Everything You Need to Know About Commercial Roofing TPO Installation

You’ve likely seen them – the bright, white roofs along the road, catching your eye and reflecting sunlight. If you have, what you’ve seen is Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roofing, and it has become one of the most common types of roofing installed on commercial facilities with a lot of square footage to cover. The reason being: It’s energy efficient, durable, and cost effective to have installed.

What Is single-ply membrane roofing?

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roofing is a type of single-ply membrane commercial roofing. Other than TPO, Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM) is also available. Each type differs in their chemical composition, but the way in which they are installed and the energy efficiency they offer are very similar.

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO), specifically, is a single-ply roofing membrane that is one of the most commonly purchased roofing materials available, especially in a commercial building. Commercial roofing with TPO installation involves laying down a single layer of synthetics and reinforcing scrim on top of a flat roof – the most typical on commercial buildings.

How is TPO roofing made?

TPO roofing is manufactured in sheets ranging from 10 to 20 feet wide. After being manufactured, these sheets are rolled up and transported to the facility where they’ll be installed. This ease of transportation combined with easy installation is another factor that makes TPO roofing so appealing to commercial building owners.

Why choose TPO roofing?

One of the most attractive things about TPO roofing is its natural ability to reflect UV rays. Beyond that, it has a much better puncture resistance than PVC or EPDM, is more environmentally friendly, and it doesn’t shrink or deteriorate like PVC.

What is involved with TPO roofing installation?

The first step to installing TPO roofing is to prepare the existing substrate by cleaning or removing the existing roof. Following that step, insulation is installed. This insulation may use Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso), the most commonly used insulation for roofing applications. The main drawback to Polyiso is that it is more expensive.

TPO roofing can also be installed using Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) which has the highest R-value per dollar and is used for roof, wall, and floor insulation. Or, Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) can be used, which falls somewhere between Polyiso and EPS in terms of cost and durability.

Whichever method is used, the TPO membrane is attached to the cover board using a bonding adhesive or method of mechanical fastening. After rolling out the TPO sheets, the roofer then uses a hot-air gun to weld the seams together.

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