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Count on Single-Ply Commercial Roofing as Your Reliable Standard

There are countless combinations of single-ply commercial roofing systems in today’s market, and you might feel overwhelmed when it comes time to decide. White or black membrane? Glued or heat-welded seams? Adhered or mechanically attached? EPDM, PVC, or TPO roofing system?

When you need a roofing expert to help you sort it all out, turn to GSM Roofing, your commercial single-ply roofing leader in PA, MD, NJ, and DE.

Types of Single-Ply Roofing Systems

Although single-ply membrane roofing systems have become the “standard” for low-slope roofing, there are benefits and drawbacks to EPDM (ethylene propylene diene M-class rubber), TPO (thermoplastic olefin), and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) that our customers need to be aware of.

At GSM Roofing, our decades of installation experience and master certifications ensure you’ll get a long-lasting single-ply roofing system that perfectly fits your needs and budget.

EPDM roof on an elementary school in Lititz, PA
EPDM Roof on an elementary school in Lititz, PA

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene M-Class Rubber)

EPDM is an economical, fire-resistant single-ply roofing system option for commercial buildings with low-slope roofs. When you choose the white option, it can be environmentally friendly because of its ability to reflect UV rays and reduce energy costs. It’s also entirely recyclable.

When installed with Polyiso insulation, white EPDM roofing is very energy efficient. It reflects the sun’s heat away from the building, and it also helps to keep heat in the building when it’s cold outside. It’s receptive to roof coatings, which will prolong the roof’s life and add even more reflective ability.

EPDM roof systems are compatible with solar and vegetative roofs and are lightweight and flexible for installation on any style or shape of commercial roof.

Another advantage of EPDM is its long life. If properly installed, you can realistically expect an EPDM roof to last more than 20 years. This longevity is mainly due to its resistance to UV rays, wind, and hail.

If you’re looking for an attractive commercial roof, EPDM might not be the best choice. Most low-slope roofs are not visible from the ground, but if you would like your roof to contribute to the overall aesthetic of your building, you might wish to explore specialty roofing options.

Whether EPDM or another type of commercial single-ply roofing is right for your building, always choose a roofer experienced in single-ply commercial roofing applications to avoid leaks and get the longest possible life from your roof.

TPO roof on Haverford College's Alumni Field House
TPO roof on Haverford College’s Alumni Field House.

TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin)

A TPO roof is economical, with prices near the lower portion of the single-ply commercial roofing spectrum. You may choose from black, gray, tan, or white—all of which are UV resistant to different degrees. This resistance prevents heat build-up inside the building in the summer and keeps heat in during the winter.

TPO roofing systems are incredibly resistant to problems like dirt build-up, mold, mildew, algae, tears, and perforations. Thanks to its superior flexibility, if the building shifts, settles, expands, or contracts, that’s no problem for TPO.

Installation is relatively simple for experienced roofers, which is reflected in lower labor costs, depending on if it’s heat-welded and whether it’s adhered or direct-fastened. There are fewer seams when wider sheets are used, meaning fewer places for water and wind to infiltrate.

Beware if your commercial roofing contractor has no experience installing TPO roofing systems. They should be able to talk to you about variations in material quality among manufacturers, installation methods that can lead to cracks and seam failures, lamination quality, and the role (if any) that material thickness plays in longevity.

Mega PVC roof installation on Philadelphia Premium Outlets
A mega PVC roof installation on Philadelphia Premium Outlets.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

You can expect single-ply PVC roofs to last 20 years or more when properly maintained—due to their ability to bear a minimum of 350 pounds per square inch. That lifespan and toughness are especially useful in areas that experience significant snowfall.

Hot-air-welded seams increase moisture resistance and perform better than other materials with seams that must be adhered, taped, or caulked. It’s fire-resistant, able to withstand winds from Category 3 hurricanes, tolerates ponding, and is watertight when installed correctly. PVC roofing is resilient in low- and high-alkaline circumstances and will combat the growth of plants, mold, mildew, algae, and bacteria. It’s also very resistant to damage from various chemicals, making it a good choice for applications where chemical use is prevalent. Additionally, its UV-ray reflection and recyclable nature make it very eco-friendly.

PVC has the highest up-front single-ply commercial roofing cost, but its durability means lower maintenance and repair costs.

Single-ply commercial roofing services in Eastern PA, NJ, DE, & MD

Get Your Single-Ply Commercial Roofing Quote from GSM Roofing

Your commercial building has unique requirements for new construction or roof replacement, and we’re here to help you weigh the pros and cons of all types of single-ply commercial roofing.

It’s time to get a quote from a commercial roofer that’s been a local, family-owned business for three generations, that’s been installing single-ply roofing systems since 1946, and that has the credentials and the certifications to ease your mind, knowing that your roof is in the best hands. Get in touch today!

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A big thanks to the GSM team, the guys were a big help at our test roof installation yesterday.

Michael Stieh Sr Staff Engineer June 28, 2022