Roof Structure

Are you a commercial building owner near Youngstown, Ohio? Do you need to maintain, repair or replace your roof? You’ve come to the right place!

If you’re in the market for a new commercial roof, you might already be aware of some commercial roofing systems that are available on the market, like TPO roofing

North America’s largest manufacturer of commercial roofing, GAF, recently published a study on aged TPO roofing. What they found was that TPO roofing demonstrates proven performance, even after 12 or more years. In fact, both the 45 and 60-mil roof membrane samples were still in compliance with newly manufactured TPO membrane requirements!

So, if you want a low-cost commercial roofing material that will age well, it’s likely you should consider TPO roofing. Let’s take a look at this roof membrane’s history, why/when you’d want one, and how it’s installed, maintained, and repaired. Read on!

What Is TPO Roofing?

TPO is an abbreviation of thermoplastic polyolefin-based sheet roofing. It’s one of several varieties of single-ply roofing systems (such as EPDM and PVC), and it’s designed with flat roofs in mind. Usually, a commercial roofer purchases a sheet of TPO as a 10-20ft roll.

The TPO roof membrane has three layers, the first of which is the TPO polymer base. This material is usually a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. Next, there is a fabric center, known as the scrim that has polyester reinforcement. Last, there’s a compounded TPO upper ply. (Manufacturers also add fillers to the TPO, such as fiberglass or carbon fiber.)

Over the last 20 years, TPO roofing membranes have become one of the most common roofing products for low-sloped roofs. Availability began in the early nineties, with adoption picking up significantly by the end of the decade. Today, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) suggests that TPO may enjoy use in as many as 40% of new commercial roof applications.

Benefits of TPO Roofing

In commercial roofing, the popularity of a TPO single-ply roof is linked to several factors. Its reflective properties (white, tan, or gray) provide resistance to ultraviolet rays, which leads to an energy-efficient “cool” roof that can save money. Because of this, TPO exceeds the Energy Star rating by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Along with its energy savings, the low cost of TPO contributes to an overall value that’s hard to match with other roofing materials. This particular single-ply roofing membrane has a reduced carbon footprint, as well, making it an environmentally friendly option. It is corrosion-resistant, meaning it doesn’t disintegrate when encountering various materials, and has a Class A fire rating (meaning it is fire-resistant due to being manufactured with fire-retardant chemicals).

TPO is known for its flexibility when compared to other roofing materials, so when a building moves or settles, the TPO can adjust. Reinforced membranes are superior to other single-ply variants at coping with thermal expansion, too.

In the past, questions have come up about the performance of TPO roofing over time, because some of the earlier membranes that were manufactured suffered from a variety of problems. The technology has since improved to the point where several recent studies indicate that no loss of thickness is detected in the membrane over time, and performance is good overall.

TPO Roof Installation

For a new roof, the TPO membrane is attractive for its ease of installation. As a single-ply rubber sheet, TPO can be ballasted, chemically bonded, or fastened to the roof’s substrate.

First, the roofing contractor must clean the existing roof system or remove it in preparation for the TPO and choice of insulation board. Then, an adhesive can be applied or the new TPO roofing system can be mechanically fastened to the cover board.

After the TPO membrane is unrolled on the roof, a hot-air gun heats the seams until they weld together. Flashings are completed in the same way.

The material and labor cost may range from $3.50-$7.50 per square foot currently. (Many roofing contractors calculate a job with the 60/40 rule, with labor costs larger than materials.) The combination of a wide-sheet and its relative light weight makes TPO roof installation easier than many alternatives (BUR, modified bitumen, etc.), particularly because there are fewer seams to weld or fasten. 

TPO Roofing System Maintenance

A correctly installed TPO roof with proper commercial roof maintenance can last 20-30 years and some manufacturer warranties may extend this long, as well (in contrast to standard 15-year lifespans). Maintenance, though, is key.

As a rule of thumb, most roofing industry experts recommend having a commercial roof inspected twice annually—spring and fall are good choices, since these seasons precede the most extreme weather.

TPO roofing is often one of the most easy-to-maintain roofing systems because it’s resistant to mold/mildew/algae build-up and doesn’t often need power washing. 

TPO Roof Repair

On average, TPO roofing systems can last decades. However, incorrect installation or maintenance may lead to open seams, failed flashings, or a punctured membrane…all of which lead to water leaks.

A damaged roof that is leaking water inside the building requires a 24-hour emergency roof repair, so don’t delay. A professional inspection will identify all the issues that led to the leak and that may cause future problems. The roof repair cost ultimately depends on the age of the roof, the extent of the water damage, the number of roofing layers, and the health of the TPO membrane seams.

An experienced roofing contractor might use silicone membrane restoration if the roof is less than a quarter saturated with water. If the roof already has two layers, either the TPO is removed and replaced, or a new roof is installed. No matter what, they should be able to review your options.

Considering TPO Roofing?

As you can see, TPO roofing solutions offer many benefits for commercial flat roofing applications. Why pay more for other roofing materials when you can save money with a cost-effective TPO roof that offers great durability and energy efficiency?

If you’re a commercial building or property owner near Youngstown, OH, TEMA would be happy to sit down with you to discuss your options and take care of your roof. We are a family-owned commercial roofing company with decades of experience and we pride ourselves in offering installation, maintenance, and repair services that exceed expectation. At TEMA Roofing, we are focused on quality and founded on family!

Contact us today for a free consultation.