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Introduction To Vinyl Roofing - Your Ultimate Guide

Vinyl Roofing

While we have been helping you find the most competent roofing contractors in your area, we never miss out on an opportunity to help you understand roofing systems. Vinyl roofing is one of the less understood roofing systems especially when it comes to residential buildings. There are chances you may never have heard about it but you surely have seen it. That’s because vinyl has been trusted as one of the best roofing materials for commercial roofs for decades. Here is a brief guide about the introduction of vinyl roofing.

What Is Vinyl Roofing?

Vinyl roofing is the common name for PVC roofing. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and is a synthetic material that has been used for decades. It is a type of plastic made by the gaseous reaction of ethylene with hydrochloric acid with oxygen.

The plastic is available in the form of membranes reinforced with fiberglass non-woven mats or polyester woven scrims. The plasticized attributes lend it greater strength and durability than other roofing systems.  It is primarily used for flat roofs. The membrane is rolled out on the roof and is then secured on the deck with adhesives or nails. The addition of plastics makes it impermeable to water and punctures.

The seams of the membrane are heat welded forming a permanent watertight barrier. This major advantage makes it the perfect roofing solution for commercial buildings as it can last for more than 40 years.

Vinyl Shingle Roofing

Vinyl shingle roofing is one of the recent advancements. The sturdy PVC material is used to make discrete overlapping segments for residential and commercial roofs. The polymer's composition gives it an inherent strength.

Vinyl shingles are gaining popularity among homeowners who want to enjoy the benefits of PVC roofing but avoid the risks of flat roofs. The PVC membranes were only used on flat roofs and thus several were not fit for several home designs. The use of roofing shingles has resolved this issue.

Properly designed vinyl shingle roofing offers unmatched durability, weather resistance without any compromises on aesthetic appeals. Shingles are not available in various sizes but in different colors and textures. Once you have invested the hefty upfront cost, you don’t have to worry about the curb appeal of your house or the integrity of the roofing system. The best part of vinyl shingle roofing is that it requires little to no maintenance throughout its lifespan.

Vinyl Roofing Material

Vinyl roofing material has appeared to be a dependable choice and continues to rise in popularity because of its amazing number of benefits. One of the most important advantages is its Eco-friendliness. As rising temperatures and prolonged heat waves are fast becoming a major challenge in urbanized areas, light-colored PVC roofs appear to be the solution.

Conventional roofs are heat-absorbing surfaces whereas vinyl roofing material cab effectively reflects up to 80% of the sunrays. White PVC roof emits at least 70% of the solar radiation the building absorbs. Cool roofs can keep the temperatures ambient thus reducing the energy consumption of HVAC systems.

Here is an interesting example for you. During a full sunny day, a black low-slope roof may experience a temperature increase of as much as 50 to 90 degrees. Midday temperatures may reach up to 150 to 190 degrees in summer. Whereas a white PVC roof on the same commercial building generally increases only 10 to 25 degrees above ambient temperatures. This lowers the surrounding air temperature and reduces smog formation.

Commercial Vinyl Roofing

Vinyl roofing is typically recommended for commercial buildings with intricate cosmetic features. Vinyl’s functional strength dovetails with its aesthetic properties hence making it a perfect choice for challenging features. The complex roof curvatures, lines, and details all look great without any fear of water leakage. As it remains watertight in constant dampness and fluctuating pH conditions, it is considered the waterproofing membrane of a green planted roof.

Commercial buildings often need to have rooftop logos. Incorporating such rooftop logos in vinyl roofing is just a matter of cutting the templates and adhering them to the surface. If you need specific hues, they are available in a wide spectrum of hues. Typically, vinyl roofing is seen in white, beige, or grey but you can opt for your favorite hue to match or enhance the aesthetic properties of the building.

Residential Vinyl Roofing

Homeowners are always hunting for roofing solutions that do not leak and last for years. The vinyl appears to be a promising roofing material for residential roofs as well. Although it is not commonly used for residential buildings yet, its use is expected to increase. It's lightweight and virtually leakproof. As it is heat welded at the seams, vinyl roofing is also a good choice for roof gardens.

If you are living in a storm-prone area, the vinyl roof can endure the onslaught of hurricanes quite effectively. Although it is a bit more expensive than an asphalt shingle roof, it helps you save money in the long run. But there is a catch for homeowners with an asphalt roof. If you are planning to install vinyl roofing, the asphalt roof has to be completely removed. That’s because vinyl and asphalt do not mix well. If you install a PVC membrane over the existing asphalt roof, vinyl will discolor, will become stiff, and age prematurely. Whereas the asphalt shingles will soften, deteriorate and begin to bleed.

Vinyl Roofing Membrane

Vinyl roofing membranes are typically used for flat roofs. The membrane is reinforced with the addition of plastics that make it impervious to leaks and dents. It is chemically resistant and can be secured on the roof deck with industrial adhesives or screws. The seams are sealed making a watertight roofing system. These membranes come in a wide variety of thicknesses and flexibility. Unlike other roofing materials used for flat roofing systems, a thicker membrane offers better protection and the roof is more resistant to cracking or splitting.

Vinyl Roofing Cost

The cost of vinyl roofing depends on several factors. The most important factors are the size and shape of the roof, material finish choice, surface area, labor rate, require preparation, and any special requirements by the client. If you are hiring a roofing contractor to replace a 2900 square foot asphalt roof with vinyl roofing, expect to pay around $9000.

Removal of asphalt roof costs $64 inclusive of the costs of stripping the structure up to the underlying sheath. New roof installation costs, $4200, include installation of one dormer, all ridge and valley metal, boots, flashing, nails, fasteners, felt sheet, and edging. The remaining expenses include disposal of hazardous materials and labor costs.

Lifespan Of Vinyl Roofing

Once properly installed, vinyl roofing can keep protecting your building for more than 30 years on average. If you are good at preventive maintenance, the lifespan can be pushed to more than 40 years. As the PVC membranes are tear and water-resistant, there is little to no risk of rotting and mold growth. Flat roofs and architecturally complex roof designs have slightly different lifespans. Flat roofs last longer whereas the complex curvatures, ridges, and design are vulnerable to damages, especially during high extremely harsh weather.

Vinyl Roofing vs Wood vs Shingles vs Cedar: Which Is Best?

The most important factors to consider are lifespan, architectural style, maintenance costs, and sustainability. There was a time when vinyl roofing was not as durable as it is today. The material warped and cracked. Homeowners kept choosing wood and cedar for building homes. These roofing materials were also considered reliable for all sorts of commercial buildings.

With technological advancements and a better understanding of PVC and its additives, vinyl has emerged to be the longest-lasting roofing material. It is water-resistant, weather-resistant, and withstands high temperatures. The impact and moisture resistance make vinyl far better than wood and cedar. But still, there are people who prefer the look and aesthetic appeal of wood over every other material. Wood is easy to install and you can find several craftsmen to customize and stylize it thus making it a suitable choice for making architectural details.

History Of Vinyl Roofing

This low slope high performing roofing solution has a strange history. Vinyl has been a popular choice of roofing material for auto motives. It was first used in the late 1920s, often used with “landau bars” as decorative trim to recreate the look of adjustable canopy tops on horse-drawn carriages. The luxury cars of the twentieth century were equipped with padded vinyl roofs. Back in 1950, when builders were struggling with the complaints filed against aluminum sidings, they started using vinyl sidings. Thanks to advancing technology, vinyl siding improved in both chemistry makeup and ease of installation. Since then there is no looking back.

Pros And Cons Of Vinyl Roofing

If you are considering roof replacement, there are several options out there. Vinyl roofing or more technically, PVC roofing has been a popular choice for commercial buildings. It is gaining popularity for residential buildings as well. Available in the form of rubber sheets or panels, vinyl has some advantages and disadvantages. Following is an account of the pros and cons of this roofing material.

Pros Of Vinyl Roofing

Long Lifespan

A properly installed vinyl roofing can last for more than 40 years whereas the conventional asphalt shingle roof only lasts for 20 years. PVC or vinyl roofing membranes are made up of flexible polymer reinforced with fiberglass non-woven mats or polyester woven scrims. All of these components ensure the dimensional stability, durability, and capacity of the vinyl roofing. 

Reduces Energy Costs

Vinyl roofing is a reliable choice for anyone looking for eco-friendly roofing materials. That’s because PVC is prevented the loss of heat. Whether it’s hot or cold inside, it will prevent the exchange of heat between the building roof and the surrounding environment. This significantly reduces the energy costs incurred by the heating and cooling systems of the buildings. If you are living in a bustling city, vinyl roofing also mitigates the heat island effect.

Weather Resistance

One of the best features of vinyl roofing is that it is extremely weather-resistant. The heat-welded seams form a permanent and unswerving bond that can endure high-impact winds. These seams are water-tight and provide better water resistance as compared to other commercial roofing systems. Once properly installed, it can stay water-tight in tough conditions such as constant dampness, ponding water, high and low alkalinity. Exposure to plant roots, fungi, and bacteria rarely impact vinyl roofing.

Low Maintenance

The amazing durability comes with another perk. Vinyl roof requires nothing too low maintenance in comparison to conventional roofing. The slick surface allows dust, debris, cobwebs, and other undesirable items to be slid off the roof. Once it gets dirty, use a water hose to wash the roof and it will come clean as the day it was installed.

Cons Of Vinyl Roofing

Upfront Costs

If you compare the cost of conventional and PVC roofs, the latter is a bit more expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere between $1.50 to $5.50 per sq. foot for asphalt shingle roof whereas vinyl roofing costs between $6 to $9.50. It is still considered a reasonable roofing material as compared to wooden or cedar shingles.

Prone To Dents

Vinyl roofing is durable unless it is damaged with a strong impact from a tough material such as a stone or a swaying tree branch. The panels can dent and break affecting the curb appeal of the entire roofing system.

FAQs About Vinyl Roofing

Which Is Better Vinyl Or Conventional Roofing?

If you are looking for a roofing solution that can last long, endure harsh weather conditions, and does not harm your environment, vinyl roofing is better than conventional roofing. This is the most suitable roofing material for buildings in urban areas with minimal maintenance costs. Once you pay the upfront cost, you can enjoy a vast range of benefits.

Where To Buy Roofing Vinyl?

You can consult a reliable roofing expert in your area to buy roofing vinyl. Sone of the best manufacturers in the US includes IB roof systems and Weather Bond. You can also purchase roofing vinyl from Home Depot and Lowes.

How To Install Metal Roofing Against Vinyl Siding?

Once you have secured all of the metal roof panels, it’s time to secure the metal against vinyl siding. Allow the metal roof trim to run past the end of the roof and past the ridgeline. Cut and bend the trim after marking it accurately. Fix it over the ridge and eave end. Ensure that it fits perfectly. Now remove it for a while and apply seal tape to the nailing flange. Now use exposed fasteners to secure the metal trim over the siding.

How To Remove Roofing Cement From Vinyl Siding?

It's best to remove roofing cement from vinyl siding when it is wet. You can use a wet cloth and a soft brush to remove the residues. If the cement is dried, you will need a mild acid to soften the cement. Grout and Haze's remover is an effective solution to remove roofing cement from vinyl siding. Softening the cement is crucial otherwise you may inflict serious mechanical damage to the vinyl surface.

Which Is Better Vinyl Or Conventional Roofing?

If you are looking for a reliable commercial roofing solution that can last for more than four decades, vinyl roofing is the best option for you. It is better than conventional roofing in terms of cost efficiency, energy efficiency, durability, and water resistance.

What Kind Of Glue Is Used For Vinyl Roofing?

If you are looking for a high-strength bond, cyanoacrylate adhesive is the best choice. The industrial adhesive has a bond strength that exceeds that of EPDM. You need glue that offers fast and effective binding at angle changes, steep slopes, and vertical details of the roof.

Why Does Vinyl Roofing Turn Black?

Vinyl roofing turns greenish-black over time because of the algae or moss growth, especially when you see the stains on the northern side. The shades prevent adequate drying from sunlight and thus you may see patches of discoloration. The intense black-colored patches on your vinyl roof are because of mold growth.

What Kind Of Roofing Felt Can Be Used Under Vinyl Flooring?

ISO or EPS foam boards are the most commonly used insulation or roofing felts under vinyl roofing. Both of these insulation boards have an R-value that ranges from 4-R to 6-R per 1 inch of insulation thickness.

How To Cut Vinyl Roofing?

Standard 2-by-10-foot PVC sheets are available in a wide range of thicknesses. Lighter sheets can be cut using sheet metal scissors. For thicker sheets and panels, you will need a circular saw with 60-tooth or 80-tooth blade. Once you have measured and marked the panels, set up the saw and blade. Secure the panels with clamps, put on your safety glasses, and start cutting.

How To Install Vinyl Roofing Panels?

Cut the panels to the desired length and drill the holes on the ridges. Place the panels directly onto the purlins starting from the outer edge. Install the panels by securing the edges with screws and polycarbonate washers. Cover the back end properly and install a ridge cap as you proceed with panels.

Are There Any Roofing Contractors Who Work with Vinyl Roofing?

Yes, there are several roofing contractors that can work with vinyl roofing. If you are looking for a reliable name, our experienced roofing contractors are here to help you. We have been serving residential and commercial building owners with reliable vinyl roofing solutions for years. Contact us for quick estimates and dependable services.