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Should You Choose Single Ply Roofing Or Felt Roofing?

Single-ply roofing emerges as the superior choice compared to felt roofing, prioritising durability, low maintenance, and environmental consciousness. On the other hand, felt roofing presents itself as a cost-effective alternative.

What is single ply roofing?

Single-ply roofing refers to a type of roofing material made up of a single layer or ply of roofing membrane. These membranes are typically synthetic and come in large rolls.

What is a single ply roofing membrane?

Single-ply roofing membrane refers explicitly to the layer or sheet of material used in single-ply roofing systems. 

Different types of single-ply roofing membranes have unique characteristics. For example, TPO is known for its energy efficiency, PVC for its chemical resistance, and EPDM for its durability. It can be obtained through single ply membrane suppliers

What is felt roofing?

Felt roofing is a type of roofing system that uses multiple layers of felt paper to cover a roof. The felt paper is saturated with asphalt or tar, which makes it waterproof. Felt roofing is a traditional roofing material that has been used for centuries. It’s less expensive than single-ply roofing, but it’s also less durable and requires more maintenance.

What are the advantages of using single ply roofing over felt roofing?

Here is a table comparing the two types of roofing systems:

FeatureSingle-ply roofingFelt roofing
CostMore expensiveLess expensive
Lifespan25-30 years10-20 years
Guarantee25 years 10 years
MaintenanceLow maintenanceHigh maintenance
DurabilityMore durableLess durable
WaterproofingWaterproofWaterproof
Fire resistanceFire resistantNot fire resistant
UV resistanceUV resistantNot UV resistant
Environmental impactRecyclableNot recyclable

Single-ply roofing is a better choice than felt roofing for most applications. A significant benefit of single-ply roofing membranes is that they can often be cold applied, reducing the fire hazard during installation. 

In contrast to traditional roofing systems, like those using bitumen felt, which may require heat application through methods such as torching. The cold application of single-ply membranes can enhance safety during installation, as it eliminates the need for open flames or hot asphalt, which can pose fire risks. Cold application methods can also facilitate a faster and more straightforward installation process.

What are the pros and cons of felt roofing?

Pros of felt roofing:

  • Affordability: Felt roofing is the cheaper option.
  • Strength: Felt roofs are solid and durable.
  • Widely available: Felt is a widely available roofing material, so you don’t necessarily need to find a specialist to install it.

Cons of felt roofing:

  • Shorter lifespan: Felt roofs have a shorter lifespan than single ply roofs, averaging around 25 years.
  • More maintenance: Felt roofs require more maintenance than single ply roofs, as they are more prone to damage over time, such as splitting, cracking and UV damage.
  • Less environmentally friendly: Felt roofs are not as environmentally friendly as single ply roofs, as they cannot be recycled and must be disposed of in a landfill.

Final thoughts

Single ply roofing and felt roofing are both viable options for flat roofs. However, single ply roofing offers several advantages over felt roofing, including a longer lifespan, greater durability, lower maintenance requirements, and higher energy efficiency.

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