Membrane roofing is one of the most important things to consider when a secure waterproof roof is desired. For many years it was used for flat top commercial buildings. However, in recent years it has been found to be effective on residential flat and slightly sloped roofs as well as patio roofing.

Types of Membrane Roofing

There are three types of membrane roofing. These are synthetic rubber (thermoset), modified bitumen and thermoplastic membrane. Each involves different materials and has different advantages.

  • Synthetic Rubber (Thermoset) is made of synthetic rubber and has a finished thickness between 30 and 60 thousands of an inch. This membrane is known under the names as EDPM, CSPE, ECR and CR. Available in large, flat pieces, it is bonded at the seams and is best known for withstanding strong sun-rays and roof chemicals.
  • Modified Bitumen is constructed of asphalt, solvents and rubber modifiers. Although usually hot sealed by heat, to create a seam, it can also be sealed using self-applied and cold-applied adhesives.
  • Thermoplastic Membrane is commonly made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin). Seams are typically heat-fused or fused with other materials. This membrane is the strongest type available.

Comparing Membrane Types

Single ply membranes are glued to a fiberglass sheet, covered on both sides with insulation, and then adhered to the roof deck. If this is not done properly, condensation can form under the roofing membrane causing it to become loose and prone to a wind blow-off. This leaves the roof completely unprotected. 

When considering proper installation and membrane brand selection it is extremely important to consult with an experienced roofing contractor prior to making a choice that will fit your situation. With this type of selection, you can be assured that the best membrane types on the market will be used and properly applied.

The most popular single ply membrane styles are EPDM rubber, PVC/CPA and TPO. This assures a high quality and weather tight roof that will offer the best protection possible for your business, flat-topped homes or patios.

Built up roof membranes, also called BUR, have been common in the roofing industry for over 100 years. Often called tar and gravel roofs, they are constructed by using alternating layers of bitumen with reinforcing fabrics to create a membrane. This type of roofing is very economical and flexible for low-slope or flat roofs. It is often used for multi-family and single units as well as commercial buildings.

Compounded thermoplastic roof membranes (PVC, TPO and CPS) are considered ‘top of the line’ in roof coverings. They offer energy savings, protection against extreme weather conditions, resist industrial pollutants and harsh chemicals, are easily installed, lightweight and are reasonably priced.

Many homes with flat roofs can benefit from the use of a roof membrane application. While providing protection from the weather, the area can also be adapted to things such as a garden or rooftop patio. A large number of businesses have also used their roofs to offer rest locations for their employees and other useful purposes.

For more information regarding roofing membranes, give us a call at 866-784-5300 or visit our website at We will be happy to discuss your roofing problems and, of course, any estimate is free.

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