While it is true that PVC is a relatively hard substance, the PVC that is used for roofing material has the benefit of plasticizers, which are added to make the membrane more pliable. Most PVC membranes are mechanically-attached, though fully-adhered or even ballasted PVC roofing systems are still occasionally found. What is almost universal, though, is that the PVC membranes are heat-welded at the seams. This creates a monolithic structure that is very durable and able to withstand the constant expansion and contraction of the building structure throughout the day, throughout its life. A properly heat-welded seam is a much better seam than a glued or taped seam. PVC membranes are most often heat-welded at the seams because of the strength, durability, and stability of the material itself.
Though the PVC membrane has excellent puncture and heat resistant qualities, it is absolutely incompatible with asphalt-based products. So any time a PVC roof is to be installed in such a way as to come in to contact with any asphaltic product, separator sheets must be installed to keep the PVC from directly contacting the asphalt. Like asphalt, PVC is excellent for restaurants or other facilities where solvents or vegetables oils may be exposed to the roof through venting.
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