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What is a PVC Roof?

A Roll of Reflective PVC Membrane

PVC Explained

What does PVC stand for in roofing? Polyvinyl chloride. This powerful material provides outstanding resilience against the elements and other common rooftop hazards. It’s also one of three categories of single ply roofing solutions, along with TPO and EPDM.

Today, we’ll be breaking down key facts surrounding PVC roofing, and whether or not it could work for your business. By the end, you’ll understand exactly what this durable material is capable of. Let’s dive in!

Is PVC Roofing Good?

That’s really the ultimate question, isn’t it? Most commercial roofers consider PVC to be a top contender in single ply roofing. The material offers numerous protection and efficiency advantages (which we’ll discuss later on). Put simply, PVC is a very attractive solution for local businesses.


How Long Does a PVC Roof Last?

PVC roofing generally lasts for 20 years or more, depending on how well the membrane is taken care of. Because of its powerful impact and chemical defenses, it’s much more likely to last for a full predicted lifetime.


How Much Does a PVC Roof Cost?

PVC roofing sits at the top of the single ply pricing spectrum. While there are exceptions, expect this membrane solution to run between $5.50 to $8.50 per square foot. That’s slightly more than TPO, and notably more than EPDM rubberized roofing.


How is PVC Roofing Applied?

Roofers utilize three different forms of installation for PVC: adhered, ballasted, and mechanically-attached. You’ll want to consult with a professional to see which kind of install best fits your building’s needs. No matter which form of application is ultimately selected, roofers generally recommend installing an insulation layer to prevent heat loss.

Adhered systems utilize a powerful adhesive to bind the single ply to the underlying substrate. While this particular method isn’t practical for climates with extreme wind, it does provide short installation times and simplistic design.

Ballasted PVC roofs, rely on heavy weights to secure the top ply to the subroofing. For ballasts, roofers may use pavers, large stones, or an alternative with sufficient weight. No glue or special mechanical attachments necessary!

Finally, mechanical attachment employs strong, corrosion resistant plates and screws to bind the PVC to the substrate. This form of installation provides much stronger wind-resistance than other variants.

A White, Reflective PVC Roof

PVC Roofing Advantages

Businesses will note several clear perks when it comes to PVC roofing. These include:

  • Reflective white surfacing
  • Heat-bonded seams for strong waterproofing
  • Durability against punctures and other mechanical damages
  • Fire resistance
  • Strong overall weather defenses
  • Chemical resilience
  • Easy cleaning requirements

As you can see, PVC possesses incredible overall damage resistance. While the material may cost more at installation, lower maintenance costs and high energy-efficiency make the material very appealing to building managers. Now let’s compare PVC against other single ply solutions.

EPDM Rubber Roofing

PVC Roofing vs EPDM

One of the most notable differences between PVC and EPDM roofing is color. The longest lasting, most popular EPDM solutions come in black, a color that naturally absorbs light. As you can imagine, this light absorption rapidly warms up the surface of the rubber, essential superheating the rooftop. On a positive note however, EPDM features simple repairs and very low installation costs.

PVC roofing on the other hand, clearly costs more than EPDM, with good reason. The plastic material offers far more resistance against puncturing, for starters. More importantly, PVC relies on heat-welded seams instead of weaker roofing tape, granting it stronger waterproofing. If you’ve ever felt the sting of pipe leak repair and water damages, you can understand how important leak prevention is for your roof. Finally, PVC’s white surface offers significantly better energy-efficiency. If you like lower heating and cooling costs, PVC is a clear winner.

TPO Systems

What is the Difference Between TPO and PVC Roofing?

Both PVC and TPO (thermoplastic olefin) feature standard white surfacing for high light reflection (and subsequent energy savings). These two solutions both utilize heat-welded membranes for tightened water repellency. Both materials also offer great seasonal flexibility during temperature spikes, plus excellent chemical resistance.

Where TPO and PVC greatly differ is reliability. Despite numerous manufacturers attempting to refine TPO, material quality varies wildly. While certain brands offer remarkably durable and affordable products, many businesses have suffered from the design shortcomings of other manufacturers. In states with extended periods of intense light and heat, TPO products sometimes fail prematurely.

While businesses shouldn’t write off TPO completely, it’s critical that you consult with a builder you trust before investing in a TPO membrane.

What is the Best Material to Cover a Flat Roof?

In terms of reliability, energy-efficiency, and overall protection, PVC roofing clearly beats out the competition. Granted, this superior roofing does come with a somewhat higher price tag, so your budget will heavily influence the decision process. If you’d like to learn more about PVC roofing in Augusta, GA, our team at Raborns Roofing & Restorations will happily provide you with additional information. Simply call our friendly team at (706) 814-3207 to get started!