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The Guide To TPO “Rubber” Roofing

Updated: Jan 15

Guide to TPO Rubber Roofing

Your roof is a crucial element in safeguarding and preserving the structural integrity of your home. Roofs come in various designs and shapes, such as flat, sloping, or pointed. They not only contribute to your home's visual appeal but also serve a fundamental purpose that remains consistent across different properties.

To ensure your roof performs its protective role efficiently, it's essential to keep it well-maintained or consider enhancements. If your roof requires repair or maintenance, you might explore the option of TPO roofing. This innovative solution can be cost-effective over time, offering robust protection for your home's structure while also contributing to energy savings.

At Victory Roofing, we bring over five years of specialized knowledge to guide you through the intricacies of the roofing industry, including the variety of roof materials available for your roofing needs.

What is TPO Roofing?

Thermoplastic polyolefin, commonly known as TPO, is a cutting-edge material composed of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. Polypropylene, a flexible and durable chemical compound, is widely used in both commercial and household products. Its slick nature makes it effective in repelling moisture, thereby protecting roofs from elements like rain or snow.

Ethylene-propylene rubber, a synthetic material similar to rubber, is the other critical component in TPO. This combination results in TPO sheets, which are available in various sizes and are notably recognized for their bright white color. The composition of TPO makes it highly resistant to weather, ozone rays, heat, and oxidation, making it an excellent choice for roofing applications due to its durability and protective qualities.

TPO membranes are produced in sheets that measure either 10, 12, or 20 feet in width. Once manufactured, these sheets are rolled up for transport to the commercial site.

How To Install TPO Roofing?

Installing TPO roofing begins with preparing the current roof, which includes cleaning it thoroughly, and if necessary, removing any pre-existing covering. Following this, the TPO material is laid out on the roof. 

After the TPO membrane is unrolled across the roof's surface, it is fastened to the roof's cover board either mechanically or with adhesive. Homeowners and businesses have several insulation options to consider:

1. Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso):

This is the most commonly used insulation type for roofing applications. While Polyiso is more expensive, it offers a high R-value rating, indicating superior insulation performance.

2. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS):

EPS provides the best R-value per dollar spent and is versatile, being used in roof, wall, and floor insulation. It is suitable for ground contact and does not absorb water over time, making it a durable choice.

3. Extruded Polystyrene (XPS):

Recognizable by its blue, green, or pink color, XPS occupies a middle ground in terms of price and performance when compared to Polyiso and EPS. XPS is semi-permeable with a perm rating of 1, indicating its ability to allow moisture to pass through.

The final step in the TPO installation involves using a hot air gun or hot air welder to meticulously seal the seams of the TPO material. This process ensures that the roof is effectively insulated and the TPO installation is completed properly.

How Much Does TPO Roofing Cost?

The cost of TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) roofing typically ranges from $5.50 to $8.75 per square foot. On average, for a 1,500-square-foot roof, the national cost is around $10,700. TPO roofing, a single-ply rubber roofing material, is ideally suited for buildings with low-sloped or flat roofs. 

While it is primarily used in commercial constructions, its popularity is increasing among residential homeowners due to its energy-efficient features. The material is usually white, which is beneficial in reflecting up to 80% of the sun's heat and radiation, contributing to better temperature regulation and energy savings.

Several factors influence the pricing of a TPO membrane roof, similar to other roofing materials, such as:

  • Roof size

  • TPO size

  • Insulation 

  • Cost of installation

  • Location

  • Customization

Evaluating TPO in Comparison to Other Roofing Materials

Among the array of roofing materials on the market, TPO stands out as one of the most cost-effective options. It appeals to many homeowners who aim to enhance their roof's protection without incurring the higher expenses associated with other alternatives. TPO's combination of affordability and protective qualities makes it an increasingly popular choice for those seeking efficient roof protection solutions.

Tips to Maintain Your TPO Roofs

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) reports that TPO is used in approximately 40% of all commercial roofing projects. However, before deciding to use TPO for your roof, it's crucial to evaluate several factors to determine if it is the most suitable option for your home.

1. Regular Roof Inspections 

Once your TPO insulation is in place, it typically remains effective for 15 to 20 years. However, it's advisable to conduct regular roof inspections. This practice helps in early detection of any significant wear and tear or extensive damage, particularly to the seams of the TPO membrane.

2. Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor

It's crucial to thoroughly research and select a reputable roofing contractor who is experienced in handling TPO, a widely used material. This professional should be able to assess whether TPO is a suitable choice for your specific roofing type and advise on the best variant of TPO material for your project. This decision should take into account aspects such as the size and current condition of your roof, along with the need for any additional insulation.

3. Establishing a Roof Maintenance Plan

Consider your roof as a crucial shield for your home, consistently guarding against weather damage. It's essential to establish a maintenance and repair schedule to keep your roof in optimal condition for year-round protection. Experts recommend conducting the following routine maintenance tasks at least annually:

a. Tree Management: Trim any branches that are in contact with your roof to prevent damage from friction. Regular pruning also deters animals from accessing your roof.

b. Chimney Inspection: Examine the exterior of your chimney for any signs of wear. Reapply mortar if needed to reseal it, preventing water and moisture from entering through any cracks or deteriorated areas.

c. Gutter Maintenance: Clean, repair, or replace your home's gutters as necessary. Ensure to clear any debris from the roof as well.

d. Shingle Check: Regularly inspect the shingles of your home. Re-secure any loose shingles and replace those that are damaged.

e. Seal Inspection: Assess the sealant on your roof. Remove old caulking and apply new sealant where necessary to maintain a watertight barrier.

Key Takeaways: Is TPO The Best Material For My Roof?

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roofing system stands out as a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for both commercial and residential roofing needs. Its notable durability, coupled with its energy-efficient properties such as high reflectivity, makes it an increasingly popular choice. 

TPO's flexibility in terms of insulation options allows for customized applications based on specific requirements. Moreover, its ability to achieve Class A fire resistance ratings adds to its appeal in terms of safety.

However, it's essential to engage with experienced and reputable contractors for installation and to establish a regular maintenance schedule. Such practices ensure the longevity of the TPO roof, often lasting 15 to 20 years. With its blend of affordability, durability, and energy efficiency, TPO roofing is a compelling option for those seeking a reliable roofing solution.


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