White thermoplastic polyolefin membrane roofing (or TPO for short) is quickly gaining popularity in the world of commercial roofing. It is comprised of a reflective, single-ply membrane that’s made of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. These two materials are polymerized together to create a sturdy material protected by a reflective white top later.
Thermoplastic polyolefin membranes are single-ply squares that are made of a mixture of two types of rubber: polypropylene and ethylene-propylene. The TPO membranes come in a variety of widths – commonly 45 to 90 millimeters – and are available in colors such as black, gray, and white.
There are three main layers that make up the membrane of a TPO roofing system:
A TPO polymer base.
A scrim or polyester-reinforced fabric middle.
A thermoplastic polyolefin compounded pinnacle ply.
When combined, these layers will form a single membrane that will be adhered to or mechanically attached to the surface of a flat roof. Either way, this material will offer years of protection to a commercial building.
TPO membranes are normally installed by a specialized contractor, like us at 970 Services. It is installed in one of four ways: either mechanically attached using screws and plates, ballasted, fully adhered, or heat welded.
Heat-welding through hot-air welding is the most common application because it allows the material to bind to itself. This creates an impermeable surface for superior seam strength, enhanced wind uplift resistance, and optimal leak protection. Because thermoplastics transition from a solid to a semisolid substance, the overlapping panels are seamed together when they cool for incredibly thorough protection.
There’s a lot to love about a TPO roofing system. It is a resilient, highly favored roofing material used to protect flat commercial building roofs. Building owners can rest assured that their asset is well protected when they opt from a TPO roof. Here are just a few reasons why:
One of the most coveted benefits of the TPO roofing system is its durability. It features tensile strength and the ability to withstand a vast variety of weather conditions and wear. With a puncture-resistance coating, owners don’t need to worry about damage on high-traffic roofs. TPO also offers top-tier solar reflectivity to protect the roof and building from harmful UV rays.
This option is as close to “set it and forget it” as you can get with commercial roofing. At most, you may need to schedule the occasional inspection, cleaning, or repair. But this resilient material is great for the building owner that doesn’t want to constantly worry about their roof. Furthermore, a TPO roof will typically last anywhere from 20-30 years.
TPO systems are one of the cheaper options for flat roofs. Installing this type of roof can cost anywhere from $5.00 to $6 per square foot. This versatile roofing option is well-suited for many different buildings at a low price tag for both new roofs and re-roofing projects.
There are a host of ways that a TPO roof can help an owner maintain a more eco-friendly building. First and foremost, it helps to keep the interior of a building temperature lower. The reflective white thermoplastic helps to keep your roof nice and cool. A cooler roof will help keep the rest of your building at a lower temperature too. Traditional materials may actually absorb heat and make your cooling costs higher.
The energy-saving capabilities of TPO roofing actually meet and exceed the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR specifications.
The material itself is also easier on the environment than other flat roof options such as EPDM.
The smooth, impermeable surface of a TPO roof offers superior protection from the elements. Debris, bacteria, algae, and dirt are not prone to collect on a TPO roof. Since it is secured so tightly against the roof, it also stands up against wind uplift well.
The TPO installation process is not terribly complicated compared to other commercial roofing options. The contractor will simply lay down an adequate amount of insulation and affix the TPO material directly on top. They will then use heat welders and heat fastening plates to secure them in place. This does require specialized machinery but it’s a relatively quick and simple process for a roofing professional.
Does it sound like a TPO roof is the best option for you? Well, there is one consideration to keep in mind. This material can range in thickness from 45 mils to 80 mils. The thicker the TPO, the better protected a roof will be. A thin layer will be capable of some protection but a thicker layer will provide a stronger shield to block out UV rays. A thicker TPO layer will also tend to last longer. There may be more of an upfront cost but investing a thicker TPO layer will save you in energy and repair costs down the road!
If you’re ready to install your own TPO roofing don’t hesitate to reach out to 970 Services! We know our way around a commercial building roof! If you’re in the Northern Colorado area, be sure to start with a free inspection from 970!
970 Services is your partner for all things TPO Roofing. The Northern Colorado specialists are consistent and reliable working across residential, multi-family, and commercial building projects. To get started on your own TPO projects or if you have other roofing needs, contact 970 Services today!
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