What are heat-weldable waterproof membranes?

February 17,2023

What are heat-weldable waterproof membranes?

Heat-welded membranes are made of a thermoplastics or bitumen-based material that can be welded together with the application of a hot air gun, welding robot, or torch. Heat welds are used to create water-tight seals between different sheets of materials. Roofing projects are often larger than what a single sheet of material could cover requiring sheets to be overlapped and then heat-welded together. Welding thermoplastics and bitumen membranes this way creates seams that are stronger than the thinner materials they are made from. Heat weldable seams are faster to make, more reliable, and around 3-4 times the strength of taped or glued seams.

  1. PVC waterproof membrane: PVC waterproof membrane is made of polyvinyl chloride as the primary raw material. Polyvinyl chloride's most significant advantage is how resistant it is to acids, oils, and fats. Additives are added to bolster PVCs' already strong resistance to the elements. It is suitable for most roofs but its core strengths make it invaluable for chemical storage or low-slope roofs of restaurants and factories that use oils, fats, or corrosive methods to produce products. It's also resistant to fumes from jets making it the ideal material for airports or buildings within close proximity. Exact welding conditions can depend on the ambient temperature and thickness of the material but the average welding temperature is around 275C or 527F depending on thickness. 

  2. TPO waterproof membrane: TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin. TPO is made through the polymerization of ethylene-propylene, polypropylene, and other fillers like talc. The mixture of these polymers creates a material resistant to high temperatures and ultraviolet light. TPO is considered non-toxic and environmentally friendly as it doesn’t contain additives or VOCs that can potentially be released or cause material degradation over time. It also has a high SRI rating making it a great choice for“cool roof” initiatives. TPOs inert chemical makeup also makes it safe to use with vegetation or green roofs. TPO is most suitable for waterproofing projects such as industrial plants and roof gardens. It is also considered to be the fastest-growing market segment of roofing membranes. The welding temperature for TPO is above 530C 1000F degrees.

  3. HDPE waterproof membrane: HDPE stands for high-density polyethylene. Its advantages are good flexibility, corrosion resistance, and elemental aging resistance. It is suitable for waterproofing tunnels and works well as a root barrier. 

  4. OBC waterproof membrane: OBC waterproof membrane is a polymer material formed by the copolymerization of two or more olefin blocks. Its advantages are good flexibility, corrosion resistance, good thermoplasticity, and doesn't contain harmful substances such as chlorides. It is suitable for construction projects such as pools and fish ponds.

  5. Bitumen Waterproofing Membrane: This kind of membrane uses bitumen as the base material, and usually consists of two layers of different material surface layers and a middle layer of reinforcing material. These layers can be made of rubber, fiber non-woven fabrics, aluminum film, fine sand, or red mud tap. Bitumen is a petroleum-based product that is applied by using a torch or cold applied in liquid form. A roofing torch heats the material up making it adhere to the roofing underlayment. It can be used on flat and pitched roofs, as well as in basements, foundations, and bridges.

  6. ECB waterproof membrane: ECB waterproof membrane is a waterproof material made of are made of a mixture of Ethylene Copolymer and bitumen. Its advantages are good flexibility, aging resistance, heat resistance, and freeze-thaw resistance. Best suited for roofing on buildings with existing bitumen roofs.

The choice of the waterproofing membrane depends on the specific conditions such as climate region and what the roof already has installed. Roofing sheet material should be chosen by understanding the durability, elasticity, softness, ease of installation and maintenance need for each project. While the purpose and application of waterproof membranes may be similar there are many different installation methods. Before proceeding with constructing the waterproofing membrane, please read the product description and application instructions carefully to ensure that proper installation procedures are followed. While it's possible to install these membranes yourself we recommend hiring a professional to carry out the installation.

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