Are Rubber Single-Ply Roofs in Arizona Worth It?
If you’re currently shopping around for a solution to your flat roof needs, you’ve probably come across rubber single-ply roofing as an option.
Single-ply roofing is a common roofing type in Arizona and is frequently used as an alternative to polyurethane foam roofing (or the more old-school tar and gravel.) Single-ply roofs can certainly have some advantages over their competitors, but the question is: Are they worth it?
We’ll be upfront with our opinion here at Landmark Roofing – we don’t much care for single-ply roofs, and we think there’s a much better solution for flat roofs in Arizona. But don’t take our word for it – take a closer look for yourself at some of the facts surrounding this kind of roof.
Let’s break down some of the pros and cons of single-ply roofing, and give you a chance to compare them with what some other types of roof can offer.
What Rubber Single-Ply Roofing Is
Maybe you’ve heard this kind of flat roof called by its former name, PVC. But these days, most modern flat roofs aren’t really PVC anymore. Rather, today’s rubber single-ply roofs are comprised of a higher-quality, longer-lasting composite.
Essentially, these roofs are comprised of a rubber sheet rolled out and secured to the top of a flat roof. Although there are a few different ways of securing the sheet to the roof deck, pieces of the sheet are typically cut out and secured to the roof using a number of small mounting plates to hold them in place.
The Pros and Cons of Rubber Single-Ply Roofs
As with any roof, you’ll find both pros and cons to take into consideration, and it’s no different with rubber single-ply roofs.
Pro: Rubber Single-Ply Roofs are Cheaper
The biggest pro most people benefit from with this kind of flat roof is its affordable price point.
- On average, it’s around 25% cheaper than the cost to install a more permanent foam roof, so it’s easy to see why this is an attractive candidate for those looking into flat roofing options.
But despite the low cost, any single-ply comes up short in the durability department. This means they have a much shorter life span. And most people find this is due to three main disadvantages to this kind of roof:
Single-Ply Roofs have Many Pieces and are Harder to Install.
Compared to foam flat roofs, which consist of a single monolithic application that is sprayed on, rubber single-ply roofs include a number of components with their installation. They are mechanically fastened and rarely fully adhere. This allows moisture to seep more easily beneath the roofing and cause wide-spreading leaks that can severely damage your roof’s support structure, or worse.
Single Ply Roofs are Vulnerable to Punctures and Gouging
Animals, debris, and even just people walking around on a single ply roof can also gouge the surface and puncture the roof. In our four decades of experience, we usually see this kind of roof begin to deteriorate as early as 2 or 3 years after installation. And although rubber single-ply roofing is a very affordable option, you get what you pay for and might be looking at repair costs a few years after having a single-ply roof installed.
Your Single-Ply Flat Roof Warranty is Likely Useless
Though they do often come with a 10 to 20 year warranty, it’s common for these warranties to be voided early on due to how easy it is for this specific kind of roof to leak. Another issue with rubber single-ply roofs is finding a manufacturer that is still in business after 20 years to claim your warranty through.
At Landmark Roofing, we are the “manufacturer” of our own flat roofing materials, and we’ve been around since the 1970s – we are a multi-generational family business and a trusted Arizona roofing installer that has been around for over 40 years. Unlike other roofers that have gone out of business too soon, we’re here to stay!
Our Verdict on Rubber Single-Ply Roofs: Just Say NO
Yes, at one time we installed single-ply roofs. But time marches on. Technology improves. And our days as single-ply roofers are history.
After many years of experience with flat roofs, we discovered that despite our painstaking attention to detail, these single-ply roofs would eventually fail and leak, regardless of how well the installation job was done. This upset our customers and frustrated us.
In the end, it reinforced our moral obligation to only install roofs for our customers that are durable and will last for decades to come.
This is why we strongly recommend that you look into a more reliable roofing type, and just say no to rubber single-ply roofs – we do, and our customers are much better off for it!
A Better Roofing Solution: Polyurethane Spray Foam Roofing
If you haven’t already guessed, here at Landmark, polyurethane foam is our flat roof of choice.
Compared to single-ply roofing, not only is it easier to maintain and more environmentally friendly; it’s cheaper in the long run. Statistics show how likely it is that with a polyurethane foam surface, you’ll never have to replace your roof again! So yes, it’s more expensive to install. But over the life of your “lifetime roof” you pay astoundingly less.
After seeing the track record of single-ply roofing, and having installed many foam roofs over the years, we can honestly say that polyurethane foam is clearly the superior choice.
We’d love to help you make the most of your flat roof. To learn about what we can do for you, feel free to check out our foam roofing offerings.
Transitioning from a Single-Ply Roof to a Foam Roof
Already have a single-ply roof? There’s hope!
Single-ply roofs just aren’t the right solution for Arizona residents. They make no long-term financial sense. But if you’re already stuck with an aging single-ply roof, we can apply a foam roof right over top of it (or virtually any other roofing type). That’s part of the beauty of spray foam.
We can also repair and patch all roof types (including single-ply), even if we don’t offer it as a full installation option. Again, our main flat roof offering, polyurethane foam roofing, is more durable, long-lasting, and will protect your home or business for years to come.
We are also happy to chat with you at no obligation about what type of roof you currently have and what you’re going to need in the future – just send us a quick message or give us a call.