When contractors recommend single-ply membranes, property owners ask them about the benefits of flat membrane roofing.

It is understandable because the material is suspiciously affordable. In fact, the “salesy” talk of contractors make it sound like an unreliable product.

Fortunately, your contractors know what they’re talking about.

Toronto commercial properties have to go through weather cycles from ultra summer warmth to the coldest winters. Additionally, flat roofing materials can outlast decades of this weather cycle.

Here are everything you’ll know about single-ply membranes after reading this post:

  • What are Flat Membrane Roofing systems
  • The Different types of Roofing Membranes
  • The Proven Benefits of Flat Membrane Roofing
  • The Imperfections of the Material

What Are Flat Membrane Roofing Systems?

Looking from above, commercial properties seem to have a flat roof. However, these roofs only have a low slope you can only observe within a close distance.

Roofing materials such as shakes and shingles only work for properties with high slopes similar to residential property roofs.

With that said, the only roofing materials useful for commercial properties include:

You had probably guessed which is the most affordable, practical, and famous material for Toronto contractors and property owners. That’s right: single-ply roofing membranes!

commercial building with stylish architecture

Toronto commercial buildings find flat roofing membranes as affordable and effective solutions for decades of roofs.

Manufacturers create these materials from modern recyclables such as plastic and rubber. Then, they reinforce it with strengthening additives such as fiberglass, talc, sawdust, and slate dust.

The result is a roofing system with a performance parallel to its traditional counterparts but with a lower price tag.

The Different Types of Roofing Membranes

Commercial properties in Toronto choose typically from one of these three membranes. While each has varying prices, each one offers the full benefits of flat membrane roofing.


Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a membrane similar to conventional rubber roofs. Manufacturers use talc and fiberglass adding to its strength and longevity.

TPO maximizes all the benefits of flat roofing membranes including the following:

  • Effective UV ray protection with its white color
  • Durable reinforced material
  • Efficient property insulation
  • Easy to install and maintain

Most TPO flat roofing membranes require professional adhesive or mechanical fastening installation procedures. Remember: excellent roofing installation lengthens the lifespan of any roofing material.

heat-welded PVC membrane

Heat welding allows PVC to provide excellent insulation and airtight sealing.


Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the same material plastic pipe manufacturers and modern furniture makers use for their products.

However, PVC flat membrane roofing uses two or more PVC layers with a polyester scrim acting as reinforcement in between the layers.

Due to its capability, it is the most expensive single-ply membrane in the market. However, PVC offers the best benefits of flat membrane roofing including:

  • Heat-welding to provide an extremely durable and airtight seal
  • Fire resistant/self-extinguishing
  • Completely recyclable
  • Can carry up to 300 pounds per inch (PPI) meaning it can carry multiple HVAC systems
  • Chemical resistant

Heat welding is a complicated process. It requires trusted contractors to have years of experience and the right equipment to perform the task well.


If there was a roofing membrane popularity test, then EPDM will win the polls.

Ethylene propylene diene monomers (EPDM) or rubber roofs are famous for their very low price tag. However, contractors know their capacity to provide ample roofing protection for any property.

TPO can cost about $5-$6 per square foot. On the other hand, PVC costs almost the same as modified bitumen roofs per roof square.

EPDM roofs cost only $0.4 per square foot.

If you’re still suspicious about its capability to deliver the benefits of flat membrane roofing, here is the complete list of all of them.

  • Excellent water resistance
  • UV protection
  • Property insulation
  • Hailstone resistant
  • Easy to install

The most affordable EPDM only comes in the color black. However, you can get colored variants at a higher price.

flat roofing membrane upon installation

Unfortunately, flat roofing membranes are punctured by tools easily. However, they’re easy to repair.

The Proven Benefits of Flat Membrane Roofing

Strict product standards require roofing manufacturers to show data proof from stress, durability, and longevity examinations. In this light, any type of synthetic material will deliver the benefits of flat membrane roofing effectively.

As per each trait of the materials mentioned above, you have noted that roofing membranes are…


They cost less than a traditional commercial roofing material.

Metal roofs can cost about $15-$17 per square foot. You can use PVC as an alternative and save more with a price of $10-$13 per square foot.


Manufacturers observe Active Standard guidelines in creating their respective flat membrane roofing.

These standards ensure all roofing materials are hailstone-resistant, withstands harsh weather, and durable enough to last within its average lifespan.


Manufacturers estimate their high-quality roofing products to last within 25-30 years. However, for contractors, a single-ply membrane roof having existed for 30-50 years is still quite common.

Toronto properties face humid summers and cold winters. Provided there are few hailstorms happening, your membrane roof will continue providing adequate protection for years to come.

No Roofing Material is Perfect

Despite the benefits of flat membrane roofing for Toronto properties, it still has its weaknesses. However, effective maintenance can help prevent these from happening.

Weak Puncture Resistance

All materials will have leaks if sharp tools and objects puncture through the material.

For example, if a contractor steps on a nail that pushes through the membrane, it is a likely source of leaks.

However, single-ply membranes are easy to patch up with a small sheet of the material.

Adhesive Degradation (In Some Materials)

One of the benefits of flat membrane roofing is excellent UV protection.

However, UV rays can melt the adhesives attaching the membrane to the roof. This is problematic because it can introduce leaks and poor insulation in homes.

One of the best solutions is to call your trusted roofer for adhesive re-application makes it easy to repair.

benefits of flat membrane roofing

Make sure to contact a trusted contractor to maximize the benefits of flat roofing membranes

Do You Think Flat Membrane Roofing is Great For Your Property?

Now that the benefits of flat membrane roofing are clear to you, do you think it will do well as a roof for your property?

Flat roofing membrane is an affordable and durable solution for any home. Have you installed this type of roof in your property?

Share your experience below!