commercial building single-ply roofing

Everything You Need To Know About Single Ply Roofing

Single ply roofing systems are popular for commercial buildings, and it has been increasing in demand over the years. These roofs can be found in shopping centers, large warehouses, food distribution, gas stations, and many other commercial properties.

If you are a building owner and your establishment is almost complete, choosing the best commercial roofing material is the next step. This article will give you everything you need to know about single ply roofing systems. Keep reading below!

What is a single ply roofing system?

single ply roof

A single-ply membrane is made of a single layer of material, which can be asphalt, rubber, or synthetic. This roofing system is usually installed on low-slope commercial buildings, and even in residential construction.

They are typically less expensive than other types of roofing, making them a great choice for people on a specific budget. Single-ply membranes are also durable, easy to install and maintain and offer excellent protection from environmental elements.

These roofing systems are made from a mixture of petroleum distillates and additives like mineral granules, waxes, and resins. The mixture is heated to temperatures between 600°F and 700°F before being poured onto a metal sheet. 

The sheet is then rolled flat into a sheet-like shape and cooled down to about 300°F. Finally, it’s cut into individual pieces so they can be installed on roofs or other structures.

[Related: Ultimate Guide To Commercial Roof Coating Cost In Arizona]

How Long Does a Single Ply Roofing Membrane Last?

A high-quality single-ply roofing membrane can last between 25 to 40 years. If you have a lower-quality membrane, it may only last 10 to 15 years. Installation and maintenance also play a role in the roof’s lifespan.

Other factors that can affect the longevity of your single-ply roofing include the following:

  • The quality of the roofing material
  • Quality of the roofing system installation done
  • Regular maintenance activities done after the installation
  • Climate conditions like wind, rain, and snow (if applicable)

Hiring a credible roofing contractor who can install the roof and maintain it regularly can make the roof last as long as 30 years or more!

3 Types of Single-Ply Roofing for Commercial Properties

There are several different types of single-ply roofing available today. Each one offers its own benefits, but depending on your needs and budget, you may need to consider multiple types before making your final decision.

Here are your options:

EPDM Roofing Systems

An EPDM roofing system is a rubber roofing product made from ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). This material is flexible and can be used in a variety of situations. EPDM roofing membranes have been very popular for industrial buildings due to their durability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Since EPDM is a synthetic rubber roofing material, it’s known to be more flexible than traditional roofing materials like asphalt and clay tile. Hence, it can be used in areas with hot or cold climates, or those that are under extreme weather conditions (like hurricanes or tornadoes).

The benefits of EPDM are:

  • Fire-resistant — It can withstand high temperatures without catching on fire.
  • UV resistant — It will not fade from sunlight exposure.
  • Good resistance to tearing and punctures — It can stand up to heavy winds and storm damage.
  • More durable than many other types of roofing materials — You’ll have less maintenance over time.

PVC Roofing Systems

PVC Roofing Systems is a composite material that is made up of two layers: one layer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and another layer of asphalt shingle. They are very durable and can stand up to harsh weather conditions such as heavy snow, rain, and strong winds. 

They are also known for their low maintenance cost which makes them a great option for homeowners who want a long-lasting roof without having to spend too much money on maintenance.

PVC roofing systems have other benefits, including:

  • Lightweight and easy to install.
  • 100% recyclable.
  • Less maintenance is needed, unlike metal roofs.
  • Great to use under any climate or weather condition.

Thermoplastic Roofing Systems

Thermoplastic roofing is made up of a sheet or panels that are heated and then pressed into shape. The result is an inexpensive, durable, and water-resistant material that can be installed over almost any surface.

This roofing system comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, from flat sheets to curved panels. They can be installed on flat roofs or over sloping roofs, with most products designed to work with standard shingles.

Thermoplastic single-ply membranes offer other benefits that make them an excellent choice for your building.

  • Made of recyclable materials — They use less energy in manufacturing than other types of roofing systems.
  • Able to withstand extreme weather conditions — This type of single-ply membrane is designed to function properly during heavy rain, hail, wind, and snow, without warping or cracking. 
  • UV-resistant — They will last longer without fading due to UV exposure.
  • Thermoplastic Roofing Systems meet all fire safety codes for buildings — Better protection for your building in case of a fire emergency!

[Related: 8 Types Of Commercial Roofing: Everything You Need To Know]

Pros and Cons of Commercial Single Ply Membrane Roofing System

In the commercial roofing market, every type of roofing system has its pros and cons. We want you to understand the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a single-ply roofing membrane for your commercial buildings to help you assess if this is the right choice for you.

Below is a quick guide to the pros and cons of installing single-ply roofing:


  • Easy to install: Comes in rolls or sheets that can be easily installed to cut down installation costs.
  • Easy to maintain: No extensive maintenance is needed, unlike other roofing systems.
  • Long lifespan: Does not need to be replaced every few years.
  • Can support easy installation of HVAC systems: Provides a flat surface for installing HVAC units.
  • Reflection and retention feature: Available in reflective and retentive material.
  • Fire resistant: Lessens possibilities of severe fire damage to buildings.
  • Light and flexible: This makes the roofing system easy to install and transport.


  • Easily punctured: Constant repairs may be needed because the material is lightweight and flexible.
  • Prone to leaking: More vulnerable to leaking compared to other roofing membranes.
  • Prone to UV damage: Punctured single-ply membranes are vulnerable to extensive UV damage.

[Related: Pros And Cons Of Commercial Single Ply Membrane Roofing System]

Things To Consider When Hiring Single-Ply Roofing Contractors

single-ply roofing contractor

When you’re looking for a single-ply roofing contractor, there are a few things to consider.

First, make sure that they have the right experience and training. Hiring credible and accredited roofing contractors can help you get the best installation possible. You would also get the best workmanship for every dollar you spend with them.

Second, check if the contractor has good reviews and feedback from their previous clients. Normally, just a Google search will show feedback from a certain company, and you would also see if they have or are partnering with reputable companies. Ask them about their history of taking big projects and how the project went. Additionally, getting direct referrals from your friends and family about a certain roofing company should never be missed too!

Third, ask them about their experience and background. A proven track record of years of being in the business is definitely a plus! 

[Related: 7 Questions To Ask Single Ply Roofing Contractors Before Hiring]

Are You ready to Look for a Credible Roofing Contractor?

Now that you know what to look for in a roofing contractor, it’s time to choose one! Our roofing experts at Easy Roof Solutions are here to help you pick out the roofing material you need according to your budget and preference. We offer high-quality roofing materials and excellent service in Phoenix, Arizona, and nearby areas!

Get a free quote today!

About the Author
Kenneth Byler Easy Roof Solutions

Ken Byler

Founder of Easy Roof Solutions, LLC. He started in the construction industry at the age of 14 and has been involved in it for over 25 years. His wide experience in commercial roofing speaks for itself.

Outside his roofing work, Ken enjoys being in the great outdoors, traveling to new places, and bonding with his wife and children.

Scroll to Top