Chinook Roofing Blog

Metal Roofing and Single-Ply Roofing: Alternatives to Asphalt

Posted on: January 08, 2015

We recently talked about the widespread popularity of composition roof shingles,but metal roofing and single-ply roof systems are alternatives with their own benefits. Single-ply roofing is best suited to low-slope buildings, and metal roofing can be installed on both steep and lower structures.

Single-Ply Roofing

Gray Mule-Hide TPO roof membrane on Mercer Island home, front of home

This alternative to Built Up or Modified asphalt roof systems is not a shingle, but a monolithic heat welded system to provide long-term durability. Single-ply roofs are sometimes called membrane roofs. A common type of single-ply roofing is TPO, short for Thermoplastic polyolefin. These membranes are widely used in common products like extension cords or car dashboards.

For low-slope residential roofs, a product like Mule-Hide’s TPO membrane can form a strong barrier against sunlight and rain. Mule-Hide also advises that their white membrane roof could reflect as much as 78% of sunlight, so homes won’t absorb uncomfortable summer heat.

Mule-Hide’s roofing membrane comes in multiple colors that can be cleaned and fixed during future home improvements. Single-ply installation is usually straightforward and fast, so homeowners are not inconvenienced by a lengthy roof project. In many cases the existing roof can remain in place, saving landfill space and tear-off expense.

Metal Roofing
Green metal roof

Metal roofs can easily last a few decades, making this type of roof worth its higher cost. Research from the Metal Construction Association (MCA) even reports that some metal roofs used by commercial businesses have a lifespan of upwards of 60 years.

Metal standing seam roofing has a smooth, striped look, while metal shingles replicate the appearance traditional roofing, including shake. Little maintenance is required for metal roofing beyond inspecting for corrosion and open seams and reapplying coating or sealant. Chinook can even install commercial grade systems that have absolutely no exposed fasteners.

Learn more about how Chinook installs single-ply and metal roofs to see if these systems meet your roofing needs.


Chinook Roofing & Gutters is a full service roofing company with expert cross-trained installers for both commercial-industrial and residential roofing projects. We provide Tacoma roof repair and installation as well as Tacoma gutter installation with a service area that extends throughout the Puget Sound region, including our home base of Fife, as well as Gig Harbor, Puyallup, Milton and more. Contact us today for a free estimate.

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The only thing better than our new roof is the company who installed it. Kind and capable people from the inspection and estimate to impeccable clean up. Thank you so much!