Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

A single-ply roofing membrane is a versatile and efficient option when installing roofing in your building. The most obvious characteristic of a single-ply roofing membrane is that it’s installed in just a single layer of material. This simple installation process can save you time and money for your next roof replacement project.

Single-ply roofing membrane is usually black or white in finish and is usually adhered or fastened directly above your roofing installation.

Membrane Types

 Single-ply membrane roofing is categorized in one of two groups:

  • Thermosets
  • Thermoplastics.



 Thermoset single-ply membranes are ideal for roofing projects requiring a large surface area, since their manufacturing process minimizes seams. In most cases, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) thermoset single-ply membranes use additional components to improve UV resistance. In black EPDM thermoset membranes, the component carbon black is added, whereas titanium dioxide is added to white membranes. The addition of these chemicals makes single-ply thermoset membranes the superior choice for UV protection.



Thermoplastic single-ply membranes are a great choice for smaller surface area projects, because their seams can be hot-air welded to form a watertight membrane seal. The most common thermoplastic materials are PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and TPO (Thermoplastic olefin), both kinds of plastics. Thermoplastic roofing membranes are often manufactured to include a reinforcement layer, adding additional strength and durability to your roof.


Single-Ply Roofing Membrane Installation

Because of the versatility of single-ply roofing membranes, installation can vary from project to project, depending on the needs and limitations of the property. On roofs with a lower slope (less than 1”), single-ply membranes can be installed directly to your roofing insulation, making roof replacement simpler than ever. This process, known as a fully adhered roofing membrane, provides a smooth and aesthetically pleasing finished product, all while being fully leak and weather-proof.

Where possible, wood, stone, or steel ballasts can be mechanically fastened to the structural roof of your building, allowing for greater strength and durability of your single-ply roofing membrane. This is a great choice for roofs at all slopes and is especially useful in areas prone to heavy rain, winds, or weather events such as hurricanes.


Pros and Cons of Single-Ply Membrane Installation


 Excellent performance under extreme weather conditions (heavy rains, wind, acid/chemical rain, etc.)

  • Variety of available protective grades, allowing for different levels of durability at different price points
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Economic


  • Thinner surface that can be punctured
  • Shorter lifespan compared to other roofing materials
  • Sometimes susceptible to water retention issues       


If you’re looking for more information about single-ply membrane roof installation, get in touch with our experienced Vancouver roofing professionals at Macbeth Roofing today!

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