Since the late 1970s, FiberTite’s roof membranes have helped to keep roofs in good condition while keeping their owners dry.
The company’s thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) solution offers longevity and sustainability. However, the cost of a FiberTite roof solution may be more than many are willing to pay.
What Is FIberTite?
Seaman Corporation introduced FiberTite to the roofing market in 1979. This clever membrane, which installs directly over your roof shingles, helps to protect your property against water and other corrosive materials.
The company started to stand out in later years as it committed to sustainable practices while maintaining a product with proven benefits that didn’t require the tweaking that similar
TPO solutions needed. Longevity is the cornerstone of the company’s work.
The manufacturers regularly sample FiberTite membranes installed in the 1980s to see if they still hold up to the conditions they’re exposed to. Typically, it finds that its membranes are still performing almost as well as they did when they were first installed.
This longevity helps FiberTite stand out from the crowd. However, it also comes at a fairly extensive cost that may cause you to examine other roof protection solutions.
How Much Does FiberTite Cost?
|Cost Per Square Foot With Installation
|Average Cost for a 1,500 Square Foot Roof
|$20 to $25
|$30,000 to $37,000
|Average TPO Roofing
|$13.25 to £23.50
|$19,875 to $35,250
|Average EPDM Roofing
|$9.30 to $10.30
|$13,950 to $15,450
Unfortunately, the question of cost is a tricky one to answer because the company isn’t especially transparent about its pricing structure.
It doesn’t mention pricing anywhere on its website, which means we can’t offer a full breakdown based on the specific thickness of your FiberTite membrane.
However, we have found several customer discussions in forums that highlight the prices quoted for residential properties.
Generally speaking, customers find that their quotes range from $20 to $25 per square foot of FiberTite TPO.
As such, if we assume your roof is approximately 1,500 square feet, having a contractor install FiberTite may set you back between $30,000 and $37,500.
Did you know? The typical two-story American home has about 1,500 square feet of roof space, assuming the home has 2,300 square feet of total space inside. If you have a single-story home offering 2,300 square feet, your roof space doubles. As such, the cost of a roof installation also doubles.
Interestingly, the company’s own breakdown of how much it costs to install a roof suggests that its pricing is about double the cost of a standard roof installation.
According to FiberTite, installing a roof without a membrane costs approximately $10 per square foot, including labor.
For a 1,500 square foot roof, this amounts to $15,000 in total. As such, FiberTite’s protective membrane effect effectively doubles the cost of installing a roof, based on the quotes we’ve sourced.
How Is FiberTite Made?
FiberTite has a 4-layer system that ensures the resulting TPO membrane is as tough as possible. These layers include the following:
A base fabric layer that is tightly woven to provide greater strength than many of the product’s competitors.
The adhesive coating on both sides of the fabric secures the front and back coats in place. The adhesive prevents moisture from penetrating through to the base fabric.
A face coat made using KEE to ensure ultraviolet rays and contaminants aren’t issues.
The back coat is made using the same KEE material as the front, ensuring the membrane has protection on both sides.
The Pros and Cons of FiberTite
To determine if FiberTite is worth the extensive investment you have to make into the membrane, you must consider the pros and cons of the technology. You must also think about how FiberTite compares to other solutions on the market.
Several factors help FibeTite’s roof membrane to stand out from other protective measures.
Pro No. 1 – The Heavy Base Fabric
FiberTite uses a Ketone Ethylene Ester (KEE) based roofing system that involves the heaviest base fabric in the American roofing industry.
The company’s membrane is so tightly knitted that it requires more material than similar TPO systems.
This heavier fabric is beneficial in several ways. It ensures the fabric is more resistant to punctures and tears, meaning your roof membrane is less likely to get torn by errant debris.
The tighter knitting also provides more protection against moisture, making roof leaks less of an issue. The KEE membrane also resists ultraviolet light and many chemicals, meaning it’s unlikely to corrode, fade, or wear away due to weather exposure.
Pro No. 2 – Higher Wind Resistance
FiberTite’s warranty states that the material can resist winds of up to 60 miles per hour. This compares favorably with most other TPO and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) solutions on the market, which are typically rated to withstand winds of up to 30 miles per hour.
As such, FiberTite may be an ideal solution for those who live in windy areas. While the warranty does not guarantee that the membrane will hold up under extreme conditions, such as hurricanes, it provides additional cover to give customers peace of mind.
Did you know? The District of Columbia is the only American state that has an average wind speed exceeding 30 miles per hour, hitting an average of 31.44 miles per hour.
The nest closest states are South Dakota, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, all of which experience average winds of more than 20 miles per hour.
Pro No. 3 – No Caulking Required
FiberTite uses an adhesive coating for its roofing systems, which means that you don’t have to worry about caulking.
While this creates a cleaner roof finish, the biggest benefit comes from the lack of maintenance required.
No caulking means no repeated checks on the roof to ensure the caulk is still stable and in place. This means FiberTite essentially offers a “set and forget” solution to roofing that reduces ongoing maintenance costs.
Pro No. 4 – The Product Hasn’t Changed Much in 35 Years
FiberTite prides itself on having gotten its solution right at the first time of asking. As mentioned, the company conducts semi-regular inspections of installation it conducted over 25 years ago. These inspections typically show that the company’s roof membranes stand the test of time.
A FiberTite installation conducted today will be similar to one conducted in the 1980s or 1990s. However, this isn’t a bad thing. The company’s product is proven to last, meaning you can likely trust that you’re getting your money’s worth.
Pro No. 5 – The Membrane Is Compatible With Multiple Roof Types
The product is an exceptionally versatile membrane that is compatible with several different types of roofs, including:
This is in addition to the standard residential roofs that the product works well for. Generally speaking, you should be able to use the FiberTite membrane for any type of roof system.
Pro No. 6 – Energy Star Certified
Thanks to its thick and tightly-woven membrane, FiberTite was one of the first roofing membranes to receive Energy Star certification.
This means that it’s proven to reduce energy costs by helping properties retain thermal energy.
While FiberTite appears to be a high-quality product, there are several drawbacks to consider before you invest in it.
Con No. 1 – A Lack of Price Transparency
One of the biggest bugbears you’re likely to face when researching FiberTite is that the company provides almost no clarity on its pricing. Its website does not provide a dollar figure for the product, though it is quick to point out the cost of a standard roof installation.
This lack of transparency likely stems from the fact that each installation is different. However, the fact that the company is unlikely to provide a general idea of pricing without having an installer come out to provide a quote makes it difficult to compare the product to others.
Con No. 2 – The Information We Have Suggests That It’s Expensive
While FiberTite stays tight-lipped on its pricing, some customers have taken to forums to discuss the quotes they’ve received. These quotes work out to approximately $20 to $25 per square foot, which is almost double the cost of a standard roof installation.
Did you know? The average cost of TPO roofing, including installation, falls between $3.25 and $13.50 per square foot. This makes FiberTite more expensive than comparable TPO roofing solutions.
FiberTite creates a large barrier to entry when it comes to budget. Some may find that this initial cost is so extensive that the savings made possible by the lack of maintenance required aren’t enough to justify it.
Con No. 3 – Limited Color Options
FiberTite comes with a choice of five colors:
While this color spectrum covers most aesthetics, it isn’t the widest available on the market. The company does offer four more colors, including Colonial Red, Terra Cotta, Patina Green, and Energy Gray. However, these are made to order and will usually have minimum quantities applied to them.
Con No. 4 – Lack of Warranty Information
Unfortunately, the same lack of transparency that affects FiberTite’s pricing also affects its warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty page doesn’t provide any specific details of how it covers you in the cases of material or manufacturing faults.
Instead, the company stands behind the idea that it believes in selling a quality product rather than selling warranties.
The FiberTite website contains several testimonials from clients that claim they’ve never had to maintain their roofs with the membrane installed.
However, the lack of transparency from the company, coupled with the seeming lack of concrete warranty information, may put some buyers off.
How Does FiberTite Compare to Carlisle TPO?
Carlisle Syntec Systems makes a similar type of TPO membrane to FiberTite.
The products are similar in many respects, though there are some differences to keep in mind. Carlisle’s TPO is 40mm thick, with FiberTite clocking in at 36mm.
While this may make Carlisle seem like the better option, FiberTite is the only one of the two that meets the ASTM D6754 standard for KEE content. While Carlisle may be thicker, it appears that it isn’t as dense as FiberTite.
Both companies produce Energy Star certified TPO membranes, with both also claiming a high level of weather durability.
However, Carlisle’s TPO incorporates OctaGuard XT, which is an industry-leading weathering package that appears to be absent from FiberTite. Still, FiberTite offers stronger wind resistance, which may make it a better choice in windier states.
The warranty is also another point of difference between the two. Carlisle offers warranties up to 30 years on its membranes, while FiberTite doesn’t appear to offer any warranty.
Instead, you’re asked to rely on anecdotal evidence that FiberTite lasts longer than its competitors. For many, the presence of a set warranty instills confidence that FiberTite doesn’t provide.
What Are the Differences Between TPO Roofing and EPDM Roofing?
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) roofs use synthetic rubber that is extremely durable in addition to being weather-resistant.
These types of roofs are still the standard in the United States, though TPO roofs are gaining in popularity in each passing year.
EPDM roofs cost less than TPO roofs. However, they also don’t perform as well as TPO roofs under varying conditions.
For example, EPDM roofs typically have dark surfaces, which cause them to absorb heat. Those living in warm areas may find that they have to rely on air conditioning more than if they had a reflective TPO membrane installed.
TPO is also tougher than EPDM. It offers about three times more protection against punctures, meaning a TPO membrane is far less likely to leak. However, TPO systems are also more difficult to repair as they typically require welding if the membrane does split.
Did you know? The average cost of an EPDM roof is about $4.30 to $5.30 per square foot.
If we add approximately $5 per square foot for installation, this makes FiberTite approximately two times more expensive, assuming the few customer quotes found on the internet are accurate.
Is FiberTite Worth The Cost?
The limited information available about the cost of FiberTite suggests that it is one of the most expensive TPO membranes on the market.
However, the company behind the technology also has a long track record of satisfied customers. For many, the heavy cost of FiberTite is outweighed by the lack of maintenance the membrane requires, combined with the stellar energy efficiency that a TPO membrane provides.
Unfortunately, a lack of transparency seems to be a common theme when it comes to FiberTite.
You’re unlikely to get a good idea of exactly how much an installation will cost until you have a professional provide you with a quote.
It also appears that FiberTite does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty, meaning you must rely on your installer’s warranty if there are any issues.
The fact that FiberTite hasn’t changed in over 30 years on the market suggests that the membrane is as good as the company claims it to be.
However, its high cost may push people towards more cost-effective EPDM solutions, or towards a more inexpensive TPO roofing system.
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