What is TPO Roofing?
TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) is a single-ply white membrane used in both commercial and residential roofing. It is constructed from ethylene propylene rubber. TPO roofing reflects heat instead of absorbing it, because of its light colored membrane, making it an Energy Star certified cool roof.
Because TPO is more flexible, it’s highly resistant to tears, punctures and impact damage. It also accommodates building movement and settling without compromising performance, and is more affordable than PVC roofing. It is high UV, Ozone, and Chemical resistant.
If you have a flat roof or a low-slope dormer over a bedroom, TPO is a great option because it keeps the rooms below cooler. This makes it a great option for commercial applications like condos and apartments as it saves on energy costs and makes residents more comfortable.
How long does TPO roofing last?
You can expect a TPO roof to last around 10-20 years as long as it’s installed properly by a professional roofing contractor. This is a maximum estimated life expectancy and varies.
There are a lot of factors that determine how long a roof lasts, including the weather in your area, how much direct sunlight hits it, building use, and the quality of installation. TPO can be less resistant to punctures and more difficult to repair as it ages.
However, as long as your TPO membrane roof is installed correctly, it will likely reach its maximum lifespan.
Who Needs TPO roofing?
If your building has a roof or a roof facet whose pitch is less than 2 vertical units up for every 12 horizontal units out (2:12), it’s considered low slope.
Since water won’t run off as fast on a low slope or flat roof as it would on a higher pitch, it needs to be waterproof. For this reason, you can’t use asphalt shingles because they aren’t meant to hold sitting water.
According to building codes and shingle manufacturer’s installation instructions, you can’t install asphalt shingles on a roof with a pitch below 2:12.
This is why a TPO roofing membrane (or another flat roof system like PVC) has to be installed on low slope or flat roofs.
Most commercial or corporate building owners understand this and choose an energy efficient options like TVP.
Sean Kelly is the COO & President of Cutting Edge Contracting. His background in business, accounting, and the construction industry helped him become the award-winning manager of a nationally-known paint company before joining Cutting Edge.