PVC resists fire

The Fire Resistance of PVC (Vinyl) Roofing

Slow to catch and spread; self-extinguishes in seconds

June 15, 2023—A principle of building material sustainability that isn’t talked about enough is durability. After all, a material that is long-lasting requires replacement less often than other materials that perform the same function. Because PVC roofs last longer and are replaced less frequently, that means less virgin materials being used to produce new roofs and less materials going to the landfill. 

PVC (vinyl) roofing has the distinct advantage of being made from recycled material and being recyclable at the end of its useful life. It is also durable. Case in point: its fire resistance. 

According to the Vinyl Roofing Division of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association (CFFA-VRD), PVC roofing does not support combustion. It is a naturally fire-resistant polymer, making this cool roofing material slow to catch or spread fire – and self-extinguishing when the source of heat or flame is removed. PVC roofs have passed both FM and UL fire testing.

PVC’s dramatic fire-resistant properties were tested by Southwest Research Institute’s Fire Technology Department. The test compared the behavior of three common commercial single-ply roofing materials – vinyl/PVC, TPO, and EPDM – after being ignited by a Bunsen burner flame.

In the test, the PVC roofing sample self-extinguished in seconds (13 sec. in one, 12 sec. in the other) after the flame source was removed, while the other two samples continued to burn for between three and six minutes before they were completely consumed. Read more here: https://vinylroofs.org/durability/pvc-fire-performance/.

This fire resistance is just one aspect of PVC roofing’s durability and sustainability. Its heat-welded seams form a permanent, watertight bond that is a major advantage over commercial roofing systems that rely on adhesives, tapes, and caulks to seal the seams. It meets or exceeds wind uplift requirements, with many PVC membranes surviving the onslaught of hurricanes. After a long service life, PVC roofing can be recycled, and new PVC roofing and other high-value, non-roofing products can be made with these recycled components.

For more information on PVC roofing, visit https://vinylroofs.org/.