Is TPO roofing good?

TPO roof installation

TPO roof installation

Roofing on any structure is important. For your home, it protects your family and belongings. For a business, it protects assets, inventory, and occupants. So, when looking to replace the roof, which is better, TPO roof vs PVC, is TPO roofing material the best to cover your commercial structure’s roof? 

There are several choices for commercial roofing these days, some better than others, all depending on the climate and environment of the structure. When you take the time to look closer at TPO roofing material and the TPO roofing details, you’ll understand why it is the better choice for some structures than others. 

What is a TPO roofing system? 

TPO is an abbreviation for thermoplastic polyolefin. It is one type of membrane used for single-ply roofing application to cover a roof’s surface. The name is perhaps misleading, TPO isn’t plastic, but a combination of different rubbers, usually ethylene-propylene and polypropylene. This combination of rubbers makes TPO roof material a durable material.

For commercial structures, TPO roofing material is fast-growing for use on commercial structures.  Why? Because it is durable but inexpensive. It is a reflective material that eases the strain on a commercial structure’s HVAC system, thus saving money on energy use. 

What is the difference between TPO and PVC roofing? 

The original weldable roof material, PVC, (Polyvinyl chloride) is a solid plastic material rendered from vinyl chloride. They add phthalates to make is flexible and softer. PVC is the original weldable sheet and has a comparable reflectivity to TPO. 

The concern has always been, as the plasticizers migrate from the sheet, what happens to them? TPO roofing material was considered a flexible material and has proven over time that is improves steadily regarding weathering resistance. Still, PVC has remained to be a viable alternative. 

When the two are compared between Accelerated Weathering vs Heat Aging, TPO wins hands down. TPO roofing material has stronger resistance against breaking and tearing than PVC. However, PVC has a strong resistance to chemicals and doesn’t absorb greases or oils, which makes it more appealing for a commercial structure with a grease trap, such as a restaurant. PVC is more flexible, a preference of contractors installing it. While TPO roofing material requires a hotter temperature for welding, both materials rate high in weldability. 

How do you clean a TPO roof?

TPO roofing material is an investment for the owner of a low-slope roof building. The investment doesn’t stop after the installation though. The maintenance after installation is important to get the most lifespan from TPO roofing as possible, including cleaning it. A regular maintenance schedule should include cleaning for the following reasons:

  • A clean TPO roofing material covered surface will provide maximum reflectivity, giving you the best energy benefits.
  • When debris and dirt are left on TPO roofing material covered roofs, it becomes a feeding ground for algae, plant growth, etc.
  • Keeping the accumulation of plant growth and other food sources cleaned will minimize a breeding ground for birds and pests.
  • Keeping chemicals cleaned off, the TPO roofing material won’t be harmed, extending its lifespan

The following precautions are recommended by professional contractors that install TPO roofing materials on commercial structures to get the longest lifespan possible:

  • To prevent possible damage to the roof’s integrity, only experienced professionals should be permitted access to the roof.
  • Caution should be exercised when the roof has the possibility of being wet due to the TPO roofing material becoming slick.
  • Never walk on a roof with TPO roofing material when the cleaning solution is present – it must be rinsed thoroughly first.
  • Where the run-off and exterior facades may come in contact, test a small area for adverse effects to the facade that the cleaning solution may create.
  • Create accommodations for cleaning solution run-off to avoid possible damage to the facade, plants, and groundwater contamination
  • Always comply with water run-off requirements by local, state, and federal laws.

Cleaning schedule of a low-slope roof with TPO roofing material is determined by factors like the environmental contaminants and rainfall frequency, the tendency of accumulated dirt and dust, and the drainage characteristics. The cleaning process requires using a long-handled, soft-bristled floor broom and a cleaning solution of a household detergent that is mild and non-abrasive with clear, clean water.

Can you coat a TPO roof? 

Yes, using only a water-based acrylic TPO roof coating available through the roofing industry, typically by way of a commercial roofing contractor. It adheres with tenacity when applied directly to existing TPO roofing material and eliminates any need to use a primer or an etching rinse.  

tpo roof material

What can I use to seal a TPO roof? 

There are specific products on the market to seal commercial building’s TPO roofing material, you should not use any type of sealant that isn’t specifically for TPO roofing material. A professional roofing contractor will have this sealant on hand.

To recap facts and information we have provided in this article about TPO roofing material.  

TPO roofing benefits 

The biggest positive of TPO roofing material for a flat roof is the lower cost compared to other materials available. Another positive the reflective white color doesn’t allow heat to build up inside the structure. Installation is another benefit because of the ease and simplicity of using direct attaching adhesives or fastened to the roof deck. Around the chimneys, HVAC or plumbing protrusions, it can be heat welded. Last, but not least benefit is TPO roofing material is corrosion resistant and doesn’t encourage algae and mold growth, nor does it have to be cleaned by pressure washing.

TPO roofing issues

There are more cons than positives when it comes to TPO roofing materials. Because it is an inexpensive material, there are many manufacturers of this product, which means the quality is can vary. It comes in different thicknesses, but that doesn’t mean the thicker the better and many consumers will purchase thinking the thicker is the better.

Because they laminate the top layer of TPO roofing material, it can last 10 to 20 years with proper care and maintenance, so buying the thicker won’t make any difference in longevity. However, the laminating creates weak points that allow cracks, craze, deterioration, and shrinkage. The cheaper the TPO roofing material, the more prone to that happening.

TPO roofing material is available in small widths, but this will create seams every six to eight feet. Every seam is a possible leak because the membrane will contract and expand with the temperature. Every contraction, every expansion, leaves it subjective to separation and leaks. Call (714) 731-3425 today for TPO roofing material installation in Orange , CA.