From its cost and durability to the different TPO roofing colors available, this latest entrant to the single-ply membrane market has created quite a buzz. Those in the lookout for a new or replacement commercial flat roof have a lot of questions to ask. And you know what? Considering the TPO membrane’s surging popularity over the past years, this doesn’t come as a surprise.

In the face of a looming roof restoration project, you’re going to find yourself overwhelmed with the choices. With the different types of flat roofing options available and the dozens of variations within, choosing the right one can be tough.

best flat roofing options

Is TPO the best flat roofing material for your commercial property?

What about TPO, you ask?

The thing is, TPO – with its popularity and all – can be an excellent choice. However, whether it’s the right roofing material for you is another discussion entirely. You have plenty of things to consider, and a lot more to think about.

Have you found a match in TPO? Keep reading to find out.

What is a TPO roofing system?

So… first things first. In case you’re wondering (and for sure you are), TPO stands for “thermoplastic polyolefins” – a member of thermoplastic elastomer family. TPO membranes are produced by chemically bonding synthetic elastomer with thermoplastic polymer and then adding some filler materials into the mix.

Come to think of it, TPO membranes are not as “new” as most people think they are. The material has been around and used since the early 1990s. Since then, TPO has evolved and underwent many reformulations. Suffice to say, the TPO membrane we know today is a product of the latest innovations in TPO technology.

TPO Roofing Colors To Choose From

Aesthetics may not be the top consideration when shopping for a commercial flat roof material, but it is an important aspect.

white TPO roof

White TPO roofs are said to be the most energy efficient among the color varieties.

One thing that you can appreciate about TPO is that it looks great on almost any type of flat and low roof systems. TPO membranes come in three standard colors: white, black, and grey. However, there are TPO roofing manufacturers that produce them in a variety of other shades.

Is A White TPO Roof More Energy-efficient?

Being the most exposed plane in the building, your roofing system bakes in the sun all day and absorbs the heat from solar radiation. Some of the heat gets reflected and given off but – inevitably – some of it make their way into the building. At night, the opposite happens. The night air cools the roof down and heat from the inside is transferred out.

Technically, the most energy efficient roof is the kind that contributes the least to heat transfer. In general, dark-colored materials absorb more heat, while shiny surfaces reflect it better. Among the three standard TPO roofing colors, white was the favorite pick because it is widely known to reflect sunlight and radiation best. By keeping most of the heat out, white roof keeps a building cool, resulting in energy consumption savings especially on the AC.

Is white not your color? UH-OH!

In that case, you have absolutely NOTHING to worry about. The reflective properties of TPO roof extend to all other color options. You can still enjoy the energy-saving benefits of TPO no matter what color you choose – even black.

However, if you’re in a place that experiences long cool seasons and gets really freezing during winter, grey or black TPO roofing might be more useful for heat absorption and retention.

The Benefits of TPO Roofing Installation

You already know that adaptability of style and energy-efficiency are two things that TPO has to offer. But wait, there’s more! These membranes have plenty more to give. Let’s look at the other notable benefits of TPO:

Economy

One of the things that makes TPO membranes very appealing for use on commercial structures is the cost. If you pit TPO vs PVC roofing, you’ll find out that with TPO, you’ll get almost the same benefits at a more reasonable price.

Durability

TPO roofing systems are incredibly durable. They are said to be resistant to almost all kinds of damages including (but not limited to) extended wear and tear, leakages, tears and punctures, and mold and mushroom growth. On top of all that, TPO membranes also have the ability to expand and contract according to the changes in temperature.

Ease of Installation

Because TPO membranes are lightweight and come in wider rolls, they’re easy to install, and there are lesser seams to be welded. The ease of TPO installation cuts labor costs, which means more savings for the client.

TPO Roofing Problems You Need To Know About

Up to this point, TPO may have looked like it’s the best flat roofing material there is.

Are TPO roofs good? Don’t get us wrong. They are an excellent choice. However, the material is not without drawbacks. If you’re planning to install a TPO roof on your commercial property, these are some cons of TPO roofing you need to be aware of:

Longevity Questions

It might not sound like a handicap, but the main drawback of TPO is its newness. TPO roofing systems were not so widely used until the 2000s. The durability claims of TPO are not as founded as that of its time-tested counterparts — PVC and EPDM roofing.

Inconsistent Membrane Quality

With many new manufacturers trying to cash in on the booming TPO market, some membranes are offered at a relatively cheaper price at the risk of quality.

For the best quality TPO membrane, look for trusty and experienced roofers that only use products from the most reputable TPO roofing manufacturers.

Heat Load Issues

While TPO offers almost the same benefits as PVC membranes, it may fall short under extreme heat conditions. There have been documented accounts of TPO membranes wearing out and weathering faster in regions that are hot and sunny all year.

A Word To The Wise

Taking in the good with the bad, TPO is still a great option for flat roofing material. With color choices that fit to almost any commercial building design and energy-efficiency benefits to boot, there’s no wonder it’s popularity is continuously increasing.

What many clients have to bear in mind is that even the most expensive roofing material will fail if it’s not installed correctly. The success of your roofing project depends on two things: product quality and the expertise of your roofing contractor. One without the other… Well, you know how this goes.

For quality commercial roofing in Northeastern Ohio and neighboring areas, you know who to turn to! J&M Roofing Systems got you covered. Call us now!