PVC Roofs - Polyvinyl Chloride

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PVC roofing comes is a variety of thicknesses. The most common are probably 50 mils, or fifty one-thousands of an inch, or .050”, and 60 mils (.060”). Other thicknesses are 40 mil (.040”), 80 mil (.080”), and then there are fleeceback materials (PVC membrane with a fuzzy underside) that go up to 115 mils. They’re actually the standard thicknesses (50, 60, and 80 mils) with the fuzzy backing adding to it which makes it thicker.

PVC roofs are installed in three different ways:

  1. Mechanically attached – the PVC roof is held in place by being attached to the substrate/deck using screws or other types of fasteners, depending on the deck type.
  2. Fully Adhered – the PVC roof is attached to the substrate using special adhesive (glue). There are different adhesive options but that’s not something most readers will care about.
  3. Ballasted – the PVC roof is laid across the roof loosely, secured only at the roof perimeter and around roof penetrations such as pipes, air conditioning units, etc., and held in place with ballast which usually consists of smooth river rock although other options are available.
  4. Regardless of how the roofs are installed, the seams of all three systems are sealed the same way, using a hot air welder.
    Note: A hot air welder is not a torch, it’s more like a hair dryer on steriods. Hot air welding provides excellent seam strength, much stronger than the tape or adhesives used to seal seams in EPDM rubber roofing.

    The best type of roof for you, the reader, would depend on a variety of factors. Some of which include building use, building structural integrity, deck/substrate type, wind zone, and budget.

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