EPDM or membrane roof (C) Daniel Friedman Walk-On or "Walkable
Roofing Types, Product Sources, Installation, Defects, Repairs

  • Membrane roof materials
    • Definition of Membrane roofing
    • Types of Membrane roofs
    • EPDM roofs, Rubber Roofs, Modified Bitumen Roofs
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to construct a walkable or walk-on roof; walkable roof installation, troubleshooting, repair, decks-over

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This article describes sources and types of walk-on roof surface roofing materials, systems, installation suggestions, and product sources.


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Walkable Roof Surfaces - Design, Product Sources, Installation

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Carson Dunlop's illustrations (below) compare an EPDM roof membrane installation and a PVC roof membrane installation.

Roll Roofing Problems Carson Dunlop Associates Roll Roofing Problems Carson Dunlop Associates

Materials & Installation Advice for Walkable Roofing Membranes

As explained in Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, chapter on BEST ROOFING PRACTICES:

For rooftops that will also serve as decks (see “Rooftop Decks,” [online version coming] page 150 in the printed text Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction), one option is to use a roofing material designed for foot traffic.

Duradek (Duradek U.S. Inc.) is a sheet vinyl membrane similar to Hypalon but with a nonskid wear surface. It was developed over 25 years ago for waterproofing decks, balconies, and outdoor living spaces. For use over a living space, the manufacturer recommends its 60-mil Ultra series, which is warranted against leakage for 10 years.

Duradek is made of reinforced PVC sheet with heat stabilizers and additives for resistance to fire, UV degradation, and mildew. The wear surface is textured for slip resistance and available in a variety of colors.

Installation Tips for Walk-On Roofs

Installation is similar to other single plies and must be done by factory-certified contractors. The membrane glues to almost any clean substrate with either a proprietary contact cement or a special water-based adhesive applied with a notched trowel. Seams are heat welded with a heat gun, the most critical step. Like other single-ply membranes, the material is self-flashing at abutting walls and penetrations.

Pros and Cons of Duradek Walkable Roofing Membranes

Duradek creates an attractive and durable no-skid deck surface that can withstand normal wear and tear, direct sun exposure, high winds, and freeze-thaw cycles. However, because the membrane is also the wear surface, it can be damaged by cigarette burns, punctures, and heavy abrasion.

-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.


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