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TPO Roofing System
TPO is a great solution for most flat roofing projects. With its superior, and outstanding resistance to weather and puncture, tpo roofing membranes area great choice for your flat roof project.

In great colors like white TPO roofing, Black TPO roofing and Grey TPO roofing, your roof can look great as well as functions great. Refer to our resources for the best advice, considerations and reviews of TPO roofing products and specialists.

Considerations of TPO
General TPO Info, Repair/Replace

TPO Roofing Systems: What You Need To Know Before You It Installed In Your Home or Business
TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) roofing system is a ‘new kid in the block’ in the single-ply roofing industry. TPO, which was developed in the early 1990s, has gained massive popularity in the U.S., holding about 36.5% industry market share. It is the number one choice for owners of industrial and commercial buildings who wish to gain LEED credit for their efforts. Besides commercial use, TPO roofing systems are quickly growing in popularity in residential markets.

thinking about tpo roofing

What is TPO?
TPO roofing systems were originally developed to provide the advantages of PVC and EPDM rubber roofs at a more economical cost and reduced environmental impact. TPO is made of a polymer – ethylene propylene rubber. Ethylene (an organic gaseous substance) and propylene (a petroleum byproduct) are chemically bound through a special technological procedure. Filler materials are added during the process: fiberglass, carbon filler and talc. A TPO roofing system is specifically designed to provide the benefit of a rubber roof, which has hot-air weldable seams to provide extra durability.

Advantages of TPO
TPO roofing systems have adopted the best advantages of their direct competitors PVC and EPDM, while providing business owners and homeowners a cost-effective, energy-efficient and innovative roofing solution.

TPO membranes are very durable. This durability comes from the ability to resist debris, algae and bacteria build-up. Besides that, the material is highly flexible which makes it resistant to impact damage, puncture and tears. The flexibility of TPO membranes makes it possible to change the settings of a building’s roofing systems without altering or destroying it.

TPO roofing membranes can withstand high chemical exposure, ozone and damaging ultraviolet rays. This property makes them ideal for buildings within industrial areas. They have remarkably strong hot-air welded seams, with seam strength greater than EPDM’s tape and adhesive seams by 3-4 times.

TPO roofing systems are cool roofs – they reflect the sun’s ultraviolet rays. For a large building, this can significantly reduce the cost of HVAC. It also makes working a lot easier during the uncomfortable hot summer weather since the interior temperature remains low.

TPO is environmentally friendly
The greatest advantage of TPO is that it’s an environmentally friendly roofing solution. There is increasing demand for green roofing solutions around the world and TPO has not failed on that. TPO is able to meet this need in a number of ways:

The membrane’s light color reflects the sun’s ultraviolet rays significantly reducing wastage of energy used in HVAC systems.

In addition to reducing temperatures in a building, the reflected ultraviolet rays of the sun help to mitigate the heat island effect. This prevents the formation of smog and hence cleaner air.

Chlorine and chlorine-containing ingredients are not added to the polymer during production. Chlorine is an environmentally hazardous element.

TPO is 100% recyclable. Old TPO membranes can be used again the TPO production process; they are ground up and used as the bottom ply of a fresh TPO membrane.

What to look for when buying a TPO roofing system
Good energy efficiency
A good TPO roofing system should meet the three-star and initial ENERGY STAR requirement. This will guarantee you of the membrane’s cool roof property. A TPO manufacturer who has not been the business for long enough, might not be qualified for the three year ENERGY STAR requirement. To be on safe side, buy your TPO membranes from an established manufacturer.

tpo roofing eco friendliness

For top notch energy efficiency, buy a TPO roofing system with a smooth surface. The smooth surface will prevent debris and dirt from adhering onto the surface of the roof. This will boost the reflective property of the membrane, and consequently increase its lifespan.

Longevity and durability
A durable TPO roof is one that can withstand high welding temperatures. Most problems with TPO roofing systems come from poor weldability. A membrane that can be easily welded can have more reliable seams which ensure greater performance. Strong seams imply fewer leaks and enhanced wind uplift performance.

The thickness of the TPO membrane is another critical factor to consider. A good membrane should have a thick top ply. Thicker membranes provide better protection against solar radiation and weathering. The minimum required TPO membrane thickness is 15 mils. The best performing membranes are those whose thickness is above 20 mils. A thicker TPO membrane might cost you a little bit more but it will eliminate the need for future repairs or replacement.

Quality of the membrane
Essentially, the quality of a TPO membrane depends on the manufacturer. No two TPO membrane brands are completely the same. All the major producers of TPO use different manufacturing processes, product designs and formula. In other words, every TPO manufacturer makes a unique version. Nevertheless, quality TPO membrane should have the right combination and formulation of raw materials enabled by the correct polymer. Some common ingredients to look for include:

Ultraviolet light stabilizers – they are responsible for long-term strength and weathering resistance properties of the membrane.

Fire retardants – Some membranes may have magnesium hydroxide (non-halogenated) which makes the membrane fire resistant.

Titanium dioxide pigments – increases the reflectivity, whiteness and the color of the membrane.
Heat stabilizers – protect the membrane from heat degradation during the manufacturing process and after the membrane is installed.

Selecting the right manufacturer
With increasing demand for TPO roofing systems, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of TPO manufacturers. Choosing the right one can be a daunting task. However, you have no option but do the homework if you want to have a lasting roofing solution. A good place to start is by getting answers to the following questions:

How long has the manufacturer been in the business of making TPO membranes? Remember that the experience of a manufacturer will determine the quality of their products. Their performance record is verifiable from past clients.
How many times have they formulated? Choose a manufacturer whose formulation has not undergone excessive experimentation. A manufacturer whose formula is constantly being reviewed might be producing substandard membranes.

Do they adhere to ASTM requirements in terms of membrane thickness? ASTM requires 15 mils thickness over scrim.

Choosing The Right Installer
Does the installer have a proven track record? It is important to choose a company with a good reputation. What do past clients say about their products and services? Can they provide a list of references? Or do they have testimonials on their website? The experiences of other client can greatly influence your decision when choosing a TPO installation company.

Do they offer warranties? Warranty is mandatory when it comes to roofing matters. Choose a company which guarantees its work. Get the complete details of the warranties so you know what is covered and what is not.
Are their contractors trained, licensed and experienced? The durability and performance of a TPO roof doesn’t only depend on the quality, the contractor installing it also plays a major role. Be sure that the manufacturer has qualified contractors.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of TPO Roofing
General TPO Info, Repair/Replace

Pros And Cons Of TPO Roofing
When you are ready to build a house there are a lot of decisions that has to be made. One big decision you have to decide on is your roofing. There are many types of roofs you can decide on and if you are looking for something that is energy efficient then you should try TPO roofing. TPO means thermoplastic olefin. TPO has the benefits of a couple of its direct competitors which is EPDM and also PVC roofs, without all of the drawbacks or the expensive costs. With that being said TPO roofing is UV resistant and it is heat resistant like EPDM and it is just as well as heat weldable as PVC. Just like other roofing material, TPO has disadvantages and short comings that is mainly because, TPO is still new to the roofing material market. There is still some research being done about the most durable and a very long lasting product formulation. How ever, when you are deciding on the type of roof you want to purchase then you should investigate the pros and cons.

First thing first TPO membrane was introduced to the roofing industry back in the early 1990’s. TPO was a more economical and efficient alternative that was there to replace the PVC roofing products. TPO is also a single ply roofing system that has a thermoplastic polyolefin membrane. This particular membrane has three layers to it which is: TPO polymer base, thermoplastic polyolefin compounded top ply, and reinforce polyester fabric center. There are some fillers that are commonly used in TPO manufacturing and they are: fiberglass, carbon fiber, tale, metal oxy sulfate, and wollastonite. There are some popular rubbers being used in TPO manufacturing and they are: ethylene propylene rubber and EPDM.

Benefits Of TPO Roofing
There are a few benefits of the TPO roofing membrane. The benefits is that they are:

The factor that attract TPO roofing in the residential and in the commercial construction is the cheaper price. TPO has some of the same benefits as PVC like: hot air weldable seams and also energy efficiency, however the cost is much cheaper.

Fits different styles of homes
A lot of people who own their homes are happy that TPO is manufactured to look really good on many different styles of homes. You can get TPO in a variety of colors. The colors include light grey, white, and also black those are your color options. There is no need to just get a white roof to save energy and reflective properties. The technology of today lets all colors from TPO roofing be UV resistant and also cool.

When you are comparing TPO membranes to other thermoplastic membranes, TPO will resist all mold growth, dirt accumulation, and also the impact and punctures of the tear. TPO is made to be very flexible and it will allow a home or building to move or settle. When TPO is reinforced TPO membranes can handle a building’s thermal expansion and contraction can be a tad bit more effectively over other ply roofing products that are single.

TPO installation
Generally, TPO membranes are manufactured and TPO membranes just so happen to be manufactured with wider sheets and are lightweight as well. This means that the material that is being used is easier to install and there are fewer seams. Less work and time associated with the installation translates into direct savings for you for the cost of installation. ed with wider sheets and they are very lightweight. That means the material is easier to install and there are fewer seams. Less work and time associated with the installation and translates into direct savings for you for the cost of installation.

Energy Efficient
Having the energy efficiency for TPO roofing membrane’s makes them attractive most home owners that would like to have the benefits of saving money on their cooling cost and it helps the environment to reduce the carbon foot print. TPO white reflective surface is more than the EPA’s energy star requirements. Gray, white, tan are on the list with the cool roof rating council. Which means that by having a TPO roof on your home or on your place of business will help keep the interior thermally comfortable on a real hot summer day while it is reducing your air conditioning cost.

Disadvantages of TPO Roofing
Questionable longevity
The biggest disadvantages of TPO is that it is a really young roofing technology. And TPO has been around here for only about 10 years and the manufactures are still doing test to figure out the best chemical formula that will make the product durable and long lasting while maintaining a competitive price. The new and the improved formulas continue to be tested, however it has not been possible to tell at this point how long the new TPO roofing product will last. So if you choose to purchase a TPO roofing membrane, you should get it from a manufacturer that has been around since the beginning of TPO production, because they will most likely have the most long lasting formulation that is available on the market today.

Can not handle heat load
TPO roofing has been said to have a problem with the accelerated weather when it is subjected to high thermal and solar loading. This big problem has been specifically documented in the Southern states that has gotten a lot of heat and a lot of sun throughout the entire year. The MRCA committee that had issued the report had based it on their research, and they had recommended the following to all contractors: If situations exist that may commonly elevate temperatures over 160 degrees or increase solar loads beyond normal question the manufacturer as to the suitability of their product for the situation; consider changing the product to a material that will clearly withstand the loading.

In conclusion TPO is still fairly new and has a long road ahead. In spite of the cons it is still a good investment. Time and technology will help it to be the very best roofing it can be. To best understand if TPO roofing is right for your building be sure to check with your local TPO Roofing Expert.

What Is TPO Roofing?

TPO Roofing
Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) roofing membrane is often regarded as one of the most efficient and economical roofing alternative to asphalt and PVC roofing systems. This highly adaptable, single-ply roofing system is made of thermoplastic polyolefin membrane, which consists of polyester-reinforced fabric center, thermoplastic polyolefin top-fly compound and a TPO polymer base. TPO fabric also constitutes fillers made of components such as Wollastonite, Carbon fiber, Fiberglass, Metal Oxy-Sulfate, EPDM and Ethylene-propylene rubber. The TPO membranes can only be installed on flat or near flat roofing surface in order to create water runoff and prevent water leaks. The growing popularity of TPO roofing has seen many commercial building adopt this roofing system at the expense of older, less effective roofing systems. The TPO roofing system was first used in the 80’s. Today, TPO roofing installation can be done using a number of techniques, including ballasting, chemical, thermal and mechanical attachment.

White TPO roof

TPO is usually heat welded using special computerized hot-air equipment that can emit heats of up to 1,000 degrees in the seams. It is important to note that the heat welding form of attachment creates some of the strongest bond of any roofing systems in use today. If the heating process is taking place in an open field, the use of an automatic wielder is highly recommended. This type of wielder sets the right heating temperature, speed and pressure for adjoining the membrane sheets together. Aside from TPO, the other types of membrane roofing systems available include; Polyisobutylene (PIB), Polyvinyl-Chloride (PVC), Ethylene-Propylene-Diene-Manomer (EPDM) and Chlorosufonated Polyethylene (CSPE). Just like TPO, these membranes consist of large sheets of materials which are usually enjoined using thermal or chemical methods. TPO is however, cheaper than PVC and better compared to EPDM Rubber roofing materials, because it also provides the benefits that come with hot-air wielded seams. The wide array of TPO roofing services includes single-ply roofing, residential and commercial TPO roofing, rubber roofing and roofing replacement among other services.

TPO Performance
TPO is relatively lighter and much easier to handle compared to other flat thermoplastic membranes. In terms of texture, TPO is both flexible and rigid. This factor makes it easy to mold TPO into any desired shape. When a TPO roofing membrane is installed in a building, several features are noticeable. First, changes in texture and color can be noted over time. Secondly, the membrane responds to changes in temperature much more dramatically. Recent studies and experiments on the material have established that TPO membranes with continuous polyester fiber scrim reinforcements have a higher tensile breaking strength compared to those reinforced using random short glass fiber mat. This is mostly because the fibers on polyester fiber scrim are designed to bear the majority of applied stress before the breaking.

Engineers and contractors who prefer membrane style of roofing usually choice of membranes based on the material attributes and job requirements. Although membrane roofing systems are largely installed on commercial structures, the cost of membrane varies from as little as $125 to $350 per square or higher, which makes them highly attractive to homeowners. A newly purchased membrane roofing package typically includes; the membrane, flashing and insulation materials, sealant and roofing accessories. Roofing accessories such as adhesives and primers are often used along overlapping edges to form an unbreakable bond between the sheets. Before a building or roofing contractor comes up with cost estimates of installing a TPO roofing system, a thorough site inspection and analysis must be done. On the other hand, the cost of labor needed during the installation process may vary depending on the work load at hand.

The Benefits of Installing a TPO Roofing Membrane
Durability – TPO is more durable and creates the strongest seams when pit against other thermoplastic membranes. This membrane can resist punctures, as well as dirt buildup and mold growth. TPO material is also flexible enough to allow building movements and settling. The material can also effectively handle adjustments caused by expansion and contraction.
Quick and easy installation – TPO membranes come in wider, lightweight sheets which makes the installations process easy and faster because there are very few seams to work with. The accumulated installation time savings can add up to great savings.

Energy efficient – the energy savings brought about by TPO is reflected in the lower cooling cost and reduced carbon footprint it leaves behind.
Highly versatile and adaptable – TPO roofing installation looks great on all types of buildings. This is primarily because of characteristics such as availability in different color options. The colors range from white and grey to reflective black color. The grey, white and tan TPO roofing systems are known to produce greater cooling effect compared to most of the black membranes available. This property is greatly beneficial to the HVCA system and other roofing installations.

Economical – TPO is highly economical in commercial building and residential home roofing work. The material comes with many advantages similar to those provided by PVC. These advantages include energy efficiency, easy installation and ability to perform hot-air weldable seams. In addition, the reflective white surface of TPO membrane ranks higher than the existing EPA Energy Star standards. TPO roofing can go a long way to reduce the cost of air-conditioning while keeping a building’s interior thermal conditions bearable during the hot summers.

The other benefits of PRO roofing systems include the ability to last up to 30 years, resistance to a wide range of chemicals and the recycling advantage. TPO is also resistance to UV and heat degradation. There are few drawbacks of installing a TPO roofing system. First, the surface can turns very slippery when covered in snow or frost. When performing repairs or re-welding on a TPO material, the whole process may prove problematic especially if the roofing system is exposed to the sun. In addition, Black TPO membranes are typically more difficult to weld compared to white TPO membranes. Lastly, effective TPO welding can only be undertaken by an experienced TPO roofing technician.

Testing the TPO Roofing System
Examine and test the welds daily – test welds should be undertaken at least twice a day in the morning and in the afternoon. This procedure is very important, especially when restarting the machine to prevent the application of excessive heat during welding. Excessive heat can also arise as a result of very low welder speed or exposure to very high air temperatures. It is important to note that too much heat can consume the polymer stabilizers, which can lead to membrane deterioration. The ideal temperature for undertaking the welding operation should be low enough to produce good seams to match the production speed.
Avoid welder drag – During the installation process, eliminating the drag element helps ensure proper TPO installation. The contractor also needs to align the edge of the roller with the inside edge of the nozzle. If the alignment process is not properly done, the hot-air nozzle can create destructive gouges on the membrane.
What is Rubber Roofing


As a way of shedding some light on this whole issue, it would first be reasonable to define what it is. Literally, this would mean a roof that is made of rubber and however much that has some aspects of truth, it still is not very clear as it ought to be. Rubber roofing is a term that was coined to refer to flat houses that people began to construct with the aid of reducing the cost of roofing materials. This was common in the U.S and England. However, eventually these people incurred the problem of water logging in their roofs. This would lead to their cracking, and another cost had to be incurred. To curb this, they came up with the technology of using an extremely synthetic and durable rubber membrane to cover their flats and to increase their durability.

Most common methods of rubber roofing

  1. Use of EPDM
    This is a very common method of rubber roofing that started way back when the problems of leaking roofs begun. EPDM is an acronym that actually stands for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. It is made of a synthetic material that is very durable and quite resistant. The following are the characteristics that have seen this method gain abundant popularity:

First of all it is very easy to install, and they come with cheap retail prices. Installation of these materials as well comes with a cost and the easier they are to install, they cheaper terms of service.

The glue that are used to seal them as well is not dictated by weather condition like is often the case with some other roofing rubbers. This simply means that it never reaches a situation that is too cold or too hot for the installation of EPDM on your roof. You install it whenever you want to, and factors like the weather is not a determining factor.

Finally is their ability to withstand the tides of time for quite a long time. The one thing that actually dictates the kind of rubber roofing that a person will opt for is definitely the length of time it would last. The advantage behind this, therefore, is that it is meant to last for a reasonable number of years to avoid your incurring costs for repair.

  1. Modified Bitumen Membranes
    This is the second type of rubber roofing that has so popularly been used by flats constructors for quite a long time. They are two in types, and it depends on the individual choice and preference. The following are some of its features:

First of all it should be noted that they are not as flat as the EPDM. They portray a rougher surface and unlike the others do not pose a very clean surface.

Secondly, they have a better adhesion. This is because their seems are heat welded. The better the adhesion, the better the contact and thus the more durable they tend to become and that gives it a notch higher advantage.

They have a thicker and tougher membrane compared to the rest, and this make them quite durable. They cannot tear out easily when people or other things walk on them.

Many people have shied away from this option not because it is a bad one but mainly because of lack of experience of installation.

  1. TPO
    This is the third option of rubber roofing. It must be noted that his material is not entirely rubber like the rest. They come in either vinyl or PVC. They last for quiet a long time estimated to be 25 to 30 years. The following are some of the features of this method of rubber roofing:

Their membranes have improved in the recent past. The stereotypes of the lowness of quality of membrane do not hold any water anymore.

Their seems are as well better than those of the others in terms of quality and what this translates into is that they are bound to hold for much longer than the rest.

Its general appearance unlike the other two is comparatively clean and smoother. If you are a big fan of smooth and beautifully clean roofs then this is your option.

Their disadvantage, however, is that they tend to shrink a lot and pull their edges to the center. It as well requires a lot of maintenance lest they tear out so easily.

For more in-depth information check out this post dedicated to TPO Roofing.

How To Choose Your Rubber Roof Type
With all of the choices when it comes to rubber roofing, educating yourself on the pros and cons of every type of roof is quite difficult and time consuming. It is probably best if you allow a professional commercial roofing company look at the scope of your project and make their best recommendation. Educating yourself about the basic options and drawbacks will help you make the most intelligent decision about your flat roofing needs.

Warning Signs of Wear on TPO

The TPO membrane actually lasts quite a long time. The membrane itself usually lasts for about 15-25 years. It all depends on the skills of the installers and manufacturers. If you have a good manufacturer behind you, your roof will last a long time.

With that being said, let’s look into some other things. Let’s first look into some signs that it could be wearing.

TPO roof system breakdown

1)TPO will only wear out in certain areas. Look at every angle. Is there a specific area that is showing signs of losing the functionality? If this is true, you need to think about replacing the roof.

2)The edges of the membrane. You will find this mostly in the older roofs. The newer roofs try to prevent this as much as possible. How do you know if you have an older TPO roof. Look at the edges. If the edges are falling out and becoming frail, this is a pretty good indication that something is wrong.

3) The seams are another good indication. Seams don’t generally separate, as they do in other brands. With a TPO roof, the seams are fused together tightly. If you see the seams falling apart, this is a red flag. It’s also a sign that you need to repair/replace right away.

Now let’s look at how you go about picking out your new TPO roof.

It doesn’t matter if you are upgrading, starting from scratch or getting something brand new, you have to consider lots of things. Allow me to walk you through these variables right now.

Roofers don’t really use the term “square feet” anymore. If you use words like this, you will end up confusing them. Keep it simple. The best word to use is “squares.” This is how roofers talk for roofing jobs; especially, when you are dealing with a TPO roof.

To them, one square is 100 square feet. I’m warning you about this now. If you tell your roofer you need 2 squares of TPO roofing, he/she will assume you need 200 feet. Learn the terminology before you go in to buy. This will save you time and hassle. The roofing contractor won’t feel as though he/she is dealing with a “newbie” either.

This is one of the biggest issues that people go through with a TPO roof, or any roof. Cost is always one of the biggest considerations; but, it should not be the only consideration. Some homeowners have put off repairing/replacing their TPO roof because of cost. Don’t make this mistake. It’s a consideration, but not the biggest one.

Will all the older materials need to be stripped off? Will the supporting structure need work? The shape of your TPO roof is also a factor. Another factor is how many chimneys and skylights you have. If you have multiple intersecting features, this is all going to cost more. If you have to redo the structure entirely, this will also cost more too.

Keep this mind before you recruit a TPO roofing contractor. Keep this mind before you give your roofer a call. The more information you can give him/her, the better the situation will be.

Not all TPO roofs can support certain materials. Roofs that are flat, they can’t support materials made for a steeper pitch. Slate and tile might be the preferred way to go, but can your roof handle it. If you are unsure, always talk to your contractor.

If you are just remodeling the TPO roof you have now, work with these materials. Don’t try to be different. Don’t try to be the rebel. If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.

What if I am starting over with my roof?


You never want to deviate from the old. Just because a certain color looks good, does not mean you should use it. You have to work with what is best for your structure. You also need to pick a color which supports the color scheme. In other words, don’t just go with pink because it looks cool. How will it look from the outside. How will it support the rest of your home?

Some of you may know what this is already. I am speaking for those of you who do not. Flashing is crucial for roofs, even TPO roofs. It comes in either metal or plastic. Flashing is used on surfaces that intersect with one another. It’s a sealant that protects and hides the look. This way people won’t notice when something is sticking out.

This one is entirely up to you. You don’t need to have it, but it is recommended.

I will leave you with one final note. When it comes to replacing/repairing your TPO roof, work with a contractor you really trust. If you just moved into an area, get a series of free roof estimates. The interviewing process is the best way to weed out the good from the bad. Ask as many questions as you can along the way. Do not settle. If a particular contractor does not feel right to you, get someone else. Your TPO roof deserves the best treatment. Make sure it gets the best treatment.

Charlotte Roofers