Membrane Roofs

Membrane roofs were once used nearly exclusively for commercial roofing projects, but today they are being used very effectively for residential homes as well. These roofs are used almost exclusively on flat roofs and have proven a good approach for this type of roof.

Membrane Roof Basics

Membrane roofs are a single piece of rubberized material that is cut to fit the inidividual roof and laid down to effectively seal the roof from water, snow, moisture, heat and the other elements that breakdown roofing materials over time. These membranes are used almost exclusively on flat roofs due to the nature of the membranes and when done properly, they can eliminate nearly all leaks. There are three main types of membrane roofs.

Synthetic Rubber

Synthetic rubber is the most popular roofing membrane and comes in large flat strips of synthesized rubber that are welded together to create a single membrane that can vary between 30 & 60 millimeters in thickness.

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PVC Or Thermoplastic

The PVC or thermoplastic membranes are pretty csimlar to the synthetic rubber, although instead of the strips being welded together, the lap seams are essentially melted together to form a single piece that is then placed on the roof.

Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen is almost the evolution of trational asphalt roofing. Modified bitumen roofing uses asphalt-based sheet membranes that are usually rolled and applied to the surface. Roofers can install modified bitumen roofing using numerous methods, including hot mop, heat weld or torch, cold-process or self-adhesion.

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Membrane Roof Costs

Modified Bitumen: $4 to $7 per square foot fully installed

EPDM Rubber Membrane: $8 to $10 per square foot fully installed

IB Rubber Membrane: $10 to $12 per square foot fully installed

Explore Rubber Roofing Costs

More Resilient

Membrane roofs have proven themselves much more effective at completely sealing the roof surfaces compared to the traditional method of tar and gravel. This more traditional approach, sometimes also referred to as hot mop, is both messy and can be less than perfect when it comes to completely sealing the roof at the connection points and seams.

More Energy Efficient

Tar and gravel roofs degrade relatively quickly in comparison to the cooler membrane roofs because the tar and gravel would expand during the hot day and cool during the night – repeat this process 365 days of the year and over time, the roof begins to fail at the seams and felt connection points. Membrane roofs use much more reflective materials that due to absorb the heat and therefore do not expand and contract nearly as much and are therefore less resistant to leaks and breaks.

Light Weight

The tar and gravel roofs require a layer of gravel that can be heavy and cause the roof line to sag if not properly supported. Newer membrane roofs are very lightweight and don’t have this problem.

More Expensive To Repair

Membranes can tear under certain conditions such as a storm etc. Repairs require more specialized work and equipment and will therefor be more costly to fix.