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What is PVC roofing?

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. It is a type of plastic that's well known for it's affordability and durability. PVC is used in a wide variety of products including home and commercial roofs. PVC roofing is also known as vinyl roofing membrane. It is made from two layers of roofing material with a layer of polyester in between to act as a reinforcement.

Why choose PVC?

PVC roofing is often used for restaurants because it is resistant to animal fats. PVC roofing has been around since the 1970s. Along with TPO roofing, it also has an active recycling program. A PVC roof holds-up very well to even the harshest weather, including hail. It is cost-effective, very durable, fire-resistant, reflective, reliable, strong, lightweight, and long-lasting.

How long will a PVC roof last?

PVC has an average lifespan of at least 25 years

How much does a PVC roof cost?

On average, the total cost to install a PVC roof is between $4 and $8 per square foot. By comparison, TPO roofing costs between $3.5 and $6.00 per square foot.

Learn more about the differences between the commercial roofing systems in our Guide to Commercial Roofing.

How is a PVC roof installed?

PVC roofing is installed one of two ways: glued or welded. In each method, attaching the plastic sheets to the insulation board helps prevent uplift.

1. Glued:
A lesser used method is to glue the plastic sheets together. The edge of each plastic sheet are attached to a ridged insulation board using glue.

2. Welded:
The most common method of installing PVC roofing is what's called "hot air welding". This is where the edge of each 6' to 18' wide sheet is secured through ridged insulation onto a structural deck, and the next sheet roll is laid down over the fasteners. The overlapping sheets are then heat-welded with hot air to create a one continuous sheet membrane.

Welding with hot air creates a permanent bond between the PVC roofing sheets, essentially creating one large roofing membrane for your building which can be walked on. The sheets can often be re-welded, with the exception of CSPE (chlorosulfonated polyethylene). PVC roofing works well on both large buildings, such as big box stores, and small roofs since it's easy to weld with hot air.


  • often used for restaurants
  • been around since the 1970s
  • average lifespan of 25 years
  • holds-up to harsh weather
  • recyclable
  • cost $4-$8/sf

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