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Polymer Roofing: Pros & Cons

polymer roofing pros and cons

Polymer roofing is a popular choice for many homeowners. These roofs are made of polymers that are created to look like traditional shingles or tiles, but offer the protection of rubber.

They come in a variety of colors and styles, which makes them easy to match with the design scheme of any home.

The pros include their durability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions without cracking or sagging.

However, there are also cons associated with this type of roofing – it’s not as energy-efficient as other types on the market today, so it will cost you more each month on your utility bills.

What is Polymer Roofing?

Polymer Roofing is also known as liquid rubber or liquid roof. It is an alternative to traditional asphalt shingle roofing materials.

Instead of the usual three-tab or architectural style shingles, polymer comes in a bucket and is mixed on site before being sprayed onto the roof deck.

When it cures (dries), polymer forms a tough, waterproof membrane that is similar to rubber. It can have a textured or smooth finish.

Advantages of Polymer Roofing

  • Lightweight compared to traditional roofing materials.
    • A gallon of polymer weighs about 40 pounds, while a gallon of asphalt shingle material usually weighs about 80 pounds.
    • This means fewer trips for the roofers and less chance of injury.
  • Polymer can be applied in thicker layers than asphalt shingles, providing greater insulation and a longer lifespan (up to 50 years).
  • It does not contain any granules like traditional shingles; therefore it will not become clogged with dirt and dust, reducing the risk of roof fires.
  • Polymer is porous, so it absorbs and evaporates rainwater instead of allowing it to penetrate the roof deck. This lowers the risk of rot and mold growth.
  • It is also tear-resistant and will not crack under extreme weather conditions like common asphalt shingles can.

Disadvantages of Polymer Roofing

  • Polymer is more expensive than asphalt shingles and requires a longer application time (8 to 10 hours vs. 4 to 6 hours for traditional roofs).
    • This increases labor costs.
    • Also, if proper ventilation is not provided, the fumes can irritate workers’ eyes and lungs.
  • The polymer roof deck should be especially smooth before application, or else the product will not bond to the surface.
  • Polymer has a heavy initial weight (128 pounds per 100 square feet), which can put extra stress on roof decks and parapets during installation. Eventually gravity will even out the material, but this does represent an increased risk for damage or collapse that must be accounted for during the estimate.
  • Polymer is not available in a wide range of colors, so it may be necessary to add an additional layer of paint or other surface treatment to achieve the desired aesthetics.
    • Also, polymer roof tiles are relatively flat and lack architectural detail when compared with asphalt shingles.

Note: Polymer roofs typically do not include a base layer of felt paper, so if asphalt shingles are being removed from the roof deck, it is necessary to add an extra layer of protection with 30-pound building paper before applying polymer.

What is Fiberglass Shingle Polymer Roofing?

The fiberglass shingle polymer roofs have been around since the 1970’s. They are a synthetic fiberglass mat saturated with asphalt and other ingredients.

These roofs have been used as a cap sheet on top of existing shingles or as a substrate for adhered architectural shingles.

The technique has been around since the 1970’s but has not been widely used because it is more expensive than traditional roofing materials, due to the cost of fiberglass.

The surfaces can be textured or smooth, and they come in a wide range of colors.

It is important to ensure that all nails are covered with roofing cement to prevent corrosion from water penetration between substrate layers during installation.

How much does Polymer Roofing Costs?

Costs can vary from model to manufacturer and it is best not to look into cost as the only factor.

Find a quality product that fits your needs, whether these are finance related or environmental, if you want it long lasting and durable.

A good roofing company will be able to help you find a solution within your budget while looking at all other factors in roofing.

Polymer roofing material in itself is not in itself very expensive, but the installation cost can make it quite an expense.

Depending on your area and the type of building you are considering this for (residential or commercial) you should expect to pay between $7.00-10.00 per sq ft installed.

Some companies will charge a premium for polymer roof installation because of the specialized tools and skills needed to install it.

Whilst this is more expensive than regular roofs, it actually comes out cheaper in the long run.

You can find a company that will offer you a non-prorated warranty of 15-20 years on its installations, meaning no further expenses in the future.

This is far longer than traditional roofs, which only offer you a two or three-year warranty.

Polymer roofing provides greater security for your investment and will pay for itself many times over because of this.

Be wary if a contractor offers you a much lower price! It could be that they are cutting corners to reduce costs somewhere, this could come back to haunt you when your roof starts leaking in the middle of winter.

Is polymer roofing  worth it?

Once installed, polymer roofs can last up to 30-50 years or even more with decent care (a traditional metal roof will only last 10-15 years).

The higher initial cost is offset by the lower ongoing costs (no more repairs for you!) and the extra security it provides.

If you want a roof that will be around for a while and provide some real value, polymer roofs are definitely worth considering.

So basically: if money is not an issue – get polymer roofing. It’s more expensive to get at first, but saves money in the long run!

If money is an issue – you should probably look at traditional roofs.

With polymer, the initial cost is much greater, but over time it will save you money because there are no more roof repairs.

With traditional roofs you only need to repatch every few years or so depending on wear and tear.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to using polymer roofing products on your home.

Without being able to test out the products in person, it is difficult to say which product is best for a particular homeowner.

But each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses so you should consider what will work best for your home and what you can afford.