BRISTOL, England—Polymer-based single ply membranes are gaining market share from bitumen for waterproofing flat roofs, according to a recently published study by industry consultants Applied Market Information Ltd.
"Construction activity has strengthened in Europe in the last couple of years and we are now seeing significant growth in demand for single ply," said John Nash, the report's editor. "The market is shifting towards lighter weight and faster construction techniques which benefits single ply at the expense of bitumen felts."
In response, several of the single ply producers have increased capacity, or are planning to. The impact of single ply's share gain on the bitumen roofing specialists have been significant, and now many of the stronger ones also sell single ply, said Nash.
Bitumen prices fell, following the price of oil dropping from $129 per barrel in early 2014 to less than $50 in January 2015, according to a statement. Supply is on a downward trend, following the closure of several of Europe's bitumen-producing refineries. Consequentially, there has been a reduction in the price of bitumen membrane and a widening of margins. Despite this, the single ply's market penetration continues to grow.
Two areas in which single ply is making strong progress is in the repair of old bitumen roofs and in its penetration of single-dwelling residential buildings. Not many years ago, these applications were almost always waterproofed with bitumen, according to the statement.
Single ply roofing membranes are made mainly from flexible compounds based on specialty polyethylene or polypropylene copolymers, EPDM and polyvinyl chloride.
Leading specialist suppliers of single ply membranes in Europe include Carlisle, Firestone, Protan, Renolit and Sika, according the statement. Several of the bitumen producers like Bauder, Danosa, Icopal, IKO and Soprema also make single-ply having entered the market either via acquisition or greenfield investment.
"The European Market for Single Ply Membranes" is a multi-client research report published in May 2017.