Emirates Stadium - Triflex (UK) Ltd

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Emirates Stadium


Triflex ProTect 

Size (M2)




Winner Highly Commended LRWA Awards 2024
Liquid Roofing Project of the Year over 1000 sq. m

Built in 2007, the Emirates Stadium is the home of Arsenal football club. The 60,000 capacity stadium roof was in need of refurbishment due to water ingress. An overlay of the original single ply membrane with a Triflex cold liquid applied membrane negated any strip up, reducing wastage and a scientific approach provided proven compatibility. The works were completed around the many fixtures of the season aided by expert project management. 

The Emirates Stadium’s 27,000 m2 roof is supported by four gigantic steel trusses, which in turn support a series of secondary and tertiary steel beams. The complicated geometry results in a gently sloping elliptical bowl shape, with polycarbonate panelled roof areas designed to maximise sight lines for spectators.    

Completed in 2007, the original single ply and polycarbonate sheet roof were failing in areas resulting in water ingress. With a 60,000 capacity, not only does the stadium play host to world class football, but also concerts and other events. The leaking roof has been widely publicised by fans and was a high priority as part of the owner’s refurbishment plans.   


Working with Triflex authorised contractor, Topek Southern Limited, the Triflex technical team undertook a detailed survey to establish the current state of the roof, confirm build up and undertake a range of tests to identify the best solution for the Emirates Stadium roof. The stadium roof build up was confirmed to consist of a profile metal deck with plywood and PVC single ply membrane. Evidence of splits at laps and other surface damage was apparent. A partially bonded walkway matting was also originally installed on the surface of the existing single ply membrane for access and maintenance purposes.    

The in-depth evaluation included the extraction of several samples of the existing single ply waterproofing membrane, to test for plasticiser migration at the Triflex laboratories in Germany.  Plasticisers were historically added to some compositions of single ply membranes to enhance their flexibility. These plasticisers can migrate out due to heat or age leaving single ply membranes brittle and prone to damage.  Plasticisers can also migrate out under certain chemical conditions, for which Triflex take a scientific approach to ensure that the existing membrane can be overlaid with confidence. The testing of the Triflex ProTect system with the single ply membrane samples confirmed that the proposed Triflex liquid applied membrane overlay solution was compatible.    

Adhesion tests were also carried out in -situ on the existing single ply membrane to confirm any pretreatment or primer requirement. The Triflex ProTect PMMA based system achieved very strong adhesion with only a simple cleaning step required, providing a simple and effective overlay solution.    

The resulting bespoke project specification proposed the proven Triflex Protect system. The complex form of the stadium roof means that there were extensive numbers of details where the steels support the roof, together with multiple detail types such as access hatches and services. The reinforced liquid applied membrane could easily accommodate the complex forms. With elastomeric properties, the system can cope with the various coefficients of variation and thermal properties of the different substrates it overlaid.   

Repairs or mechanical re-fixing of the single ply was completed prior to the installation of the liquid membrane, facilitated by PMMA based repair materials that cured in less than 60 minutes.  

At the interface with the polycarbonate sheets the liquid applied membrane self-terminated onto metal flashing, providing a robust interface. The partially bonded walkway was removed and replaced with a tough and durable liquid applied walkway solution with high antiskid finish. This was achieved through the incorporation of beads into the liquid resin prior to application, rather than the conventional casting of quartz into the installed wet finish. This avoided the risk of cast quartz entering the drainage channels and any resulting blockages. The new, contrasting colour provided a more visible and defined walkway increasing safety for maintenance personnel.    


During the project some 29 fixtures required accommodation, more than the original planned number of 20-25 accounted for in the works programme. The live stadium environment dictated that a full handover of the roof was required prior to each event, vacating the roof at least one day before each event.   

To manage the programme of works for the live site, sections of the roof were controlled for installation. The live site meant that the installation area needed to be temporarily (in the case of polycarbonate sheets) or permanently watertight at the end of each day.  With the Triflex PMMA waterproofing systems rapidly curing, permanent waterproofing could be completed at both the extensive number of post details and section of single ply overlay to provide a time dependable installation. The completed roof section was water tested prior to each event to ensure that the areas were fully watertight for the fixture.  

Working at such height and exposure to high winds for this type of structure required additional risk management consideration. As well as safety harnesses, nets were used around the polycarbonate areas to ensure optimum safety for a labourers, alongside boards placed across steels. All tools were removed prior to events too. Such measures helped to reduce the risk for falling debris at the live site.    

In addition, materials were secured each day. The point loadings on the roof area were considered for storage location of materials to each working area. Secured using ratchet straps attached to the roof steels, the challenges of frequent full roof handover were met through doubling the labour at key points , expertly managed by the installation team and project managers.   


The logistics of getting materials onto the roof were challenging due to the very few access points around the stadium. A crane was used for all lifting, the use of which was dependent on wind speeds in what was a wet and windy summer. The crane used was an electric hybrid crane, fitting with the Emirates Stadium sustainability goals.    

The refurbishment of the roof with a liquid applied membrane overlay solution negated any strip up. The existing single ply membrane was left in situ, meaning that there was no costly removal or disposal required, which can be challenging at such a height.  

The Emirates Stadium roof is now watertight and fans able to enjoy the match or concert in comfort.