You must consider many factors when your roof needs to be replaced or when you are constructing a building that requires a new roof: Price. Quality of the product being installed. Prefabrication. Installation disruptions. Ease of maintenance. Performance. Environmental impact. Life-cycle costs, and so on. It is crucial to review all of these aspects in order to make the wisest roofing choice and get the best long-term value for your investment.
This is the sixth post in a series discussing the issues involved in purchasing a roofing system.
Proven Track Record
How long has the roofing system you are considering been on the market? How has it performed? Has its formula changed over the years to improve performance? Is “thicker” really “better” when it comes to roof performance? Answers to these questions are vital to know in order to get the best roof for your building.
Hundreds of roofing systems are on the market today, and sometimes they seem to blend together and appear to offer the same qualities. Not true. Look at how long the roofing product has been around and then evaluate its success. Most manufacturers will be happy to direct you to satisfied customers who can describe how their roofing system solved a problem.
Thicker=Better? Not So Fast!
Some roofing manufacturers promote the idea that when it comes to roof performance, “thicker” means “better.” However, that is not necessarily the case.
Some manufacturers increase membrane thickness by adding more material to the bottom film layer but little to the exposed layer. However, increasing bottom layer thickness does not directly increase membrane performance. Rather, performance is a balance between film formulation, membrane thickness, and reinforcement.
Film formulation determines the flexibility of the membrane and its ability to resist crazing and cracking over time, plus protect against ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Membrane thickness provides protection from water, snow, and ice elements.
Reinforcement provided by the scrim layer of the membrane is the source of the membrane’s strength. The scrim protects against natural elements such as wind and hail, and from human activities that can cause punctures and tears. Additionally, reinforcement gives dimensional stability to the membrane and strength against building movement.
If you buy or specify single-ply roofing systems, your decision should be based on membrane performance, not thickness alone.
In our seventh installment in this series, we will discuss roofing system features that have a positive impact on the environment.