Roll waterproofing roofs: a complete review of materials

Roofs treated with roll waterproofing are a flexible and efficient way to keep water out of buildings. This kind of roofing system creates a seamless barrier against moisture by rolling out and applying flexible materials in layers. Because of its longevity and simplicity of installation, it is frequently utilized in both residential and commercial construction.

Roll waterproofing roofs are highly versatile and can be tailored to fit a variety of roof shapes and sizes. These materials can be adjusted to fit and offer trustworthy protection whether your roof is sloped, flat, or somewhere in between. They’re especially helpful in places where there is a lot of rainfall or where conventional roofing materials might not be appropriate.

Although the materials used to roll waterproof roofs can vary, bitumen, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) are frequently used. Different materials have different advantages, like resistance to UV rays, flexibility in cold weather, or ease of upkeep. Builders and homeowners can select the ideal solution based on climate, financial constraints, and particular roofing needs thanks to this variety.

To achieve a waterproof finish, roll waterproofing roof installation requires careful layering and sealing. In addition to increasing longevity, proper installation reduces the possibility of leaks over time. In order to preserve the integrity of the waterproofing layers, maintenance is usually simple and entails routine inspections and repairs.

Rolled Asphalt A traditional and durable material for waterproofing roofs, made from layers of asphalt-impregnated felt. It"s cost-effective and widely used.
EPDM Rubber Known for its flexibility and durability, EPDM rubber is a synthetic material that"s resistant to weathering and UV radiation, making it ideal for flat roofs.

"From conventional bitumen to contemporary synthetic membranes, we examine the wide range of materials available in our in-depth guide to roll waterproofing roofs. The purpose of this article is to clarify the options that builders and homeowners have when choosing waterproofing solutions. We go over the salient characteristics, advantages, and potential uses of each material, offering helpful advice to assist you in making decisions regarding your roofing projects. This review will walk you through the options available in today’s market, regardless of your preferences for environmental considerations, ease of installation, or durability."

6 advantages of roll waterproofing

A whole class of roofing materials with various properties is known as roll waterproofing for roofs. Nevertheless, they all share the following benefits:

  1. Convenience of installation. Rolling a roll of waterproofing and fixing it on the roof is much easier than laying piece materials or spreading liquid.
  2. Low price of the roof device. The price of roll waterproofing depends on the type of material: the bitumen coating is very cheap, polymer membranes are more expensive. But in any case, this price is lower than the cost of most bulk coatings.
  3. Fast installation. To lay on the roof a long strip of roofing is needed at a minimum of time. The installation rate of certain types of roll waterproofing on the roof generally reaches 500 m 2 per day, and this is a record for roofing coatings.
  4. Laying in one or two layers. Strips of roller waterproofing material are mounted on a roof with an overlap, but in one or two layers, while all bulk coatings are applied in three to four layers or more, until the necessary thickness is reached. This is not only increased expenses for the payment of the work of roofers, but also large time delays, since to apply the next layer you need to wait until the previous one has dried.
  5. The possibility of installation on an uneven surface. Of course, if there are pits on the roof a few centimeters or high tubercles, it will need to be aligned. But small irregularities and cracks are not a problem for roller roof waterproofing.
  6. Simplicity of repair. Any type of roller waterproofing is subject to point repair. Leaks in the places of adjacence, small defects of the roof pie, mechanical damage – all this is easy to fix, and with minimal time and money consumptions.

In summary, the waterproofing of the roof is rolled. This is a low-cost roofing method that doesn’t require a lot of labor or highly skilled personnel.

Types of roll waterproofing

Roll waterproofing is a rather broad category of materials used for roofing. The coatings that go with it, the various service lives, the installation techniques, the specifications for the roof pie’s structure, and numerous other variations. Only the form of release in the form of a roll and the presence of substances in the substance structure are common among them; as a result, roof waterproofing is resistant to the damaging effects of ultraviolet light.

Bitumen roll waterproofing for the roof

The oldest example of this kind of material is waterproofing with bitumen rolls. This kind of coating was first developed in the early 1830s, nearly two centuries ago, and is only known by this name in Russia. Then there was Permamin, but the development of roofing material elevated the true "star" of roll bitumen waterproofing. There are essentially no people in Russia who haven’t heard of this material, as the Soviet Union produced two billion square meters of roofing material annually in 1980, if not less.

The roofing material is just the record holder for problematicity, despite its extreme prevalence. He has no competition when it comes to the quantity of broken hearts among builders and leaks.

The material used for roofing is actually construction cardboard that has been covered on both sides and initially impregnated with oil bitumen. The exterior of the roofing material is dusted with mineral sand, baby powder, or both to prevent sticking in the roll and UV rays.

Since the purpose of creating roofing material was to get the cheapest material, unmodified bitumen was used for it, which easily cracked from any effect. A man went to the roof? Meet microcracks where he went. The coating was hit with a shovel when cleaning snow? The dent on it is almost guaranteed. The upper layer of roofing material cracked even just from temperature drops, so after the first winter, cracks and microcracks dangled the material into which water got into the cardboard and got wet. As a result, the roof, blocked by roofing material, began to leak the maximum for the fifth year after installation, more often for 2-3 years, and sometimes after the first winter.

The need to develop better waterproofing materials with the best operating qualities while keeping the installation concept and low cost arose from this extreme fragility. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, various changes to roofing materials gave rolled bitumen waterproofing a new lease on life. Additionally, legislation prohibited the use of roofing roofing outside of repair work.

The primary enhancements are as follows:

  1. Fiberglass or glass chuckle As a base. Replacing the cardboard literally spreading when the moisture-resistant basis is extended by the service life of rolled bitumen waterproofing up to 7-10 years, even if it is made of almost pure bitumen.
  2. Add Mineral fillers in bitumen, to increase its hardness, elasticity and strength.
  3. The basis of polyester canvas. The next step after fiberglass is a polyester non -woven canvas, which is much stronger and does not relax.
  4. Usage Polymer-bitout binder Instead of ordinary bitumen. Rolled bitumen waterproofing for the roof, modified by polymer compositions, perfectly withstands temperature changes, is not so susceptible to mechanical damage and provides increased protection against moisture.

Numerous types of materials with a service life of five to thirty years have been created possible by the combination of these and less significant modifications. Despite being an inexpensive material, modern roll waterproofing based on bitumen is incredibly dependable, convenient, easy to install, and durable.

This is a great choice for installation on a concrete base. In this instance, the burner’s heating causes the roller bitumen waterproofing to simply melt on the base. There are materials in the rolled bitumen waterproofing line specifically designed for gas stations, elevators, and other facilities that have higher fire safety requirements. In order to prevent the coating from spreading the flame, antipinese are added to their composition. They are then mounted on an adhesive base, avoiding the use of both open fire and heating in general.

In summary, there are five layers involved in modern roller bitumen roof waterproofing:

  1. Protective layer, which prevents gluing to the working surface of the waterproofing of mineral sprinkling.
  2. bottom layer from various types of modified bitumen or bitumen-polymer composition.
  3. The basis – fiberglass, fiberglass, non -woven canvas (geotextiles).
  4. Upper layer from modified bitumen or bitumen-polymer composition.
  5. Mineral sprinkle To protect against UV rays. For greater aesthetics, the coating can be colored.

The layer-up composition of rolled bitumen waterproofing must be considered first; the more elastic and robust the base, the longer the material will last and the more resistant it is to mechanical damage. As a result, the best waterproofing material out there is rolled polyester canvas with a polymer-biomatic binder.

Polymer membranes

Developed in the middle of the 20th century, roofing polymer membranes are rolls of material used to waterproof commercial and industrial building roofs. This material has two important qualities: a long service life and a very high installation speed. They were the ones who, in a mere ten years, produced polymer membranes using the second-most widely used roller waterproofing material in Europe for flat roofs.

Still, developers find the remaining characteristics of polymer membranes to be equally appealing:

  • high elasticity;
  • little weight;
  • installation directly to the insulation;
  • seal tightness;
  • wide roll;
  • installation at any time of the year;
  • temperature, chemical, biological resistance;
  • Elementary repair.

Polymer membrane waterproofing roofing rollers are a contemporary standard for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings. Polymer membranes offer a more cost-effective alternative to rolled bitumen waterproofing, even though they cost more. This is because they are easier to install, have a longer lifespan, and don’t require a concrete base.

Polymer membranes are classified into three categories: TPO, PVC, and EPDM membranes.

EPDM membranes

A synthetic rubber waterproofing film containing polymer compositions (EPDM) is where the history of polymer membranes started. Even with their low vapor permeability, the films were still able to be identified as belonging to a new class of building materials: roofing membranes, simply because of this property.

  • very elastic and can stretch by 50-400%, depending on the type;
  • weigh less than 1.5 kg/m 2;
  • durable at the expense of both the properties of the butylum itself, and, in some cases, reinforcement;
  • are produced in rolls wide up to 15 m and up to 60 m long, which allows you to reduce the number of joints or even cover the roof without a single seam;
  • resistant to ultraviolet and mechanical damage;
  • serve 25-50 years;
  • temperature -resistant – retain elasticity at low temperatures.

Despite having these remarkable qualities, EPDM membranes are not as effective as other polymer membrane types at waterproofing roofs.

First, the canvases are glued where the joints should be, and roller waterproofing for the roof with glued sealing joints will always provide a higher level of dependability than material with welded seams.

Second, the EPDM membrane has extremely little vapor permeability. It can occasionally release a tiny amount of water vapor from inside the roof pie, for example, when unusual weather causes moisture to condense inside the structure and cause condensation on the insulation. However, moisture in large quantities, whether it be sporadic or frequent, will quickly cause the EPDM membrane to bloat and exfoliate.

PVC membranes

PVC membranes were "younger" than EPDM because they had only been widely utilized for the previous 30 years. They are made up of three layers: a polyester fiber-reinforced canvas sits in the middle, and plasticized polyvinyl chloride with different additives is applied on both sides.

In PVC, antipypees, stabilizers, and dyes are combined for the top layer, while fungicides and antibacterial additives are added to the lower layer in place of these additives. Rolling waterproofing for a roof with superior functional qualities is the end result:

  • high strength for gap and puncture;
  • fire resistance (combustibility group G1 or G2);
  • high vapor permeability, which allows you to create "breathing" roofs;
  • complete tightness due to welded seams and the absence of fire cutters;
  • The proven service life is 30+ years, expected-40-50 years;
  • elasticity;
  • The highest installation rate is up to 500 m 2 with an experimental brigade for a standard eight -hour working day;
  • light weight;
  • simplicity of repair;
  • aesthetics;
  • temperature, chemical, biological stability.

PVC membranes are not without their flaws, of course. The membrane is much more expensive than roller bitumen waterproofing for the roof, and its installation requires specialized tools and trained workers. It cannot be placed directly over extruded polystyrene foam and bitumen materials. However, when it comes to stopping the flat roofs of quickly approaching and frame buildings, PVC membranes’ well-known price to quality ratio almost always works in their favor. Furthermore, it is frequently selected for the installation of unutilized roofs on all kinds of structures.


The most recent generation of polymer membranes is TPO. In TPO membranes, synthetic rubber is enhanced with polypropylene or polyethylene, in contrast to EPDM. Additionally, TPO membrans are significantly more durable because they nearly always have reinforcement made of fiberglass or polyester fibers. Aside from plasticizers, they also contain fungicides, stabilizers, antipypees, and other additives that improve the product. As a result, TPO roller roof waterproofing is more resilient than other polymer membrane types.

In actuality, plasticizers are not the most stable substances that break down over time and compromise the integrity of membrane paintings. The membrane behaves in a more predictable manner when plasticizers are not present, albeit at the expense of less elasticity.

TPO membranes were developed as an all-purpose material designed to bring together the benefits of EPDM and PVC membranes. It functions much like a remote. Specifically:

  1. During installation of the TPO membrane canvases, they are welded, and not glued, while a very reliable seam is formed, which is stronger than the material itself.
  2. Reinforcement and adding polymers to synthetic rubber provides wear resistance, high strength for gap, puffing and puncture. To these influences of TPO membrans more stable than PVC.
  3. TPO-membranes heat-resistant and withstand both severe heating and cooling. In frost resistance, they significantly exceed both EPDM and PVC membranes, maintaining elasticity when cooling up to -62 ° C.
  4. Unlike PVC membranes, TPO can be laid directly on extruded polystyrene and bitumen roll waterproofing.
  5. TPO membranes are very durable, their predictable service life is 40-50 years or more.
  6. The material is chemically and bacteriologically inert, well withstands UV radiation.
  7. TPO-membranes are also environmentally friendly because they are subject to secondary processing.

Given these benefits, it would seem that TPO membranes will soon replace PVC-based materials, particularly in Russia given its vast northern regions. However, in actuality, things worked out differently: TPO membranes only make up a tiny portion of the market, similar to how common EPDM membranes are. And their wildly inconsistent quality is to blame.

TPO membranes are a higher-tech product than PVC film; their quality is determined by how closely the technological process and raw materials are followed. The life of the TPO membrane drastically decreases up to the appearance of defects a few years after laying, so it is worth breaking the technology or substituting a high-quality synthetic rubber or adding less expensive additives. Low-quality antipypees, which are added to the membrane to raise the combustibility class, may result from such an effect, for instance.

The primary disadvantage of the TPO membrane is its significant reliance on production conditions for operational characteristics. Because of this, even with their drawbacks, many developers prefer that waterproofing roof roll be composed of more reliable PVC membranes. Furthermore, it is far simpler to locate a competent crew to apply a PVC membrane coating than it is to lay TPO material.

On the other hand, if a TPO membrane is the clear choice for rolled waterproofing on a flat roof, it offers one of the best ratios of cost to quality.

Self -adhesive roll waterproofing for the roof

Waterproofing that adheres to itself cannot be categorized as a distinct class of materials. Instead, this is a highly practical advancement for some kinds of bitumen membranes and waterproofing:

  1. Bitumen self -adhesive waterproofing – This is a material of the premium level, the lower layer of which is made of modified bitumen, which retains stickiness at room temperature. On the upper layer of such waterproofing with the edge there is a strip of 100-150 mm wide, which is also made of such bitumen and is free from mineral sprinkling. Both self -adhesive surfaces protect using a special film. To facilitate the removal of film, sometimes it is made of foil material.
  2. EPDM membranes also belong to self -adhesive roll waterproofing, since the adhesive is applied to their edges, as a rule, even at the factory.

Self-adhesive roll materials’ primary benefit is their ability to be installed without the need for specialized tools or knowledge. If bitumen is being used for waterproofing, working with a burner or a welding machine is not required. It is sufficient to simply peel off the protective film, roll out a roll, and adhere it to a primer-treated, spotless base.

First and foremost, it is important to consider the cost of the drawbacks. Budget waterproofing can be two to three times less expensive than self-adhesive bitumen roller materials. Less reliability when compared to materials in a similar class is the second disadvantage. Nevertheless, hot air or flame welding produces a stronger and more dependable seam than glue ever will.

Roll waterproofing roofs are a flexible and affordable way to keep buildings dry from water damage. Bitumen, EPDM rubber, PVC, and TPO are just a few of the materials used in the construction of these roofs. Every material has advantages of its own, ranging from flexibility to durability, to meet various roofing requirements and climates.

Bitumen roll roofs, which are inexpensive and simple to install, are made of layers of bitumen that are reinforced with polyester or fiberglass. They offer outstanding rain and moisture resistance and are perfect for flat or low-slope roofs.

Because of their longevity and ability to withstand weathering and UV rays, EPDM rubber roofs are highly favored. They are appropriate for both residential and commercial buildings because of their flexibility and ability to adjust well to temperature changes. Large, single sheets of EPDM roofing are installed to reduce seams and possible leakage points.

The more recent options, PVC and TPO roll roofs, are renowned for their eco-friendliness and energy efficiency. Because they are recyclable and reflect sunlight, they are sustainable options for eco-aware builders, helping to lower cooling costs in warm climates.

Think about things like climate, price range, and roof design when selecting a roll waterproofing material. For the roof to last a long time and effectively keep water out of the building, proper installation by qualified experts is essential.

All things considered, roll waterproofing roofs offer a dependable and long-lasting way to extend the life of buildings, along with flexibility in design and environmental advantages. Whether you choose bitumen, EPDM rubber, PVC, or TPO, each material has special benefits designed to satisfy particular needs for roofing.

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Denis Shcherbakov

Professional roofer with 20 years of experience. I know everything about the installation, repair and maintenance of various types of roofs. I will be happy to share my knowledge and experience with you.

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