If you have a flat roof or a roof with a low slope, you may be considering TPO roofing as a great material option for your new or old roof.
TPO is by far one of the more popular and quicker growing forms of roofing, especially in the commercial industry.
It is a thin, inexpensive roofing material for property owners who are looking to gain a durable and reflective roof without draining the bank.
However, before you choose this particular form of roofing for your property, it is important that you familiarize yourself with what it is, some pros and cons of TPO roofing, as well as some other basic information.
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What Is TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) Roofing?
Thermoplastic polyolefin, TPO for short, is a single-ply membrane that is designed to cover the entire surface of a flat roof.
While the name makes you assume that it is made of plastic, TPO is really made of multiple types of rubber.
Generally, TPO is constructed from a combination of polypropylene as well as ethylene-propylene rubber.
This roofing membrane comes in different thicknesses, depending on the application. For instance, a commercial option is going to be thicker than an option that is going to be installed on a residential roof.
As a general rule, you can obtain TPO roofing in 45 mil, 60 mil, and 90 mil thicknesses, with 60 mil being the most common thickness.
Pros of TPO Roofing
There are numerous benefits to having TPO roofing installed on your residential or commercial property. One of the most popular reasons TPO roofing is chosen for roofs is because it is cost-effective.
When compared to other similar roofing materials available on the market, such as PVC and EPDM, TPO offers the same qualities at a lower or comparable price.
It is also more economical in terms of energy costs due to its ability to reflect the ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Another benefit to TPO roofing membranes is the fact that they are lightweight and made in wider sheets.
As a result, there are fewer seams during installation, and the installation itself is also easier. Since it takes less time and effort to install the membrane compared to other types of roofing material, you can expect to pay less out of your pocket for the installation.
TPO roofing is also extremely durable, which is important since it is constantly exposed to the sun. As the temperature fluctuates, the material will expand and contract.
Unlike other roofing materials, you don’t have to worry about TPO cracking and tearing apart. The seams with this type of roofing are far tougher and are able to withstand the movement from the constant sun exposure.
Further, this type of roofing resists the growth of mold, accumulation of dirt, and punctures, which means you have a strong roof that requires minimal ongoing maintenance.
As previously mentioned, TPO roofing reflects the sun well, which results in energy savings as well as a comfortable interior atmosphere.
TPO roofing is considered an Energy Star-rated roofing material. It comes in white, light grey, and even black, which means it will complement almost any exterior.
And, yes, even the black TPO roofing is UV-resistant! So, if you are looking for a way to cut back and reduce your carbon footprint while ensuring your aesthetic preferences are met at the same time, look no further than TPO roofing.
Cons of TPO Roofing
While there are many advantages to TPO roofing, it is imperative that you consider the downfalls to this type of roofing before moving forward with it.
Ultimately, TPO is still a relatively new type of roof to the market, which means there are new advancements being made to create a better product. Therefore, some TPO membranes are simply better than others.
Ultimately, the best product is still in the making, and everything is questionable at this point. This means that you could run into issues with your product.
The best way to avoid this is to work with a manufacturer that has been selling TPO membranes for some time, as they are more likely to have developed a long-lasting formula.
Another downside to TPO roofing is that it may not stand up well in excessive heat, even though TPO is known to be reflective of the sun and heat.
So, if you live in a warmer state where the temperatures get incredibly high and potentially stay warm year-round, there is a chance that the material will not be able to withstand the constant exposure to the excessive heat (abnormal solar loads). Unfortunately, this may weaken the roof and considerably shorten its life expectancy.
Cost of TPO Roofing
Touched on previously, TPO roofing is a very cost-effective roofing material. This is true in terms of material and labor costs as well as energy savings.
There are a number of factors that will play a role in determining the overall cost of materials and installation, including the size and complexity of the roof, the thickness of the membrane, the quality of the insulation, and the average labor charge in the area.
On average, though, you can expect to pay between $7-12 per square foot to have a TPO roof installed on a residential property, and this includes materials.
For a commercial property, you are likely to pay less ($5-8 on average) per square foot due to the larger-sized project.
How Long Does TPO Roofing Last?
There are many characteristics to a TPO roof that make it so popular, and one of those characteristics is longevity.
When a TPO roof has been installed properly, its lifespan is around 25 to 30 years. During this period of time, you can expect your roof to benefit you and your property positively.
Is TPO Roofing Glued Down?
Yes and no. As mentioned earlier, TPO is made in wider sheets, which makes for fewer seams and a quicker installation.
As these wider rolls of TPO membrane are rolled out, they are cut to fit the roof deck. There are then three different ways in which the membrane can be attached to the roof.
TPO roofing can be hot-air welded down to the roof, which is considered fully adhered to. It can also be screwed or nailed to the deck, which is referred to as mechanically adhered to.
Finally, TPO roofing can be held in place by strategically placed ballasts or river rocks, which is considered ballasted.
Can You Walk on TPO Roofing?
One question that many people have regarding TPO roofs is whether they can walk on them. If you need to get on your roof to perform repairs to HVAC equipment or perform a semi-annual or post-storm inspection, it is entirely possible to do so. TPO membranes are strong, durable, and capable of being walked on.
However, it is important to take into consideration the surface when walking on the roof. For instance, like other flat surfaces, TPO membranes can become very slippery when wet, snowy, or icy. Therefore, it is imperative that you are extra cautious when walking on the roof during these conditions.
Now that you are a little bit more familiar with TPO roofing, what do you think? As you can see, there are many advantages to TPO roofing, but like most things, it has its drawbacks.
If you are considering TPO for your residential or commercial roof, you will want to ensure that you perform your due diligence on various manufacturers before choosing one.
The same is true with a roofing contractor. Make sure you find one that has a proven track record and a warranty. TPO roofing can be great if it is properly installed, but it can wreak havoc if it is not installed correctly.
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