PVC Roofing Membrane: Why Choose It For Your Structure?

Looking for a versatile, high-performing material to build your next commercial roof with?

Something easy to install with minimal maintenance, that can weather any storm for years to come? Look no further, because PVC roofing membranes may be the all-rounder solution for you.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a long-lasting waterproof fabric that is resistant to chemicals and UV radiation, making it incredibly durable through rain and shine.

Whether you’re creating a cosy al fresco area for restaurant patrons or shading large crowds for an epic sporting event, you can count on PVC roofing membrane for year-round protection against the elements.

Read on to discover all the benefits of this flexible material and how it can apply to your business.

With its adaptability to a variety of outdoor structures with minimised environmental impact, consider investing in a PVC roofing system to truly elevate your next commercial space to new heights.


What is PVC membrane?

PVC membrane is a synthetic, single-ply material that is highly popular in commercial construction for its long-lasting durability, flexibility and weather-resistant properties. 

As a roofing material, PVC is combined with plasticiser and then applied to both sides of a woven polyester fabric. 

This creates a flexible single-ply membrane, making it applicable to a variety of commercial structures.

A topcoat of extra PVDF (lacquer) is then applied to enhance the fabric’s overall durability and strength.

What are the benefits of PVC Membranes?

PVC membranes are a long-lasting, highly versatile construction material with many benefits that support a wide spectrum of commercial buildings.

This woven fabric has proved its popularity since the early 1960s, with countless businesses turning to PVC for the following advantages:

  • Durability 
  • Longevity (20+ years)
  • Flexibility 
  • UV ray blocking
  • Ambient light transmittance 
  • Flame-retardant properties 
  • Waterproofing and weather resistance 
  • High resistance to mould, bacteria and chemicals
  • Quick and easy installation 
  • Energy and cost efficiency 
  • Low maintenance 
  • Availability in wide range of colours and sizes 

Easy to install and even easier to maintain, PVC roofing membrane remains a reliable year-round solution from residential roofing to commercial outdoor shading.

Durability and longevity

PVC roofing boasts a long service life thanks to its inherent strength and durability, lasting upwards of 20 years with proper care.

A PVC roof can withstand high impact and may require less repair and replacement, making it a great long-term investment for any commercial structure.

UV ray protection

Australia’s famously warm weather and intense sunshine puts sun protection at the foremost of any outdoor activity.

Not only do PVC membranes block 100% of UV rays, but its mesh fabric still allows about 10% to 13% of ambient light to filter through. This removes the necessity for artificial lighting during sunlight hours.

Ultimately, PVC fabric softens the sun’s glare and blocks UV radiation while maintaining the brightness needed for activities such as daytime sporting events, al fresco dining and more.

Waterproofing and weather-resistance

For the ultimate all-weather roofing solution, look no further than PVC membranes. 

This material boasts high levels of impermeability and waterproofing. Additionally, it is able to withstand water pressure created by ponding and mitigate potential damage created by poor drainage or heavy rainfall.

PVC fabric is both strong and flexible, meaning it can move during intense weather conditions. This minimises risks of cracking and allows PVC roofing to endure storms, high winds and even hail.

Furthermore, its flame-retardant properties mean that PVC membrane can withstand incredibly high temperatures without burning. 

From lightning strikes to fire hazards, PVC roofing can help protect your business from fire hazards.

Chemical resistance

PVC roofing membrane is highly chemical-resistant. 

They can retain their structural integrity despite exposure to various types of chemicals that would otherwise break down other single-ply membranes, such as TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin).

This powerful chemical resistance is due to the PVC polymer’s chlorine base. Its dense molecular structure means that other chemicals cannot easily penetrate and degrade the material.

Acids, bases, alcohols and salts are just some of the many chemicals that PVC membranes are resistant to. 

This makes PVC roofing an excellent choice for areas with heavy industrial activity or even coastal locations, where exposure to sea salt may be inevitable.

Ease of installation and low maintenance

Installing PVC roofing is a simple and straightforward process, saving you time, effort and money on transportation and labour. 

The membranes themselves are lightweight and available in rolls which can be quickly laid out, making fabric structure installation a breeze.

Furthermore, PVC roofing membrane do not need additional structural support. This makes them particularly suitable for areas that require a low-slope roof or flat roof.

Minimal maintenance is typically all that is necessary to keep a PVC roof clean and in optimal condition. 

Beyond routine inspections and the occasional clean, PVC membranes generally maintain its quality throughout its long service life.

Energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness

While PVC membranes come at higher upfront installation costs, this initial investment quickly pays off in terms of longevity and energy efficiency.

Low energy consumption is a significant advantage of PVC roofing. Its excellent insulation properties regulate ambient temperature, keeping businesses cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

During the hotter months PVC fabric easily reflects the sun’s heat and UV rays, reducing the need for excessive and costly cooling systems. 

Conversely, it minimises the need for heating during winter and ultimately maximises energy efficiency with minimal operational costs. 

What structures can you apply PVC membrane to?

PVC membrane is a highly versatile outdoor shade solution, with its all-weather durability making it an ideal choice for a variety of long-standing commercial structures.

Wondering if this material suits your business needs? Here are just some of the many commercial fabric structures that PVC roofs can add value to.

Star Structures

From outdoor eating spaces like cafe courtyards to community pools, star structures are popular shade solutions that can greatly benefit from PVC membrane. These structures are best used for tight spaces as they only require a single post and take up minimal space.

Star structures are available in shade or PVC fabric. While shade fabrics are not waterproof and typically block 90-95% of UV radiation, PVC membranes provide 100% UV protection and quality waterproofing.

For smaller areas frequently exposed to both sunshine and rain, PVC roofing is a practical choice for optimal protection!

Marymede Barrel Vault Sports cover

Barrel Vault Canopies

PVC roofing membrane is often used for barrel vault canopies. This type of structure is great for large outdoor areas, especially sports courts. 

It provides year-round shade for anything from basketball/netball courts to bowling greens. 

PVC membranes are highly adaptable, meaning that unusual shade shapes are easily accommodated to suit any space.

Whether for sports competitions or daily exercise, make sure your customers can enjoy the outdoors no matter the forecast with quality PVC roofing.

The characteristics of PVC fabric

Highly weather-resistant, long-lasting and energy-efficient – PVC fabric is a clear all-rounder solution for a variety of commercial outdoor needs.

PVC membrane coating

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) membranes are made by coating both sides of a polyester material in PVC. 

These membranes are chemically treated in order to block UV radiation and also resist bacteria, chemicals, heat and more. Finally, a topcoat is applied for additional reinforcement.

For maximum flexibility and a wider choice of colours, single coated PVC is ideal. This suits smaller areas including outdoor shade umbrellas and carparks.

For large canopies, multi-layer coatings are best to ensure quality is maintained over wider expanses.

PVC mesh

PVC roofing is available in both non-porous solid membranes and shade mesh material.

Unlike solid membranes, PVC Coated Mesh (PSC) is an open-weave fabric that is coated in a non-reactive resin-based PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) layer. 

This gives PVC mesh advantages such as:

  • Enhanced tensile strength
  • Air-permeability
  • Partial daylight translucency
  • Greater colour selection
  • Increased overall versatility

Types of PVC membranes available

A PVC membrane can be induction-welded, mechanically fastened or fully adhered to its supporting framework structure, offering a variety of installation methods that can be tailored to suit any outdoor project. This includes:

  • Induction Welded PVC Membranes: Involves fusing PVC roof membrane and metal frame structure together using an induction welding tool. Less labour-intensive than other roofing methods and requires fewer fasteners.
  • Mechanically Fastened PVC Membranes: Uses sturdy screws and plates to securely fasten roofing and the desired substrate together. Ideal for regions prone to extreme weather.
  • Fully Adhered PVC Membranes: Glues roofing material together with heavy-duty commercial adhesive. Great for situations where minimal penetration is ideal.

For added durability, consider premium fleece backing PVC membranes. This extra heavy fabric backing is fused to the PVC material, enhancing its toughness and thickness. 

Environmental impacts of PVC membranes

For roofing projects, PVC membranes are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than other traditional waterproofing shades. 

Its low thermal conductivity helps improve energy efficiency, alleviating the need for excessive heating and cooling systems. 

As a thermoplastic, PVC is considered one of the least energy intensive to create. Its durability and longevity reduces the necessity for frequent maintenance and replacement. 

When replacement is necessary, PVC is easy to recycle and repurpose into new products, giving the membrane new life while minimising its environmental footprint. 

Huxley Wallace | Project Consultant

How to know if PVC membrane is right for your commercial structure

Are you searching for a sturdy, visually pleasing membrane to truly complete your next commercial structure? 

Sit down with shade specialists Greenline to map your goals, and explore whether PVC membrane is the right fit for your next fabric structure installation. 

From initial consultation to design and installation, our 20+ years of shade solution experience can help you craft the ideal outdoor shading structure for your business needs. 

Contact us today to book a consultation appointment and discover how PVC membrane could be the crowning glory of your commercial builds. 

Build Your Fabric Structure Today

Frequently asked questions

What are the disadvantages of PVC membrane?

Disadvantages of PVC membrane include costly installation, difficulty repairing older PVC structures and sensitivity to cold climates. Low temperatures may cause PVC to shatter or experience puncture damage, making it unsuitable for colder regions.

Can PVC withstand rain?

Yes, PVC can easily withstand rain. It is an inherently weather-resistant material and is widely used for its excellent waterproofing qualities.

How thick is a PVC waterproofing membrane?

A PVC waterproofing membrane generally ranges from 1.5mm to 4mm in thickness.

Find out more about other commercial fabrics