What is TPO Roofing? (Your Quick Guide)

July 5, 2023

Sharing is caring!

Commercial property owners might wonder, what is TPO roofing, and is it a good choice for your property? A roofing contractor near you can help any property owner choose the right roofing material for a structure. In the meantime, note some quick information about TPO roofing and why it’s such a popular choice.

A Quick Guide to TPO Roofing Materials

In brief, TPO stands for Thermoplastic Olefin. Manufacturers create this material by blending polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. Next, they reinforce these layers with fiberglass or polyester strands. Consequently, the material is flexible yet extremely durable, resisting both heat and UV rays.

A contractor might apply TPO roofing in a variety of ways. First, they can attach it mechanically with specialty screws and plates. Second, a roofer might use a liquid adhesive applied with a specialty mop. Both are quick and easy, and applicable to a variety of flat roofing designs.


measuring for tpo roofing system

How Reliable are TPO Roofing Systems?

Commercial property owners appreciate Thermoplastic Olefin as it offers many benefits for their property! Some advantages of TPO roofing include:

  • Thermoplastic Olefin resists puncturing and tearing even during harsh weather and under impact. In turn, it’s an excellent choice for areas prone to storms, hail, and the like.
  • Flexible TPO roof materials are a great option in extreme climates. For example, metal expands when hot while shingles might shrink when they get cold. On the other hand, TPO flexes easily, reducing damage risks.
  • Lighter colors on roofs deflect sunlight and heat. Consequently, investing in white or light-colored TPO roofing means reduced energy costs, even in tropical locations.
  • In most cases, labor costs are the most expensive part of a new roof installation. On the other hand, contractors can install a TPO roof quickly and easily. Consequently, you might have a lower installation bill and enjoy that new roof in less time than with other options!
  • If you’re looking for an eco-friendly roofing option, consider TPO. These roofing materials break down and are recycled easily, keeping them out of landfills. This also reduces the need for new materials.

Which Is Better, TPO or EPDM?

EPDM or rubber roofing is a great choice for many commercial structures. First, it’s extremely durable and resists damage, including tearing. Second, its rubber surface encourages water runoff. In turn, it’s an excellent choice for low-slope or flat roofs.

On the other hand, TPO roofing is typically even more durable than EPDM. It offers a higher puncture resistance, and its seam strength is stronger than EPDM as well. Lastly, TPO roofing isn’t as prone to shrinkage as rubber roofing. Consequently, it might not last as long as TPO roof options.


flat roof with tpo roofing

How Long Will a TPO Roof Last?

A well-maintained TPO roof might last 20 to 30 years. This is longer than a bitumen roof, which usually lasts 10 to 20 years. However, note that weather conditions and wear and tear affect a roof’s lifespan. For example, overly heavy or too frequent foot traffic on a roof shortens its lifespan. Also, while TPO resists severe weather, storms and hail can risk premature damage.

Lastly, note that a roof material’s installation also affects its overall durability and longevity. Consequently, it’s vital that you hire an experienced roofer skilled in TPO applications. Additionally, ensure you get a warranty on both their materials and labor when considering a new roof installation.

Disadvantages of TPO Roofing Membrane

While Thermoplastic Olefin offers many benefits, it does have some downsides. One, smaller width rolls mean that contractors must close seams every six to eight feet. Two, manufacturers don’t always create rolls of similar quality or thickness. In turn, a contractor might face some challenges in getting rolls that sit evenly once installed.

However, most customers find that TPO roofs offer enough advantages that these outweigh their disadvantages! They’re especially durable when maintained properly and when you address needed fixes promptly. Lastly, remember to invest in high-quality materials and a reputable contractor for roofing installation. These simple steps ensure any roof’s longevity overall.

tpo roofing systems

FAQs About TPO Roofing Installation

Why use TPO roofing?

A TPO roof should be used for its cost-effectiveness, durability, and energy efficiency. It has a heat-welded seam that provides superior waterproofing protection. The material is lightweight, UV resistant, easy to install, and able to expand and contract with temperature changes, making it a great choice for many commercial and industrial buildings.

Is it OK to walk on a TPO roof?

We don't recommend walking on a TPO roof, as it can damage the surface and cause punctures. If access is necessary, try to walk on boards or planks rather than directly on the roof. Be sure to use non-staining mats, boots, and other protective clothing when possible.

What is better than TPO roofing?

TPO roofing is one of the most cost-effective, durable, and energy-efficient roof materials, but there are other options for commercial and industrial buildings. Metal roofs offer superior durability and longevity and can be customized to meet specific design needs. Other options include PVC membrane roofs or modified bitumen roofing, which have similar properties as TPO but with fewer installation challenges.

Do you have to clean a TPO roof?

Yes, regular maintenance and cleaning are necessary to ensure that your TPO roof remains in the best condition. Periodic inspections should be conducted for product warranties and to identify any potential problems with the roof before they become costly repairs. Cleaning should be done using a low-pressure washer and non-abrasive cleaners designed specifically for TPO membrane roofs. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when cleaning a TPO roof. Additionally, it is important to check for standing water on the roof after heavy rain or snowfall and clear any debris that has accumulated. This will help to ensure a long service life from your TPO membrane roof.

Does TPO require underlayment?

It is advisable to install a base sheet such as a polyester-reinforced, non-woven underlayment when installing TPO. This will help protect the membrane from punctures and tears. In some cases, it may also provide additional waterproofing protection for your roof. Additionally, be sure to adhere to manufacturer guidelines with respect to fasteners and placements of these fasteners. If installation is done properly, a TPO membrane roof will provide superior results in terms of waterproofing and durability.

A Note From Our Roofing Contractor Team

RC Roofing is happy to help explain more about TPO roofing to our readers. Hopefully, we’ve given you some useful information to consider. Also, if you’re in the area, call our Rhode Island roofing contractors for expert fixes. Trust a roofing contractor to get you started with a free inspection and quote for all your needed roofing fixes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © RC Roofing 2023
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram