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Tpo roofing membrane fastening system and method

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Title: Tpo roofing membrane fastening system and method.
Abstract: This invention relates to an improved fastening technique for single ply roofing membranes comprised of thermoplastic polymer material. In one embodiment, a method of installing a roof on a structure may comprise providing a single-ply roofing membrane comprising thermoplastic polymer material, and periodically securing rigid strips over a roofing deck. In such embodiment, the rigid strips have thermoplastic polymer material on corresponding exterior surfaces thereof. The method may further include laying the roofing membrane over the roofing deck, where the rigid strips are located between the roofing deck and the roofing membrane. Then the method may include heating the roofing membrane and the rigid strips simultaneously, perhaps using a heat induction technique, such that thermoplastic polymer material on the exterior surfaces of the rigid strips fuses directly with the thermoplastic polymer material of the roofing membrane. ...

USPTO Applicaton #: #20090320383 - Class: 52 901 (USPTO) -

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20090320383, Tpo roofing membrane fastening system and method.

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This patent application relates and claims priority to provisional patent application 61/077,007, filed Jun. 30, 2008, which is herein incorporated by references for all purposes.


This disclosure relates generally to roofing products, and more particularly to the use of a fastening system and method for a thermoplastic olefin (TPO) roofing membrane.


A single ply building membrane is a membrane typically applied in the field using a one layer membrane material (either homogeneous or composite), rather than multiple layers built-up. These membranes have been widely used on low slope roofing and other applications. The membrane can comprise one or more layers, have a top and bottom surface, and may include a reinforcing scrim or stabilizing material. The scrim is typically of a woven, nonwoven, or knitted fabric composed of continuous strands of material used for reinforcing or strengthening membranes. Such single ply membranes typically comprise base (bottom) and cap (top) polyolefin-based sheets (layers) with a fiber reinforcement scrim (middle) sandwiched between the other two layers. The scrim is generally the strongest layer in the composite. Other materials from which the membranes may be formed include, but are not limited to, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE or CSM), chlorinated polyethylene (CPE), and ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM).

A typical method of preparing membranes having scrims comprises unwinding a support sheet, scrim, or stabilizing material, and coating the support material by extrusion of a molten compounded polymers, including one or more fillers, UV and thermal stabilizers, and various pigments and fire retardant agents. Then the process provides for cooling and solidifying the membrane, and winding the membrane into a roll. A novel scrim for use with such single-ply roofing membranes is disclosed in co-pending patent application U.S. 2006/0292945, which is commonly assigned with the present disclosure and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

Single ply heat welded membranes are the fastest growing segment of the low slope roofing materials market. The two main membranes are produced from either thermoplastic olefin (TPO) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) polymer. In both cases, the membranes consist of two layers of the polymer with a reinforcement scrim laminated in-between, as mentioned above. Such membranes are supplied as wide sheets, typically about 4 to 10 feet wide, in rolls up to 200 feet length. A particular advantage of these membranes is that they can be overlapped and then heat welded together. This results in a monolithic membrane with significantly reduced risk of leakage.

Roofing systems get tested in a wide variety of ways. In one particular test, the intent is to measure how well a system would stay intact when exposed to high wind loads. Typically, high wind loads result in upward forces that can result in part or all of the roofing system lifting off. To test for this so called “wind uplift” resistance, a deck is built to replicate a roof construction. Typically, these are 10 ft×20 ft or larger assemblies that include a welded seam where the end of one piece of the roofing membrane is connected to the beginning of another membrane sheet. The decks are sealed underneath in such a way that the underside of the roofing system can be pressurized. The pressure is then raised in increments until failure of the roofing system, namely, when the roofing system begins to lift off of the structure. The pressure prior to failure is then the rating of that particular roofing system.

Single ply membranes in low slope applications are typically installed above a layer of insulation such as polyisocyanurate (polyiso) slab stock foam. Polyiso foam is produced with a facer on either side, typically a cellulosic felt or paper.

Closely spaced mechanical fasteners used for mechanical attachment of the overlap section of the two membranes to the underlying roofing structure in the conventional method of installation. Such mechanical fasteners typically consist of metal plates and screws that penetrate down through the insulation (polyiso boards) and into the supporting steel or other type of deck material.

However, such conventional roofing assemblies provide for fastening only along the weld seam via fasteners driven down into the steel deck for the mechanical attachment of just the overlap portion of the membranes. Unfortunately, this means that for wide sheets there can be up to a 10 feet span between attachment points in one direction. System designs attempt to compensate for such a large span between attachment points by increasing the density of fasteners in the other direction, sometimes by moving them as close as 6 inch on center. However, this has a cost impact and has limited benefit.

An alternative method of securing single ply roofs has been commercialized by O.M.G. Inc located in Massachusetts. O.M.G. sells round metal plates that have been coated with a thermoplastic polymer (or PVC) that acts as a hot melt adhesive. These are currently being sold under the name RhinoBond®. Such plates are distributed evenly using around 6 per 4×8 foot polyiso foam board, and are attached to the roof structure using conventional roofing screws. Such screws hold the plates in place and penetrate through the insulation boards and down into the steel deck, thereby better anchoring the roofing system. Once the membrane is in place over the foam boards having the coated round plates, an induction heater is used to heat each plate in turn, melting the adhesive coating and gluing the plates to the membrane along the locations where the plates have been located. However, even with this approach, installation time is even longer since each coated plate must first be mechanically attached through the insulation board and into the underlying roof structure.

Accordingly, there is a need for an improved technique for securing single ply roofing membranes to the roofs of structures that does not suffer from the deficiencies found in conventional approaches. For example, simpler installation steps resulting in faster installation times would be especially desirable. The principles disclosed herein provide such a technique.


This invention relates to an improved fastening technique for heat-weldable single ply roofing membranes comprised of thermoplastic polymer material. In one embodiment, the technique involves strips of rigid material such as metal coated on exterior surfaces with thermoplastic polymer material, incorporated into the upper surface of polyisocyanurate insulating foam boards. In an alternative embodiment, such rigid strips are simply laid out across the entire roof surface. In either approach, once the membrane is laid out over the coated strips, which are laid out over the insulation boards or directly on the roofing deck if boards are not used, the coated strips are heated, for example, with an induction heater, such that the thermoplastic polymer coating on the strips becomes fused on the exterior side to either the insulation boards or the roofing deck and on the interior surface to the thermoplastic polymer-based membrane. In yet another embodiment of the disclosed technique, the coated strips may be incorporated into the surface of an underlayment, such as GAF-Elk\'s Versashield®, which functions as an underlying layer for the single ply membrane. In this embodiment, the underlayment having the incorporated coated strips is installed over the roofing deck using mechanical attachments, and then a heating device is used after the membrane is laid over the underlayment to fuse the thermoplastic polymer material on the interior surface of the rigid strips to the membrane. In all embodiments, the overlap portion between adjoining membrane sheets may also be heat welded and/or secured with a mechanical fastener, as found in conventional approaches.


FIG. 1 illustrates a top down view of the installation of a conventional polyiso single ply system;

FIG. 2 illustrates a partial side cross-sectional view of the installation of a conventional polyiso single ply system;

FIG. 3 illustrates a top down view of the installation of a polyiso single ply system in accordance with the present disclosure; and

FIG. 4 illustrates a partial side cross-sectional view of the installation of a polyiso single ply system in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 illustrates a partial side cross-sectional view of the installation of a polyiso single ply system in accordance with the present disclosure.

FIG. 6 illustrates a partial side cross-sectional view of the installation of a polyiso single ply system in accordance with the present disclosure.

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20090320383 A1
Publish Date
Document #
File Date
52 901
Other USPTO Classes
5274611, 5274506
International Class


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