This series of posts covers the pros and cons of the most popular types of commercial roofs. In this post, we cover the basics of TPO.
You can also check out our posts on EPDM, metal, asphalt, vegetative and slate and tile roofing systems, and see our Guide To Commercial Roofing Systems: Pros and Cons that covers the highlights of each system in a PDF you can view online or download.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) commercial roof
TPO commercial roofs are the most popular commercial roofs in use today. They can last up to 30 years, require less maintenance than other roofing systems, reflect light and can sometimes be installed over existing roofs.
First installed in the late 1980’s, a TPO commercial roof is a single-ply membrane that consists of polymer/filler blends. The blends used typically contain:
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Polyethylene (PE)
- Block Copolymer Polypropylene (BCPP)
- Some Type of Reinforcing Filler
TPO commercial roofs keep your building cooler during the summer months because they reflect UV light. As a result, you’ll experience a decrease in cooling costs and carbon emissions. The flexible quality also allows it to maintain its integrity during building movement. TPO commercial roofs work well for low-slope areas and can be shaped according to the details of any roof. Other benefits including:
- Easy installation
- No toxic or hazardous materials
- Reflective, typically white or dove gray but other colors are available
- Economical and sustainable (membranes can be recycled)
- Environmentally friendly
- Long-lasting performance
During installation, the membranes are heated at an extremely high temperature to create a fused seam — this contributes to a longer lasting performance. The seam is flexible as well.
There are a few disadvantages associated as well. Since TPO is a single-ply membrane, it’s more vulnerable to punctures, abuse, and problems with laps and flashing that you don’t experience with roofing systems that have multiple layers. And if there’s a puncture in an area that’s ponding a lot of water, you could experience a severe leak into your property.
On the other hand, it’s easy to find the problems. Plus, newer, improved materials — such as thicker materials and specialized work pads — alleviate many these problems.
Despite the minor disadvantages, a TPO commercial roof can be an excellent option for your property and with proper maintenance can protect your building (and everything in it) for a long time. If you’re installing a new TPO roof, they’re available in 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year warranty configurations.
Sentry Roof Services has extensive experience with TPO commercial roofs — from installation to maintenance to repairs. If you have any questions about your TPO roof or how you can best maintain it, please let us know.