Burn Test




Discussions abound on the internet regarding fire safety and roofing materials. LaFerney Commercial Roofing recovers a large number of roofs for hospitals, schools, factories, manufacturing facilities, restaurants, churches, and retail spaces. All of these buildings at some point are occupied by a significant amount of people. LaFerney Commercial Roofing’s strong commitment to safety fueled our need to test the flame resistance of roofing materials for the continued peace of mind of our customer base.

LaFerney Commercial Roofing seeks to determine which roofing material is least likely to sustain a flame on its own.


  • Sample of 40 mil PVC roof membrane
  • Sample of 45 mil EPDM roof membrane
  • Sample of 45 mil TPO roof membrane
  • Plumbing Torch
  • Sheet Metal (for fire safety)
  • Metal clips (to hold sample)
  • Wire (to hold samples)
  • Fire extinguisher (safety)
  • Water hose (safety)


Based on the PVC fire ratings (UL-790 Class A, B & C approved), the PVC should not sustain a flame.



Samples of 40 mil PVC, 45 mil EPDM, and 45 mil TPO were cut to approximate 3 inch widths and hung by metal clips on a suspended wire. Sheet metal was placed below and behind the wire and samples for an additional layer of fire protection. The samples were hung in the following order from right to left: TPO, EPDM, and PVC, and lit with a torch in the same order.



Time to ignite under flame 9 seconds 13 seconds No flame after 26 sec
Time to sustain burn 12 seconds 13 seconds 0
Sustained flame Yes – 1:55 Yes – extinguished after 2 minutes. No
Mil 45 45 40

Observations The TPO sample began to hold a flame after 9 seconds and was sustaining a burn 3 seconds later. The material continued to burn until extinguished by researcher after 2 minutes. The EPDM sample ignited after 13 seconds of exposure to the torch and was sustaining a burn immediately. Pieces began to fall away from the sample after just 47 seconds of burn time. The sample was completely burned 110 seconds after ignition. The PVC sample failed to ignite after 15 seconds under the flame. Another 11 second attempt was made to ignite the sample. After a total of 26 seconds in direct flame, the PVC sample still did not ignite. Some smoldering was evident, especially on the side closest to the EPDM sample, but the PVC sample did not sustain a flame on its own. The test was replicated with consistent results. Conclusion Based on the findings of this burn test and three decades of experience in the roofing industry, LaFerney Commercial Roofing believes the PVC roof membrane provides superior fire resistance. This, in conjunction with the cooling/reflective properties, makes PVC a better choice for commercial, educational, government, and medical facilities.