What is the best material for a flat roof? This is a question that our team is asked many times each year. The answer depends on your budget and your functional needs, but one particular type of roofing often stands out. That’s TPO! Today, we’ll talk about this effective roofing solution, discussing key benefits, what circumstances it thrives in, and how it compares with other similar systems. Afterwards, you should be able to tell whether or not this material is right for your business!
What is TPO Roofing?
TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin. It’s a type of single ply membrane that’s frequently used for flat roofing systems. Introduced in the late 80’s, TPO roofing has rapidly developed a fanbase in the commercial roofing industry for its wonderful affordability and impressive cooling abilities. The material has several alluring benefits for both homeowners and enterprises.
TPO Roofing Benefits
The most important factor of a roofing system is it’s ability to protect your building. With a TPO single ply system, you can expect capable physical protection against punctures, impact damage, and tearing. While the material may feature more seams that some other flat systems, seams are usually heat welded for maximum durability. That means you don’t have to worry about the seams allowing water beneath the rooftop.
The feature that draws the majority of attention however, is the highly effective sunlight reflection. TPO membrane is installed white to maximize the amount of solar protection, and the results are certainly impressive. By reducing the surface temperature of the rooftop and the amount of heat penetrating the building, TPO roofing relaxes the burden on the resident HVAC system. If you like shorter cooling times and higher energy savings, this could certainly be the choice for your company.
The installation process is very simple. The single ply membrane can be attached mechanically or via adhesive to the underlying structure. How long does TPO last? Once the system is installed, you can expect around 20 years of functional protection from your roof.
Summary of TPO Membrane Benefits
- Impressive energy savings potential
- Durable surfacing (vs. weather)
- Simple installation process
- Heat-welded seams for stronger protection
Is TPO Better Than EPDM?
When compared to EPDM (often referred to as rubberized roofing), TPO has several advantages. For one, the white color of TPO membranes perform considerably better in terms of energy efficiency. EPDM roofing is black, absorbing sunlight instead of reflecting it. The heat welded seams of TPO are also stronger than the taped seams of EPDM roofing, though rubberized roofs often contain fewer total seams.
TPO and EPDM both offer excellent flexibility, though rubberized roofs are sometimes rated higher for impact damage protection. EPDM roofing solutions have also been around considerably longer than TPO: 60 years, compared to 30. Rubber roofing’s marginal strength advantage over TPO also allows it to last longer (up to 30 years).
In summary: EPDM often lasts longer, but TPO offers better energy benefits.
TPO Roofing vs. Built Up
Built up (BU) roofing utilizes a three layer system composed of felt, tar, and gravel. The felt and tar provide capable water protection, while the gravel reduces trauma from impact damage and and degradation from ultraviolet radiation. All-in-all, it’s a very capable and lovely system. Built up roofing is considerably tougher that TPO roofing, though that toughness comes with considerable increase in weight.
Because built up roofs don’t require seams to install, they are considerably less vulnerable to leaks. The hard exterior of the gravel also limits the amount of maintenance required. TPO, on the other hand, offers much better energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
- Built up roofing is tougher, but more costly in terms of investment and weight requirements.
- TPO roofing is much more energy-efficient, but it also has seams that may wear down.
Varied Nature of TPO Roofing Solutions
Because TPO is a relatively newer entry into the single ply roofing scene, there are occasionally new and unproven manufactures introducing sub-standard material. That’s a long way of saying that TPO quality varies. For the best results for your TPO roofing installation, it’s best to stick with the proven brands. Your estimated roof lifespan should increase, and you’ll likely secure a more impressive TPO roofing warranty. Some of the top brands will guarantee your roof for over 20 years.
Ask for Your TPO Roofing Estimate!
If you’d like to learn more about TPO roofing or another single ply material, our team at Stiles Contracting would be thrilled to answer any questions you may have. They can also work to provide you an estimate for your building. To get started on your brand new or replacement roofing, call us today at (502) 410-1160 and ask for our flat roof service in New Albany, IN & Louisville, KY!