Peak Roofing Basics: Multi-ply Membrane
Most commercial roofing jobs in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston areas are on buildings with membrane roofs. So why not shingles? Primarily because membrane roofing is the most economical and efficient way to cover a large area. Additionally, most commercial roofing designs are on buildings with low-slope roofs and shingles require a much steeper, pitched roof. In this blog, I’m focusing on multi-ply membrane but will soon cover single ply as well.
I realize most people don’t feel passionate about roofs, but the engineering and design aspects of roofing systems can be really interesting. I enjoy learning about different systems, products, and challenges. Even after all these years, I’m still learning. There are always new products coming out, new studies being done.
Deciding whether single-ply or multi-ply membrane is the best choice for a commercial building depends on your budget, and what your expectations are. And, of course, the local ordinances and codes typically get a vote as well. The Peak Roofing & Construction team enjoys working with clients to select the best membrane roof to meet the owner’s needs.
What is Multi-ply membrane
The industry standard for multi-ply roofs is a modified bitumen or what many call an asphalt roof. You likely know very quickly when one is being installed nearby. The strong odor of the melting asphalt will get your attention. I typically think of growing up and smelling the pungent smell when they did repairs or a re-roof on my elementary school. Today, multi-ply roofs are not that common with the invention of single ply technology but there are still some that can be found. We see them in buildings designed for longevity such as schools and government buildings.
Advantages of Multi-ply membrane
The advantage is it has multiple layers of membrane. So, if the top layer fails or is damaged, you have a redundant layer underneath to keep the building in the dry. Of course, this is the more expensive option but over the life of the roof, it may be the most economical based on total cost of ownership and the reduction in maintenance compared to a single ply membrane. Another advantage is you can put the base layer down quickly to get the building weather tight. This enables you to do all your mechanical installation on the roof and then complete the roofing after all the equipment is installed.
Disadvantages of Multi-ply membrane
Cost is the biggest disadvantage. Another disadvantage is multi-ply membrane has a long way to go to be environmentally friendly. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gassing releases petroleum chemicals into the atmosphere. There are also risks to installers such as burn-related accidents. Our foremen conduct regular safety meetings before the start of the job and during the work to emphasize the importance of job site safety. A minor disadvantage is color. Multi-membrane roofs are typically covered with a light-colored granule but over time the granules can wash away and expose the black asphalt underneath, reducing heat reflectance (the albedo effect).
Peak Roofing & Construction are commercial roofing experts. We would welcome the opportunity to inspect your roof and talk to you about the best membrane option for your specific situation. Call us today.
About Peak Roofing & Construction
Peak Roofing & Construction is family-owned, with 30-years of experience. Bonded, insured and accredited, we provide roofing, gutter, fence, window and exterior facelift services. Guaranteed. Call (972) 335-7325 in Dallas-Fort Worth (residential & commercial) or 281-290-7325 in Houston (commercial roofing).