Since its introduction in the 1990s, TPO has become the most popular type of commercial roof.
Approximately one billion square feet of this product is installed annually.
It makes up more than 50% of single-ply roofs being installed today, according to the industry experts at GAF.
TPO is a reliable, low-slope roofing system that offers excellent performance at a low cost, making it a popular option for Northern California businesses.
This is an executive summary of our comprehensive guide
Everything to Know About TPO »
ACS workers install Carlisle’s revolutionary Rapid-Lock TPO for Sutter Hospital in Novato. It uses velcro to attach the membrane to the roof deck.
Why TPO Roofs Are Popular
- Most affordable roofing option available
- A premier roofing solution that works for a wide range of building styles
- Offers easy installation with wide, lightweight sheets and fewer seams (which results in fewer leaks)
- Fast install time with low labor costs
- Durable – can last 20 years or more
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Why Choose TPO?
Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) single-ply roofing membranes have many distinct performance and installation advantages for commercial properties.
- Their surface is UV and heat-reflective which saves building owners money.
- They won’t end up in a landfill because they are made of 100% recyclable material.
- Their wide, lightweight sheets save time and labor costs on installation.
- Fewer seams mean fewer places to leak.
- It is resistant to mold, punctures, and tearing.
- Its’ flexibility accommodates movement that occurs as a building settles.
- These roofs last 10-20 years, depending on the climate in which they are installed and the materials used.
Affordability – It is one of the most cost-effective roofing materials available. It’s easy install also keeps labor costs low.
Strong and flexible – Its UV resistant material is extremely resistant to tearing, mechanical shearing, natural elements, and punctures. Heat-welded seams provide great seam strength if installed properly.
Clean Install – It has no obnoxious odors, which is one of the reasons we’ve installed it on skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.
Coating Compatibility – It is compatible with silicone and acrylic roof restoration systems that can greatly prolong its lifespan.
Environmentally Friendly – These “cool roofs” earn LEED points from the Green Building Council. Their highly reflective surfaces keep energy costs low during hot summers. Additionally, their material is 100% recyclable.
Exceptional Warranty – Manufacturers may offer 20-30 year warranties.
It’s still a relatively new product – TPO entered the market in the 1990s. Ideal formulations are still being worked out by manufacturers.
Variability in manufacturing quality – Manufacturers sell thickness as strength. This doesn’t guarantee durability if the material is non-uniform. There’s a lot of variance in the quality of material, so use brand names known for their consistency.
TPO was the wrong choice for this roof, so we replaced it with a Tremco AlphaGuard Bio roof and gave them a 20 year warranty.
Chemical Resistance – It has a low resistance to animal grease, acids and airplane fuel.
In conclusion, TPO is satisfactory for many commercial building owners.
Aren’t sure if this is the best option for your business or building?
Need more information? View our comprehensive guide
Everything to Know About TPO »
Which TPO Brand Performs Best?
The budding popularity of these roofing systems has led to much confusion, exaggerated claims, and misinformation. But which brand performs the best?
GAF engaged Structural Research Inc. (SRI), a well-known and highly respected laboratory, to perform the largest independent performance study of four major U.S. TPO brands.
Each brand performed similarly in tests for thickness above the scrim and weld strength. Where membranes differed most was in heat-aging, weathering, and weight-loss tests. These are more accurate indicators of long-term membrane performance.
GAF and Firestone were the two top-performing brands when subjected to accelerated weathering tests.
We installed this 66,000 sq ft Firestone TPO roof for a skilled nursing facility in Novato. See more installations »
TPO Secured with Velcro?
Carlisle’s Rapid Lock TPO uses velcro to secure its membrane. It holds 225/lbs per square inch, and can withstand 90 mph winds.
How small are these hooks? We had to look through a microscope to see. A push pin tip provides scale.
Photo Credit: Donovan Rittenbach