PVC, technically known as Polyvinyl Chloride is really vinyl roofing, though is routinely referenced as PVC roof. It directly competes with TPO and EPDM in the synthetic roof membrane arena, and indirectly with all other roofing materials including BUR, modified bitumen, and structural standing seam roofs designed for lower sloped roofs.
Membrane roofs are usually applied to flat or low-slope roofs, but using a single-ply membrane on a sloped roof is also possible and common on roofs with slopes between 1:12 and 3:12.
Why not just use traditional roofing materials (asphalt shingles or other tiles) on a low sloped roofs? Because they are very likely to leak unless a minimum specified slope for shingles or tiles has been met.
When used with a slope, the overlap of those materials are designed to shed water away from the roof deck. Whereas flat roofs have only a slight pitch, and any standing, or pooling water, could lead to immediate leaks and rotting soon thereafter.
PVC membrane is a kind of roofing material that can withstand pooling or standing water — puddles of water that accumulate on roofs with low slopes.
Cost and Values of a PVC Roof
Of the three primary membrane roof types, PVC is the most expensive. EPDM the least, and TPO in the middle. TPO allegedly offers the benefits of both the other types, yet that material keeps undergoing formula changes, and so compared to PVC and EPDM is considered less reliable, particularly when it comes to warranties.
Prices for residential installs can vary greatly. A roofer is likely to quote differently than a professional PVC installer, probably less, but also likely to not have the proper tools. A fair range, for 2017-2018, is between $6.00 and $8.50 per sq. ft. if installed by a PVC expert. On the lower end if going with less thick material.
In terms of value, durability and ROI, PVC is arguably the best, or longest lasting of the three. EPDM will go 7 to 15 years before needing replacing or re-coating. TPO is thought to go as long as PVC, but that information is either suspect or unknown for sure just yet.
PVC has been in the field for decades and unlike TPO isn’t constantly undergoing changes to the formula to address performance issues. Warranties are usually ‘lifetime’ and with proper installation, it ought to retain solid performance for 20 years or more.
Of all the material types for a roof, a liquid roof coating is perhaps the oddest. It has multiple values, several material options and is definitely worth a more in-depth look.
Understanding Liquid Roof Options
Before the mid 20th century, liquid roof existed, but in an entirely different way than today. It used to be bitumen (think mortar) mixed with fillers, such as sand, straw, and later felt paper.
The one caveat was that bitumen needed to be applied hot. Piping hot, so as to form a liquid that could spread evenly. — And dangerously hot, because at times fires would occur. That’s not good, but it was the norm, until around 1960.
Enter the age of synthetics that amount to plastic and rubber in liquid form being adhered to the roof:
From 1960 to present, there are a wide range of materials such as acrylics, EPDM, asphalt and polyester urethanes. The technical names and variations are numerous while liquid EPDM is arguably the most popular, though competition certainly exists.
A key difference is all these new age materials are applied cold, meaning there is zero need to heat them, in order to spread the material on the roof deck. They act as a membrane, which encapsulates the roof with a waterproof layer, and protects what’s underneath.
Liquid roofing is very popular with DIY roof protection for RV’s, along with commercial roofing for added protection on flat roofs. Yet, they work just as well for residential properties that have a flat or low sloping roof. If you are utterly unfamiliar with liquid roof coating, take a look at the application process below:
Cost and Value
A liquid roof coating is otherwise known as sealing or spraying on a roof over the existing low-slope roofing system.
For residential properties, it is likely the roof deck already has some former material on the home that has some known problem, i.e. is leaking or water is pooling up.
So, the cost question is what’s the price to seal the roof? And the answer is, it will vary. — It will depend on what the material is that’s being sealed (or whether it ought to be removed, or just cleaned), what the new material will be, the actual slope of the roof, and the experience along with guarantees the applicator is able to provide.
A fair ball park for a low-end application can be as low as $1,000 for liquid roof coating of an entire roof deck. Possibly as low as $300, and lower if going the DIY route, which for the inexperienced has its obvious drawbacks.
More than $1,000 would be extraordinary, but possible if there is more to the job than just adhering the liquid membrane on a flat roof with little to nothing penetrating from the roof. — Please note that the above prices reflect the cost of hiring a handyman to do the job.
If you decide to hire a professional roofing company that will pull the building permit for the job, do everything by the book and stand behind its work, then your cost will likely be a few thousand dollars to have a liquid roof coating professionally applied to a typical residential flat or low-slope roof.
Mid-Range and High-End Spray-on Liquid Roof Coating applications
Prices for a professional application of a liquid roof coating will likely be as follows:
The cost of applying a polyurethane foam coating can be as little as $3 per square foot.
The cost of acrylic coating will be between $5 to $6 per square foot.
Silicon is the agreed upon premier spray application, but the material costs can drive installation prices up to $9-$10 per square foot or more.
With value, we are looking to communicate return on investment (ROI). In our advantages section below, we present the positive values that come from such a roofing application. ROI will depend on material chosen and quality of application.
In general, 10 years of quality sealing ought to be expected. Less than that would be poor application and amount to bad ROI.
Solar-Reflective Liquid Roof Coatings
Cost of Materials for DIY Enthusiasts
With an energy-efficient, liquid-roof coating, the entire roof can be coated with a reflective material, which can make your roof more energy efficient and longer-lasting.
There are many liquid roof products on the market averaging roughly $100 for a 4.75 gallon container. A typical container can be used to cover approximately 250 square feet of roofing surface.
If you would like to have your entire roof coated, you can buy a pallet containing sixteen 4.75 gallon containers of liquid roof product such as Henry Solar-Flex White Roof Coating for about a thousand dollars at Home Depot.
A typical job of professionally applying a liquid roof coating on low slope roof will likely cost a few thousand dollars for a typical residential project.
Is the cost of applying a reflective roof coating a good investment?
Yes, applying a reflective roof coating is an excellent investment.* If the installation costs for a reflective roof coating (which vary) are slightly higher in certain situations, the long-term benefits can easily offer an attractive return on the installation investment, by providing:
Longer roof life, better durability—coatings protect the roof substrate from destructive UV
Reduced maintenance costs over the life of the roof; and coatings can provide the added bonus of being a water-resistant barrier
Better budget management due to predictable life extension of the roof (the opportunity to re-coat the roof rather than replace it)
Reduced installation risks
Minimal disruption to the occupants, operations during application, construction process, saving money in areas other than the roofing materials and application itself
A more desirable and comfortable work environment inside the building
Opportunity for energy credits, tax savings, rebates
*Coatings are considered “restoration” and not a new roof system installation. Therefore they may usually be expensed in the fiscal year during which they are applied instead of amortizing the cost over the life of the roof (as in a new membrane installation). — This can be a significant tax benefit to some building owners. Check with your CPA or CFO to properly apply this information to your own roof situation.
Is a special contractor required to install a reflective roof coating?
An experienced roofing contractor should apply the reflective roof coating.
Although the coating may look like ordinary architectural coating, successful application and long-term performance requires proper preparation, repair of leaks or damaged areas, and ultimately proper selection of the correct primer and coating system.
PVC is widely understood as a heavy duty plastic-based material. The “V” in the middle of the acronym stands for Vinyl, which in the home siding market, represents the #1 selling material for most of the US. The PVC used for siding benefits from additives that resist color fading, and increase flexibility while not sacrificing durability.
For residential siding, vinyl is quite versatile. The horizontal plank (bevel) style is the most common cladding option for vinyl, but there are many more ways it is utilized as a cladding material for homes and buildings. On the east coast, its primary competition comes from wood and fiber cement, while stucco dominates the western part of the US.
Because R-Value is a key factor when considering any siding material, it is important to note that vinyl siding takes this into consideration and that this skews its pricing data.
Generally, costs for vinyl are based on material thickness, with most residential products ranging from .040 to .046 inches thick, or about 1/16th of an inch. At that level of thickness, the R-value is unsurprisingly low.
However, vinyl comes in one of two primary variations: hollow-back and insulated, or foam-back. The foam-back provides at least 3 times (or more) the R-value, while increasing the cost by at most 3 times, or usually doubling it.
In terms of costs, Vinyl siding averages between $3.00 and $8.50 per sq. ft. installed. This breaks down to $3.00 to $5.00 on average per sq. ft. for hollow-back and $5.00 to $8.50 per sq. ft. for foam-back and/or deluxe vinyl siding.
On average, hollow-back vinyl siding installation results in a $7,000 to $12,000 overall cost for a typical two bedroom sized home in America. Foam back averages $13,000 to $20,000 for the same property.
While “average” is a bit vague, we’ll break the costs down further (next section) and explain the factors that impact costs (2 sections below).
Costing Info – Part 2
As noted above, usually when you select vinyl siding for your home, you are selecting thickness and whether it is insulated material or not. These aren’t your only options, but they contribute to the costs more than other options.
The style type is another key factor – whether panels are vertical or horizontal and whether making use of shingle or split-log style. Often the nuances within a particular style type, along with contractor experience and product quality are the additional primary factors that impact costs.
To hopefully simplify things, let’s go with 2 examples of horizontal panels and what a job may entail to help understand the costing information more in depth:
Hollow-back Vinyl Siding: 1,900 sq. ft. x $2.75 = $5,225 (includes primary material/labor) Housewrap: $200 Color Matching Existing Exterior Features: (i.e. outlet covers, wall vents, etc.) = $250 Updated Window Trim (Vinyl): $3,250 Additional Building Materials: (i.e. J-Channels, corner pieces) = $125 Nails: $55 (Optional) Detached Garage Update: (with all the above material considerations) x 700 sq.ft = additional $2,700 Building Permit: $250