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What Is TPO Roofing?

At Redline Roofing & Construction, we specialize in commercial building roofs as well as residential roofs. Commercial buildings are often larger and flatter than residential buildings, so the materials used often differ.

The type of roof you choose for your commercial building will not only cover the top of your building but also protect against rain, sunlight, wind, snow, and extreme temperatures. We’ve been in the roofing business for over 16 years, and we know that actually deciding what type of roof is the right fit for your project is a big choice. But there are some popular options out there to consider.

For commercial buildings, some common types of roofing include:

  1. Asphalt Roofing
  2. Metal Roofing
  3. Modified Bitumen Roofing
  4. Polyvinyl Chloride Roofing (PVC)
  5. Thermoplastic Polyolefin Roofing (TPO)

Odds are that if you’ve seen a commercial building lately, it has a flat roof that is super bright and white in color. This is a TPO roof, and it’s one of the most popular types of commercial building roofs on the market today.

What Is TPO?

Thermoplastic polyolefin roofs, or TPO, are membranes constructed from ethylene propylene rubber. They are either installed using adhesives or mechanically fastened in place to the top of a flat commercial building.

TPO technology has been around since the 1990s and has had a few chemical changes and upgrades over the last 30 years. However, even through the updates and adjustments, it has proven to be a strong contender for top commercial roof options and continues to grow in popularity with contractors and roofing companies.

TPO Specs

The TPO membrane-style roof is a popular choice for flat commercial building installation for a number of reasons:

  • The design withstands pooling and standing water (on a flat roof, traditional residential roofing materials like shingles or tiles might leak because of the physics of the building and gravity).
  • The building materials are recyclable and considered a more environmentally “green” solution for construction projects.
  • The surface is reflective, and as such reduces UV radiation, which aids in a building’s energy usage and efficiency (meaning it ultimately reduces the need for excessive air-conditioning, which, in turn, saves the businesses located in a TPO roof building a lot of money).
  • The membrane has a reputation for durability and is resistant to tears and breaks.
  • The technology specs advertise a deterrence to mold and algae, which keeps the surface looking clean and bright.
  • The color is typically white, but TPO membranes come in other colors, so there are options from a design perspective.
  • The thickness of the membrane can vary, which affects the overall lifespan of the roof (the longevity of the roof itself has proven to be better when the membrane is thicker).

Pros and Cons

While the list in the section above might make TPO sound like the perfect option for any flat roof project, it’s important to discuss the specifics with your contractor to ensure the roofing material matches the building and the needs of the business.

For example, TPO reviews state that the material might not be the best choice where grease or harsh chemicals are involved. So if there is a project for a restaurant that has a grease trap or exhaust vent on the roof, another roofing type should be considered. It’s always important to think through what’s going to damage a roof and what the severity and impact of that damage might look like. Roofs are a major investment, and business owners and project managers need to correctly understand the pros and cons of each roofing material option.

In addition, material costs and labor costs both play a major role in making a decision for your commercial project. Because of the material design and stiffness of the membrane, TPO installation can sometimes take longer than other styles of commercial roofs. The longer the install, the more labor needed, but it’s all about comparison.

At the end of the day, we also suggest discussing the different warranties available for your new or replacement roof, regardless of the type of material used. Protecting your investment is important.

Commercial Roof Repair, Maintenance, and Installation

Overall, when it comes to the type of material needed for your flat roof commercial project, the decision is specific to the project. The type of building, the project scope and timeline, and the project budget are all worth discussing.

The good news though is that you do not need to do this alone!

Whether you are located in our backyard in the Lindale area or in the over 30 cities we serve in East Texas, contact us for more information. We’re here to help you navigate all of this, and we offer a free estimate for roof repairs/replacements.