Thermoplastic polyolefin roofing, also referred to as TPO, was introduced in the 1990s as a more affordable alternative to PVC. It falls into the category of rubber roofing and, over the past few decades, has surged in popularity in both commercial and residential flat roofing applications.
What is TPO Roofing Made of?
TPO is a single-ply material, meaning only one sheet/membrane is installed. This sheet is made of two layers of thermoplastic polyolefin with a polyester-reinforced fabric layer between. Each TPO layer is made of ethylene-propylene rubber with fillers such as carbon fiber, talc, and fiberglass.
The fillers are what make the material strong and flexible. The center polyester-reinforced layer makes it even more flexible so that it can be rolled out onto the roof. TPO does not contain chemicals that could harm the environment.
Options for TPO Roofing
When TPO roofing hit the market in the 1990s, it became the preferred material for commercial applications. In recent years, there has been an increase in the popularity for residential applications as well. This is primarily due to its curb appeal and energy-saving potential.
The most common color for TPO roofing is white. However, it is also available in black or grey. White is best for energy saving because it reflects heat and UV rays away from the building. However, some people prefer black or grey for aesthetics.
TPO roofing is also available in a variety of thicknesses and widths. This means that you can choose the one that best fits your specific roofing requirements.
- Commercial TPO is 0.080” thick and is available in 3’ or 12’ wide rolls
- Residential TPS is 0.045” to 0.060” thick and comes in 6.5’ wide by 100’ long rolls
Advantages vs. Disadvantages of TPO Roofing
TPO roofing is fairly new compared to other roofing materials. Therefore, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages for your commercial roof in Austin, TX.
- TPO is flexible and resistant to damage from the building moving/settling
- TPO is resistant to UV rays and chemical exposure, which contributes to its lifespan. This also helps reduce your HVAC costs in hot weather.
- TPO is environmentally-friendly
- TPO seams are hot air-welded, making them flexible and up to 4 times stronger than EPDM seams that use tape/adhesive
- TPO is new compared to other roofing materials
- TPO seam failure may occur in lower quality brands
- TPO can withstand high heat, but is not invincible to high temperatures and may fail with extended heat exposure
- TPO manufacturers are not equal- some are always changing their formula to save on manufacturing costs, at the sacrifice of quality.
Choosing TPO Roofing
The best way to get the most from your TPO roof is to choose the best roofing contractor in Austin. Here are a few tips for choosing TPO roofing:
- Consider the thickness: It should be at least thick enough for your chosen application
- Measurements/Calculations: The contractor should take precise measurements to ensure your TPO roof is installed correctly
- Weldability: the best TPO has a high weldability, which means that each strip can be consistently joined together
- Wide sheets: TPO comes in wide rolls/sheets- the wider your material, the fewer seams will be required. This increases the speed at which the roof is installed since there are fewer joining processes and mechanical fasteners required.
Let Austin Commercial Flat Roofing Handle Your TPO Installation
The most important part of TPO roofing installation is to hire a professional that you can trust to do it right the first time. While we are based in Austin, we serve commercial and industrial clients across the entire region. Our team is committed to providing quality installation, exceptional service, and top-quality workmanship in each and every job.