If you have a PVC roof system, you need to know the common signs of plasticizer migration.
A plasticizer is added to PVC during manufacturing to make the polymer flexible. Without the plasticizer, the PVC would be a solid material and impossible to work into place. When the plasticizer leaks from a PVC roof, it will cause cracks, splits, and welded sections to break apart. Combining plasticizer migration with foul weather means disaster for your roof.
Early spotting of the common signs of plasticizer migration helps protect your roof.
Let’s take a look at some of the telltale indicators.
Lifting at the edges is a bad sign
Take a look at your PVC roof.
If you can see the roofing material lifting in places, especially at the edges, then you have a problem. The plasticizer, which makes PVC a flexible membrane, will react with residue from an older installation, causing it to leak. The migration weakens the bond causing it to crack or split and causes the PVC to lift around the edges.
Regular inspections will help you spot this problem before it causes trouble.
Check for brittleness
Brittleness is another offshoot of plasticizer migration, which causes significant damage.
When the plasticizer leaks from the PVC, the material becomes brittle in places. Get up on your roof, or call your roofing contractor, and inspect for patches of brittleness. You can often see where the material is deteriorating, but at other times it may only be by touch and feel.
A brittle PVC roof can quickly fall apart. A heavy hail storm may exploit problem areas and cause a lot of severe damage.
Age is always a factor
While plasticizer migration may not always be visible, you can take precautions.
An older roof will suffer from years of being under direct weather conditions. All of the sun, rain, wind, and hail can damage PVC material, and plasticizer migration will occur.
It is always a good idea to inspect an older roof regularly, but make looking for plasticizer migration a priority.
Prevention is often the best cure.