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7 things to know about the elastomeric membrane

Last modified: 2022-06-27 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Although asphalt shingles are a still popular roofing choice, homeowners with flat roofs often opt for the elastomeric membrane.

While it offers many advantages, the elastomeric membrane is still not as well known as other roofing options available on the market. This is why we decided to present 7 things to know about this type of roofing material.

All about the elastomeric membrane

1- It’s expensive

Since renovation material choices are closely linked to your planned budget, it’s difficult to ignore this aspect. Thus, it’s important to mention that elastomeric membrane costs between $9,50 and $15 per square foot, a price that’s comparable to sheet metal.

Therefore, this roof covering is more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles. However, it should still be emphasized that the elastomeric membrane has a long lifespan if properly maintained. More specifically, it’s estimated to be between 25 and 40 years.

2- It's made up of 2 layers

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The elastomeric membrane is actually made up of two layers, which is why it’s categorized as being bilayer. More specifically, it can be said that the elastomeric membrane has a base membrane as well as another that acts as a finish.

The latter consists of very fine ceramic grains which give it its final colour, which is often gray or white. Note that it’s also possible to choose green, beige or even brown gravel.

3- It can be installed in two different ways

Unlike most materials that have a well-defined installation technique, the elastomeric membrane can be installed in two distinct ways. Indeed, it can be installed by torch, which allows the two coats (the main coat and the topcoat) to adhere together. As the joints are fusion welded, this method ensures a high seal to the entire roof covering.

Secondly, be aware that the elastomeric membrane can also be installed using sections of membrane fitted with self-adhesive strips, allowing the different parts to bond. This cold laying technique limits the fire risks posed by the first suggested method.

In either case, it’s essential to enlist the expertise of a professional to ensure that the membrane is installed correctly. Otherwise, the seal could be compromised. Moreover, note that certified roofers have the knowledge required to avoid starting a fire as much as possible if the membrane is installed using a torch.

In addition, keep in mind that forgetting certain welds (around ventilation devices, skylights or plumbing vents) can compromise both the seal and the life of the membrane.

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4- This material has a number of advantages

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From the outset, let's say that the elastomeric membrane has a very high resistance to impact, temperature variations, and ultraviolet rays. Why is this? Firstly because it has a granulated topcoat which is a very effective form of protection and secondly because it has remarkable elasticity. Due to this material’s strength, the elastomeric membrane requires little repair to remain in good condition.

In general, it should also be mentioned that an elastomeric membrane requires little maintenance. In this regard, it’s especially recommended that you inspect the roof once a year to ensure that it doesn’t need repairs in certain places. In addition, it’s essential to ensure that the drain is functioning properly so that it can effectively evacuate water from the roof when needed.

5- Water can cause damage and shorten its lifespan

Despite its great durability, the elastomeric membrane doesn’t tolerate the presence of stagnant water on its surface. Thus, ice, as well as algae, can deteriorate the aggregate if they remain on the roof for an extended period. This is why we strongly recommend the installation of a drain of at least 4 inches in diameter on the roof in order to evacuate any standing water.

6- It’s mostly used for flat roofs

blocs d'appartements en hiver_7 choses à savoir sur la membrane élastomère_Soumission Rénovation

In general, this type of coating is found on flat or very low slope roofs, most often on commercial or institutional buildings. In particular, it can be used on sloping roofs as an underlay.

7- It’s not an eco-responsible choice

Unfortunately, since the elastomeric membrane is a derivative of asphalt, strictly speaking, it’s not an eco-responsible choice. In fact, currently, this type of roof covering isn’t recyclable in Quebec.

Do you need more information on the subject? Check out these articles:

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