In the commercial world, the goal is always to save money. That’s why when we look at the commercial buildings around us, we see that they have flat roofs.

After all, flat roofs are cheap. Not only that, but they provide space owners can use as storage or a place to relax.

Under every flat roof, there are roof membranes. Their purpose is to keep your building in good condition.

In this quick guide, you’ll see what a roof membrane does, why it’s essential, and how long you can expect them to last.

What Is a Roof Membrane?

A roof membrane is a thin, durable material designed to prevent leaks to your roof. Buildings with flat roofs use roof membranes.

They can be made from a variety of different materials. Some prefer thinner materials due to the ease of installation and maintenance.

Of course, with every type, there are also different ways to install them. Depending on what you want, it’s best to find a reliable roofing company that knows what they’re doing.

Why Are They Important?

Every roof is measured by a roof factor. These are the different degrees at which your roof slants.

Flat roofs usually have a 3/12 slope factor; some can get even as low as 5-10 degrees.

When you have a flat roof, the chances of leakage increase. This is because the low roof slope has less chance of water sliding off.

Leakages can also happen, especially when you live in an area prone to rainfall or snowfall.

Having pockets or water on your roof can destroy its quality over time. This also applies in cold climates where ice dams and the constants freezing and thawing occur.

Types of Roof Membranes

As mentioned above, there are different roof membranes to choose from. Here are some of them, and you will be able to see which membrane is suited for your roof.

They can be divided into two subcategories: thermoset and thermoplastic.


Thermoset membranes need to be heated to set permanently.

Back then, most thermoset roof membranes were made of synthetic rubber. As technologies advanced, newer thermoset membranes were created with some unique features.

These membranes are fire resistant, making them perfect for those who live in warmer or fire-prone areas. They’re also efficient. You’ll rarely lose any heat or cold with these membranes, saving you some money.


Thermoplastic membranes can be reshaped whenever you feel like it. All you have to do is reheat it. It’s not like a thermoset roof membrane that sets when it comes into contact with heat.

It’s a plasticky material that comes in large rolls that you can weld together to place on your roof.

Within these two subcategories, you can find examples of the most common roof membrane materials below.


EPDM is a type of synthetic rubber and can be identified as a thermoset roof membrane. It’s the most well-known material used for roofing options and has been around for over 40 years.

It’s affordable and easy to apply. That’s why it’s a popular choice among many commercial building owners.

It lasts for 25 to 30 years with the proper care.


PVC is a thermoplastic material that will require you to pay a little more. One reason is that it’s the option with the best energy efficiency.

With PVC roof membranes, you get UV resistance and protection. It lasts for about 20 years.


TPO is an excellent thermoplastic choice for those searching for an eco-friendly alternative. While it is still a little more expensive than EPDM, it is cheaper to install than a PVC roof membrane.

TPO lasts about 15 to 20 years if taken care of properly.

When to Replace Your Roof Membranes

Every roof and roof membrane will have a service life. Depending on your material, durability ranges from 15 to 30 years. Sometimes, they even last for longer.

However, there are times when damages to your roof are impossible to ignore. Leaving them alone will cause the problem to spread and affect other parts of your building.

So how do you know when to replace your roof membrane?


Whether you’re just noticing some leaks or if it’s been a problem for quite some time, leaks are never a good sign.

Either way, it’s best to get your roof checked. That way, you will see where the leaks are, and you can decide when you can replace your roof membrane. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Leaky roofs can cause damage to stock and items in your building.

The same can be said for any water pockets on your roof. Standing water is a sure way to get leaks.

The Building Is Old

When a building is old, it’s likely the building practices that went into making it are long out of date. The materials used won’t be as effective either.

This can lead to some damage to your roof membrane.

Whether you’ve had the building for a few years or even decades, it’s essential to inspect the roof membrane for any issues regularly. That way, you can remain alert and replace the roof membrane without it cracking or causing leaks that can damage your building.

Environmental Factors

Storms, hail, and heavy winds are all natural factors that can cause damage. In the long term, even sunlight can damage the quality of your roof.

It’s essential to have your roof checked the moment after a storm. By doing so, you can easily find any damages and fix the issue.

Get the Most Out of Your Building

Owning a business isn’t limited to its inner workings only. Your business building must also look presentable and be just as efficient on the outside.

You can accredit part of the quality of your roof membranes to the experts that install them. Professional installers have the skill and experience to ensure that your roof membrane lasts for decades.

Do you have any questions or are looking to book an appointment? Contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.