Our winters are pretty bad here in New England. Harsh winters are hard on commercial roofs. At Chaffee Roofing, receive a lot of client questions regarding the best roofs for harsh winters. What are the longest lasting commercial roofing materials? What roofing will survive through cold, wet and heavy snow weather? My roof is cracking; what should I do?

At Chaffee Roofing we get a lot of these queries after the winter when the damage is visible, and clients need a change.  

For those of you choosing a commercial roof for the harsh New England winters, we have a few suggestions. Our thermoplastic roof membranes, TPO, offer value and quality through the long life of the roof. EPDM provides the same benefits, along with the years of already proven service.

There are pros and cons to any roofing project. If you are aware of them, before choosing your commercial roof, then you are on the way to making an excellent choice. Let’s take a closer look at the options and see which roofing material suits your commercial premises.


TPO ticks all the boxes

It may be the new kid on the block, but TPO is proving itself as a very worthy roofing membrane. At Chaffee, we complete a lot of TPO roofing installs, with very happy clients. A few benefits of TPO as a roof for the harsh winters include:

  • It Does Not Shrink
    • The cold weather causes materials to contract. A few months of freezing weather can do a lot of damage to joins, welds, and seams. As TPO will not shrink, you can rest assured that it will stay in place.
  • TPO Will Not Crack or Shatter
    • A problem with constant, below freezing temperatures is cracking and shattering of some roofs.  TPO stays as reliable as the day Chaffee Roofing installed it. There will not be any more leaks or splits when the worst of the winter arrives, with TPO.
  • Resistance To Chemical Spills
    • Maybe not a harsh weather problem but if you have roof outlets leaking grease, you will not want the roofing membrane to deteriorate from the droppings. The design of TPO is resistant to grease. Make sure you have grease guards installed and they are regularly maintained to maximize the life of your roof.

EPDM for Ease of install and durability

EPDM is similar to TPO because is flexible and can survive harsh winters. It also does not shrink or shatter like PVC membranes. The downside of EPDM is that harsh winters can have an impact during an EPDM roof system installation, where adhesives and primers have strict temperature requirements.

Where EPDM can surpass TPO is in durability. EPDM is basically rubber, like the tires on your car so It can survive all of the elements. While not as resistant to oils and greases, EPDM can take a beating. This is one of the many reasons why some manufacturers, such as Carlisle, are offering puncture resistant warranties on reinforced membranes.

PVC Membrane only if properly designed

PVC can be the worst membrane for cold temperatures if it is not properly designed by a reputable manufacturer. PVC roof systems are known for having problems due to plasticizer migration. The plasticizers that help keep the PVC membrane flexible will leach out of the membrane, making it very prone to cracks, shatters and shrinking.

As a result, talk to your contractor or PVC manufacturer about their PVC formulation and what they have done to prevent plasticizer migration. Some PVC manufacturers use KEE instead of plasticizers, which prevents plasticizer migration. These roof systems are known to have the benefits of PVC, which include puncture resistance, durability, and strong chemical/oil resistance, without the downsides of PVC, which is cracking, shrinking and shattering. If you decide to install PVC on your roof system, make sure you do your homework!

Call Chaffee Roofing

We believe in helping our clients make the best decisions when choosing their commercial roofs. Our experience can guide you in choosing the longest lasting roofs for our harsh winters. Call us today and let Chaffee Roofing help you.

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