Thermoplastic polyolefin – or TPO – is a type of single-ply roofing membrane specifically designed for flat or low-slope roofs. Generally, commercial buildings use this kind of commercial roofing because of their flat roofs.
As more business owners have realized the many benefits of thermoplastic polyolefin, commercial TPO roofing has increased in popularity. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, TPO accounts for up to 40% of the commercial roofing market share. That's why contractors like us at Anderson Restoration LLC Roofing Services are experts at installing TPO roofs.
What Is TPO roofing?
Single-ply membranes, like TPO, are individual sheets made of rubber and other synthetic materials that builders and contractors attach to the roof's insulation. There are two primary forms of single-ply membrane commercial roofing:
- Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO)
- Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM)
Three distinct layers comprise one sheet of TPO. These three bonded layers are:
- Top Layer: Thermoplastic polyolefin
- Middle Layer: Scrim layer (polyester-reinforced fabric center)
- Bottom Layer: Thermoplastic polyolefin
Manufacturers produce each layer of TPO using ethylene-propylene rubber constructed with fillers composed of materials including carbon fiber, fiberglass, and talc. Additionally, unlike other roofing materials such as PVC, TPO roofing doesn't have environmentally adverse chemicals like chlorine.
When Do You Need TPO Roofing?
Any private or commercial building with a flat or low-slope roof will need roofing other than traditional asphalt shingles. If your roof's slope is below a 2:12 ratio, it is a low-slope roof. Because many cities have building codes that don't allow you to install asphalt shingles on a roof with a steepness below a 2:12 ratio, you will need TPO or another kind of flat roofing system.
Why Choose TPO?
As mentioned above, if your roof is flat or low-slope, you may need to install TPO or another type of flat roofing system. Still, TPO offers some specific advantages compared to these other systems. First, the TPO roofing system's materials allow your roof to reflect sunlight and heat instead of absorbing it. So, if you're interested in maximizing your building's energy-efficiency, TPO may be right for you.
Second, the installation process is often quicker and safer than other roof installation processes. Third, the materials in TPO roofs give them a unique combination of flexibility, strength, and durability. Given this durability, TPO roofs can last for up to 25 years, depending on several factors, including:
- Direct sunlight exposure
- Quality of installation
Finally, many TPO roofs, like those we use at Anderson Restoration, include superb warranties. These warranties help protect your commercial TPO roofing investment and give you peace of mind.
How Do You Install a TPO Roof?
Unlike with other roofing materials, installing a TPO roof is a unique process. After cleaning or removing the existing roof, contractors first place the insulation. Owners can choose between different types of insulation, which include:
- Polyisocyanurate – This type of insulation is one of the most used. It is also typically the most expensive form but has a higher R-value rating (a measure of the insulation's ability to prevent heat from traveling through it).
- Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) – Compared to other kinds of insulation, EPS has one of the highest R-value per dollar ratios.
- Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) – XPS generally lands between Polyisocyanurate and EPS in both price and performance.
Typically, contractors use mechanical fasteners and plates to fasten the TPO membrane to the roof deck. Alternatively, they may attach a TPO roof with adhesives, but this method is uncommon. When installing each sheet of TPO, contractors slightly overlap them to ensure the fasteners are sealed.
Then, the contractors seam these membranes together via a process known as hot-air welding. Using a hot-air welding gun, they can meld each TPO membrane to its overlapping sheet and create a secure seam. Like the roof itself, these seams are flexible and durable, and hot-air welded seams are also waterproof and resistant to uplift caused by a strong wind.
Start Your Commercial TPO Roofing Project Today
Anderson Restoration has provided expert roofing repair and restoration services — including commercial TPO roofing — to the Houston/Cypress, Grapevine, San Antonio, and Austin areas since 1983. As proud members of the Better Business Bureau, you can rest assured that we consistently employ industry-best practices to best serve each client's needs.
If you need a certified roofing contractor for any of your roofing needs or simply want to learn more about commercial TPO roofing during a complimentary estimate, contact us online or call 832-281-4607 or 817-518-4735.