO-membrane is the most new. It has some important advantages, such as longer service life (over 50 years) and high frost resistance and durability.

This material can be installed even at low temperatures without loss of quality. Also TPO-membranes are environmentally safe, because they do not contain volatile plasticizers.

Installation of single-ply membrane roof

Such type of roof can be mounted in following ways:

  • with the use of ballast;
  • by mechanical fastening;
  • by gluing.

With the use of ballast

So let’s look at these methods in more detail. At first, to install single-ply membrane roof with the use of ballast, you should lay a large sheet of material on the roof above the flooring. Then it is important to smooth out the surface to avoid the formation of wrinkles.

For the protection of rubber, you have to lay heavy fabric and after that – ballast (round stones, or road concrete plates). Ballast will secure the membrane in conditions of strong wind and protect the roof from fire. The approximate specific weight of ballast is 40-60 kg/m².

Ballasted EPDM roof system
Ballasted EPDM roof system

Perimeter of the roof and openings should be sealed with special material, which is intended for the waterproofing of joints. Roof seams also must be sealed with glue. Main advantages of this technology are quick installation and economical efficiency.

On the other hand this method has few disadvantages, such as big the weight of ballast and the possibility of hidden leaks appearance.

Mechanical fastening

Usually this type of installation is used for EPDM-membranes. This material should be laid above the roof flooring. And then it must be fixed through equal intervals. Membranes can be fastened with rails, metal or plastic connection plates.

Mechanically attached membrane roofing
Mechanically attached membrane roofing

This method of installation is quite fast and relatively cheap. In addition, in this case it will be easier to find the leaks and also material is lighter. The main disadvantage is that the attachment can be disrupted by a strong gust of wind.


In this case the installation starts from the laying of rigid insulating cardboard. The next step is to deploy the membrane and attach it to the cardboard with the use of contact adhesive. This method of installation can cause the appearance of folds on the roof. You can fix it by applying heavy membranes.

Gluing of membrane roofing
Gluing of membrane roofing

As previous methods, gluing also has some pros and cons. Thus, applying this type of installation, it is easier to find the leaks. And also the whole structure has a relatively small weight. But at the same time, this technology is very expensive and quite difficult.

In this case there is a big risk of fires, deformation and formation of wrinkles. In addition, gluing method assumes the presence of a large number of stitches.

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