Choosing a suitable material for your new roof is among the most critical decisions you can make. The fact that it has been used in construction for 40 years has led to some myths about its safety. We’ve conducted research to determine whether the PVC roof and the person walking across it are safe.
It’s a popular misconception that walking on PVC roofing will create spiderweb cracking. However, it can hold up to a person’s weight if the decking under it is strong enough. The roof is more likely to be damaged by a tool than walking on it.
PVC is capable of supporting your weight but is slippery when wet. You may have more questions now that you understand PVC roofing. Read on to know how PVC roofing is installed, how long it lasts, and other frequently asked questions.
For more than forty years, PVC materials were used in construction. Their specifications have been assessed and improved over time, resulting in a solid material. PVC is entirely safe to walk on as far as roof safety is concerned.
A person walking across the material should cause no damage to it. The only thing to avoid is dropping tools or other sharp tools onto it. This is because they have the potential to puncture the material.
While PVC is sufficiently strong to support a person’s weight, it isn’t entirely safe for the person walking across it. PVC is a slippery material and is exacerbated when cold or wet.
Walking on PVC creates a high risk of slipping and falling, resulting in severe injuries on a sloped roof. If you must walk on PVC roofing, the preferred option is to wear gripping shoes. You should also avoid shuffling your feet, move slowly, and keep an eye on your balance to prevent falls.
For most people, installing a PVC roof isn’t a do-it-yourself project. This is because heat welding is needed to seal the seams and is best left to experienced roofers.
Remember that most issues with PVC roofing occur as a result of improper installation, not the material. Thus, the installation is the most critical step.
The installation procedure is quite simple and can be summarized in these simple steps.
- Prepare the decking material
- Arrange the material
- Seams should be welded
- Glue the flashings in place
There are typically three methods for installing PVC roofing, and they include:
A fully adhered installation entails gluing the PVC sections together using an adhesive. This type will work if the average temperature in the region is greater than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
A fully adhered installation is preferred for impenetrable roofs, such as concrete. The primary disadvantage of this type is that condensation can form beneath the material, loosening it from the roof. Even if the material is correctly bonded, it requires mechanical components around the roof’s perimeter.
Mechanical installation involves the roof being held together by components. The material is secured to the roof with heavy plates and screws, making it an ideal choice for high wind areas. Flat roofs constructed in this manner are virtually impervious to hurricanes.
The ballasted installation refers to a system in which the material is held by its weight. This means that no bolts or screws are used, and no adhesive is used.
The PVC will be placed loosely on a roof, and a layer of rocks will be placed over it. Hence, the material is held in place by the weight.
PVC and TPO roofing are both used on low-sloped roofs for similar applications. The difference between the two materials can be found in their chemical composition.
TPO roofing is composed of an ethylene or polyethylene thermoplastic resin covalently linked to ethylene propylene rubber. PVC is synthesized by polymerizing vinyl chloride monomers and then adding plasticizers to increase flexibility.
However, you’re probably wondering what that means in practice. In the following lists, we’ll dissect a few of the differences in their attributes.
- More efficient use of energy
- Due to the stiffness, installation is more challenging
- The cost per square foot is lower
- Superior resistance to deterioration and punctures
- Chemically more resistant
- Exceptionally robust
- Installation is simplified
The best way to distinguish between TPO and PVC is to examine the shelf material labels. It is unlikely that you could differentiate between the two materials simply by looking at them. Once applied, there is no visual distinction between the two.
The only way to know for sure is to feel the material. This is true because PVC has a more waxy and malleable feel than TPO, and it also has a distinct odor. Unless you’re intimately familiar with the materials, you’re unlikely to notice the difference.
For well over four decades, PVC has been used in construction. It has been analyzed and tested for the best formulas and binding materials during that time.
A properly installed PVC roof should have at least 25 years of life expectancy. Ensure you hire a reputable contractor, as the installation is more critical than the materials for a PVC roof’s durability.
Generally, all PVC brands have the same lifespan. While it’s been stated in this post, the best way to determine how long a PVC roof will last is the installation. Utilize an experienced and qualified contractor to ensure that your PVC roof lasts as long as possible.
PVC roofing should cost between $4 and $7 per square foot, including labor. Additionally, it isn’t unusual for it to cost between $8 and $12.
The overall cost of a roof of an average size of around 1500 square feet can range between $6,000 and $18,000. If segments of a roof have to be removed, expect to pay an additional dollar per square foot for removal.
The primary factor affecting the cost of a PVC roof is the roof’s square footage, but it isn’t the only factor. Furthermore, the prices of various colors and patterns can differ.
White is the most frequently used color because it is reflective and contributes to a structure’s energy efficiency. Additionally, PVC roofing is available in black, grey, tan, and other colors. Certain varieties are patterned and appear from a distance to be shingles.
So is it really safe to walk on PVC roofing? PVC roofing is safe to walk on, and it’s infrequent for someone to damage PVC roofing simply by walking on it. The real dangers arise when the roofing is wet or cold, making it slippery and easy to fall.
While it’s unlikely to cause damage to the PVC, it’s wise to avoid walking on it to prevent possible falls.
Regular inspections are crucial for extending the life of your PVC roof. Apart from routine examinations, have your roof inspected following severe weather events.
Occasionally, roofing damage does not manifest itself until the problem has progressed. By addressing leaks promptly, you can avoid mold, mildew, rot, and other costly problems.