PVC is rare as a commercial roofing material, and standing seam PVC roofs are even rarer still. Very few people have seen them before. "Standing seam" is actually a misnomer — it just refers to a final decorative touch that's put on the roof after it's installed.
PVC is a single-ply membrane roofing system like EPDM and TPO, both of which are more commonly seen in commercial roofing. It's rolled out onto your building's roof and the adjacent strips are welded together. After fastening it to your roof, custom-manufactured ridges are welded to the top of the roof in order to make it look exactly like a standing seam metal roof. This is only possible with PVC as a roofing material, as it's very easy to create durable welds.
Additionally, the PVC rolls can be manufactured in any color you wish. If you're replacing your current standing seam metal roof or if your new building design calls for one, PVC can sometimes be a better option. To help you make the decision, read on for a comparison between PVC and metal for a standing seam roof.
Standing seam metal roofs are one of the most expensive types that you can have installed on your commercial building. The materials are expensive, installation is expensive and it's even expensive to have them torn down and removed.
This makes cost a major selling point for a standing seam PVC roof. PVC is one of the more expensive single-ply roofing materials, but it's less expensive than metal. In addition, it's easier to install and remove — instead of meticulously joining metal panels, the PVC rolls are simply welded together. With a PVC roof, your building can have the look of a standing seam metal roof without the associated cost.
Another advantage that PVC roofs have over metal ones is that they're completely waterproof. While standing seam metal roofs aren't as vulnerable to rust as their exposed fastener counterparts, the panels can still begin to rust if their protective coating wears off.
Worse, rust can quickly spread throughout an entire metal roof, and the only solution will be to tear it down and replace it. It's a major vulnerability of metal roofs, and PVC roofs don't share it — they'll never be damaged by water.
One area where metal has an advantage over PVC is its resistance to being punctured. Like all single-ply membrane roofing systems, PVC can be punctured by large hailstones. Contractors may accidentally puncture it while working on your roof as well. Metal roofs are more durable in this regard. Hailstones will sometimes dent them, but it's rare for hail to cause structural damage.
However, it's possible to quickly repair punctures on a PVC roof by cutting out the punctured area and spot-welding another patch of PVC in. Because of this, puncture damage isn't a great concern as long as you're receiving regular inspections from a commercial roofing service. You'll be able to spot and repair the damage before leaks begin to grow.
Overall, a standing seam PVC roof is a valid and less expensive alternative to a metal one. In some cases, it can even be a better choice — an area that receives a large amount of rainfall has a greater chance of causing a metal roof to rust, while a PVC roof would hold up better. Before you commit to a standing seam metal roof, you might try visiting sites for commercial roofing services and ask about a PVC alternative.