Introduced in the early 1960s, PVC roofing systems were one of the first single-ply commercial roofing materials used and today, these roofing systems are used for 65 percent of all commercial roofing. PVC was one of the first single-ply roofing products to earn a standard designation from the American Society for Testing and Materials and has only become increasingly more popular as time has passed.
PVC roofing is popular largely because of its longevity, energy efficiency, flexibility, durability in harsh weather and extreme temperatures, low life-cycle costs, flame resistance, and ease of maintenance. It also can be recycled and reused and is sustainable which is a benefit in our environmentally-friendly world.
The Benefits of PVC
- Energy Efficient: PVC roofing saves energy and money by reflecting sunlight away from your building. They also improve the performance of the roof insulation and improve the quality of indoor air through more efficient function of rooftop cooling equipment. PVC roofing requires less energy and typically lasts between 20 and 30 years, which significantly reduces the rate of waste flow into landfills. There is almost no scrap produced during installation, because they can be directly installed over the old roofing.
- Longevity: The reflective properties of PVC material extend the life of the substrate materials by reducing possibilities for rot, rust, and corrosion. The heat-welding properties that create the roof’s seams are stronger than the membrane itself and allow the roof to withstand greater forces. Flame retardant additives can be added to provide additional strength making the material flame resistant to chemicals, grease, and other harmful substances.
- Cost-Effective: PVC roofing lasts longer than other roofing systems and typically has less problems associated with it, which makes it a more cost-effective option. Prefabricated PVC roofing systems also contribute to cost-effectiveness because they generate less waste, and require less labor and installation time.
- Recyclable: PVC can be recycled and reused over and over and it is the only roofing material that can be successfully recycled back into useable roofing products. There are a number of roofing manufacturers that have established recycling programs and PVC can also be safely incinerated.
A common misconception made about PVC roofing is that they cause toxic gases during fires. While any burning substance will release toxic gasses, those produced from PVC combustion include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen chloride, and water. These are similar to those of all other organic materials, so PVC should not be set apart as more dangerous. It is important to note is that PVC’s inherent flame resistance properties play a beneficial role in mitigating accidental fire spread, which gives it an advantage over other materials. A second misconception regarding PVC is that it is made of chlorine which is a poisonous gas. In reality, chlorine is also a naturally occurring element found in our oceans and rocks, so is an essential nutrient for life. The chlorine used in the making of PVC is derived from salt and once it is processed, it is chemically locked into the product, which means that chlorine gas is never produced when burned.
PVC roofing has many benefits to building owners as well as the environment. While there have been concerns about toxic gases and sustainability in the past, PVC has more recently become the most commonly used roofing system. PVC roofing has received positive ratings from the top U.S organizations and many concerns were unproven. Look into PVC roofing today and start reaping the benefits as well as doing your part for the environment, tomorrow.