Here’s Everything You Need To Know About 1 PLY PVC/TPO/EPDM Roofing Systems


When deciding which material you should use for your flat roof,  1-PLY roofing systems can be a good option for your structure. 1-PLY roofing systems, as opposed to 2-5 PLY, are installed in one layer and have a variety of options to choose from. These kinds of membranes are lightweight and energy-efficient options, usually coming in three main types: TPO, PVC, and EPDM. The right fit for your structure is largely dependent on the location of the roof itself, how the roof and the interior of the premises will be used, the extent of roof traffic and the features that are most important for your structure.

 First, A Definition of These Systems:

TPO: Thermo Plastic Olefin.

TPO roofing systems are categorized by their white appearance and energy-saving qualities. The installation process for this kind of roofing system is done adhered or mechanically fastened.

PVC: Poly Vinyl Chloride

PVC flat roofing systems efficiently reflect UV rays, which is why they are also known as “energy-saving systems. The installation process adhered or mechanically fastened and the seams are either adhered or hot air welded.

EPDM: Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer

EPDM is a rubber material that is usually found in black or white. The installation process is usually mechanically fastened or loose laid and ballasted.

What Kind Of Building Benefits From A 1-PLY PVC/TPO/EPDM Roof Membrane?

Buildings With Energy Concerns:

White membrane options can often meet “cool roof” designations, where needed, with small or no incremental costs. A cool roof can lessen a building’s energy consumption, especially during the summer months.  The challenge is to keep the roof reflectivity at optimal levels since they usually get dirty within the first few years.

Buildings Where Fire Rating Is A Priority

With the use of aggregate cover (round river stone, 1-PLY roofing systems can yield a Class A fire rating, which exceeds building code requirements for Class C. This could provide some insurance savings for owners, and can also protect your structure if there are concerns with respect to fires at the premises.

Buildings With Load Concerns: 

1-PLY systems are lightweight, which means there are recovery options available with nominal extra loads to the building structure.

Considerations Before Choosing A 1-PLY PVC/TPO/EPDM Roof Membrane

Is your roof high-traffic?

1-PLY membranes are not suitable for roofing environments where foot traffic is frequent. This type of roofing system is also extremely slippery when wet, and can be dangerous during the winter months or after rain.  The use of walkways can assist but we have found that contractors rarely walk on designated walkways.

Is There Lots of Machinery on your roof?

If your roof has extensive HVAC systems that require regular maintenance, you may want to consider another roofing option. Vibrations from machinery and/or heavy traffic have the potential to cause mechanical fasteners to back out, which will puncture the membrane and sacrifice the integrity of your roofing system.

There are many kinds of roofing systems, each with its own benefits for your structure. If your roof needs repairs, or your thinking of doing a full replacement, having the right membrane is key to the longevity of your building. Our team at Elite Roofing has been servicing the GTA for the past 65 years. We work with building owners and architects to provide a comprehensive roofing system that is built to last. Contact us for a consultation.