PVC Roofs - Polyvinyl Chloride

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Strength – PVC roofs are very strong. The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) requires a minimum breaking strength of 200 pounds per inch. All the ones I’ve worked with have a minimum breaking strength of 350 lbs/in. That probably doesn’t mean much to you, the reader, but trust me, it’s strong.

Chemical resistance – chemicals on a roof are not uncommon on top of manufacturing facilities and restaurants. PVC roofs are very resistant to chemical damage. Animal fat from grease vents on restaurants can damage an asphalt-based roof and some other single-ply roofs, but it won’t hurt a PVC roof.

Fire resistance – PVC roofs have a good fire-resistance rating. This can be intensified by using different types of roof insulation under the PVC.

Wind resistance – Because of their strength and different types of installation procedures, PVC roofs have great wind uplift resistance. This is important if you live a high wind area like along coasts, in Amarillo or Chicago or the High Plains of Eastern New Mexico, or have a high-rise building.

Ease of installation – Compared to asphalt-based roofing, PVC roofs are easy to install. There is no kettle, there are no torches, all the corner pieces, pipe flashings, and several other flashing components are pre-made, thereby easily installed. There are a lot less seams with PVC roofs that with asphalt-based roofs, too. However, the seams take more time to deal with.


Thickness – PVC roofs are roughly as thick as other single-ply roofs, but not nearly as thick as asphalt-based roof systems. This makes them more susceptible to damage. If you have heavy foot traffic on your roof, then you may want to consider an asphalt-based roof.

Slick – All roofs can be slick, but PVC roofs can be very slick. You have to be carefully when you walk, especially if the roof is wet.

Plasticizer leaching – The plasticizers in PVC roofs will leach out over time, meaning they won’t last forever. However, the plasticizer technology has greatly improved and you can get a high quality roof if you buy a PVC roof.

Shrinking over time – This probably has to do with the previous item, but PVC roofs can stretch or shrink over time (mostly shrink). This causes roof failure. It’s not something that usually happens right away, it takes years and years. You just need to keep an eye on the roof. Usually, the bigger the roof, the greater the severity of the problem because they’re only going to shrink a certain amount.




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