Roofing 101: Single-Ply

In North America, single-ply roofing dates back to the early 1960s, when the first EPDM rubber roofs were constructed. Because of its extended service life, durability, and convenience of installation, single-ply roofing has risen in favor since then. In North America, single-ply roofing now accounts for the vast bulk of the low-slope commercial roofing industry.

Thermosets and thermoplastics are the two forms of single-ply roofing materials.


TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) membranes are used in thermoplastic roof systems. Both materials are highly resistant to UV, rips, punctures, and most chemicals, and give good weathering performance. Thermoplastic membranes are joined together with the help of hot air welders that melt the plastic and apply pressure.

Roofing Systems Made of TPO

The fastest-growing segment of the commercial roofing business is thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).

The growing use of TPO in southern regions, where cooling expenses far outweigh heating costs, is fueling this increase. The majority of light-colored TPO membranes are ENERGY STAR® recognized and Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) accredited, and have been directly linked to lower energy consumption and expenses in buildings by considerably reducing the need for air conditioning. Although white is the most common color for TPO, different colors are also available.

Roofing Systems Made of PVC

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a well-known membrane that has served the European and North American markets brilliantly for decades. Most PVC membranes are ENERGY STAR and CRRC certified, and they can help building owners save money on cooling expenditures. PVC is also resistant to acids, oils, and greases, which are common on rooftops. While white is the most common color for PVC roofing, other colors are also available.


EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber is commonly used in thermoset roof systems. EPDM is a great roofing material because it is easy to form around curves and is resistant to ozone, UV light, weathering, high heat, and abrasion damage. Pressure-sensitive tapes are used to attach two sheets of EPDM membrane together.

EPDM Membrane Roofing Systems

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a type of rubber. EPDM has a reputation for being low-maintenance, easy-to-repair, and weather-resistant, making it an excellent roofing choice for a variety of climates. EPDM comes in a variety of colors, including black and white. Black EPDM membranes absorb solar energy, resulting in lower heating expenses during the winter months and aiding in the melting of snow and ice on the roads in northern regions.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest