Single Ply Membrane Vs. SPF: Which Is Right For You?

You want to go for the best roofing materials when you do commercial flat roof installation. At times, you find yourself in a roofing dilemma. One of the dilemmas is to choose between the single-ply membrane and spray polyurethane foam (SPF) low slope roofing systems.

Though your commercial roofers can advise you, a look at the two commercial flat roofing systems will shed light on which suits your needs best. Read on.

Single Ply Membrane

Commercial flat roof installation of single-ply membrane starts up by thorough clean up of the current roof. The roof is then insulated and enclosed with a cover board. Your commercial roofers will attach the single-ply membrane to the cover board using either of these techniques:

  • Use of mechanical fastening

  • Use of industrial-grade adhesive

  • Use of ballast

The pros of the single-ply membrane include:

  • UV resistant. Single-ply membrane deflects the UV rays from the sun and doesn't curl up or brittle from prolonged exposure to the sun.

  • Durability. You don't have to fret about harsh weather conditions when you use a single-ply membrane for your commercial flat roof installation. You can rest assured that your roof will withstand hailstorms, winds, snowstorms, etc.

  • Flexibility. The material is malleable and lightweight, hence easy to handle.

The cons are:

  • Punctures. The material is naturally malleable hence prone to dents and punctures.

  • Leaks. Sealed edges could lose power and become an entry point for water.


With SPF installation, your first step is to clear the roof of all dirt and contaminants. Next, your commercial roofers will combine two liquids to form a layer of polyurethane foam. The form expands to form a solid surface with insulation and protective qualities.

With SPF, you stand to accrue the below benefits:

  • Energy efficiency. Like the single membrane, SPF keeps heat outside when the weather is hot. As a result, your HVAC's workload reduces. Thus, your utility bills decline.

  • Waterproof. The solid surface doesn't require seams or joints. As such, there are no vulnerable points for water leaks.

  • Eco-friendliness. Most SPFs reduce carbon footprint and greenhouse emissions and don't contain harmful substances that ruin the environment.

However, you should watch out for these downsides:

  • High maintenance cost. When you use SPF for commercial flat roofing, you need to schedule more inspection sessions.

  • Limited colors. The silicone coat applied to the surface comes in white and gray colors. So, you don't have a variety of choices.


Commercial flat roofing is an essential part of your business. Both SPF and single-ply membrane roofs have unique benefits and drawbacks. The best fit comes down to your needs and preferences. You can contact trusted commercial roofers to guide your selection.

For more information on commercial roofing, contact a professional near you.