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TPO roofing materials on a commercial roof
TPO roofing materials on a commercial roof

What Is TPO Roofing?

6 min read

November 21, 2023

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Clean Cut

TPO materials on a commercial roof

Curious about the best roofing material suitable for your needs? TPO, or Thermoplastic Polyolefin roofing, is a popular choice, known for its durability and affordability. This article serves as an in-depth guide on what is TPO roofing, including:

  • Benefits and drawbacks ✅
  • Installation process ⚒️
  • Cost considerations 💸

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What Is TPO Roofing?

Commercial TPO roof

TPO roofing is a synthetic flat roofing membrane commonly used as a single layer on commercial buildings.

Definition of TPO roofing

TPO roofing, standing for Thermoplastic Polyolefin, is a unique style of single-ply roofing membrane. This type of roof consists principally of three vital components: a TPO polymer base, a polyester-reinforced scrim layer, and over the top, a TPO compounded ply.

These combined materials contribute to the durability and versatility of TPO roofs, making them suitable for both commercial and residential buildings. Known as heat-reflective and energy-efficient roofing, it owes its efficiency to being made from thermoplastic polyolefin material that enhances temperature control within structures.

Composition of TPO Roofing Materials

TPO roofing, or  Thermoplastic Olefin roofing, is a blend of several rubber types. It primarily contains polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. This combination results in a more ductile variant of polypropylene that enhances the strength and durability of TPO roofs.

In addition to these main components, TPO roofing incorporates other elements for stability and resilience. The mix creates unique properties that characterize it as a thermoplastic olefin membrane or “rubberized” material.

Advantages and Disadvantages of TPO Roofing

Man installing TPO on a commercial roof

TPO roofing offers several advantages, such as being energy-efficient, durable, and cost-effective. However, it has disadvantages, including potential seam failure and limited color options.

Pros of TPO Roofing

TPO roofing offers several advantages, making it a desirable choice for many homeowners and business owners. Its flexibility allows the roof structure to shift and settle without causing undue stress or damage.

This durability extends to withstanding thermal expansions and contractions, common in extreme weather conditions. TPO roofs often get selected for low-slope systems due to their long-lasting performance.

One unique feature of TPO is its effectiveness against fungi growth, an attribute that contributes significantly to the longevity of the roof system. Moreover, these roofs have heat-reflective properties, making them highly energy-efficient solutions.

By reducing indoor cooling needs during hot months, they can contribute substantially towards decreasing energy costs over time.

Cons of TPO Roofing

TPO roofing, despite its advantages, does have some drawbacks to consider. One con of TPO roofing is that it can experience premature aging and seam failures when exposed to intense heat for extended periods.

That means that in areas with high temperatures or where the sun beats down relentlessly, TPO roofs may not hold up as well. Another disadvantage is that adding protective coatings to TPO roofing can be challenging.

These coatings are crucial for enhancing the roof’s durability and resistance to wear and tear, but they may not adhere properly to TPO membranes.

TPO Roofing Installation

Installation of a TPO system on a commercial roof

Installing TPO roofing involves several steps, including surface preparation, membrane installation, seam welding, and final inspection.

Steps Involved in Installing TPO Roofing Systems

To install TPO roofing systems, you need to follow a step-by-step process. First, ensure the roof surface is clean and free from debris or contaminants. Next, install insulation boards to provide support and insulation for the TPO membrane.

Then, roll out the TPO membrane and adhere it to the roof surface using adhesive or heat-welding techniques. Finally, seal the seams of the TPO membrane with heat or adhesive to ensure a watertight and durable roof system.

Considerations for Proper TPO Installation

Proper TPO installation requires careful consideration of various factors. First, the size and complexity of your roof will determine the amount of time and materials needed for the installation process.

Additionally, hire an experienced roofing contractor specializing in TPO roofing to ensure a successful installation. They have the knowledge and expertise to handle any challenges during the process.

Another important consideration is the cost of TPO installation, which can vary depending on factors, such as location and market rates.

Maintenance and Cost of TPO Roofing

TPO roofing requires regular maintenance to ensure its longevity and performance. Additionally, the cost of TPO roofing can vary depending on factors such as size, complexity of installation, and location.

Comparatively, TPO roofing is often more affordable than other roofing materials while providing energy-efficient benefits.

TPO Roofing Maintenance Tips

To keep your TPO roofing in good condition, regular maintenance is essential. Start by cleaning debris from the roof surface to prevent clogging of drainage systems. That will help avoid water pooling and potential leaks.

Additionally, make sure to prevent the growth of algae and mold by regularly removing any buildup on the roof using gentle cleaning solutions.

Inspecting your TPO roof for wear and tear is also crucial. Look for loose seams or damaged flashing that could lead to water infiltration and structural damage over time. 

Factors Affecting the Cost of TPO Roofing

One crucial factor is the size of the roof. The larger the roof, the more materials and labor will be required, which can increase the overall cost.

Additionally, whether it is a commercial or residential roof can also impact pricing. Seasonal pricing fluctuations may affect TPO prices, with higher demand during certain times of the year leading to increased costs.

Labor costs and brand choice are other factors that can influence pricing. Finally, warranty coverage and maintenance expenses should also be considered when determining the total cost of TPO roofing.

Comparison of TPO Roofing Cost to Other Roofing Materials

TPO roofing offers a cost-effective option compared to other roofing materials. The average cost of TPO roofing ranges from $5.50 to $8.75 per square foot, with material prices between $1.00 and $2.50 per square foot.

EPDM roofing can cost between $4.25 and $12 per square foot, including installation. Additionally, architectural shingles may last up to 30 years but come at a higher price than TPO roofing systems, which typically range from $3.00 to $9.00 per square foot.

Your Next Steps

TPO roofing is a synthetic rubber-like material used for flat roofs. It offers durability, pliability, and resistance to chemicals. With its cool roof technology and Energy Star rating, it is an energy-efficient option for both commercial and residential applications.

TPO roofing is easy to install and cost-effective compared to other roofing materials in the market. For an accurate estimate, contact us professionals at Clean Cut Roofing today!

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