What is TPO Roofing?


To the average buyer of roofing services, there appears to be a never ending march of an alphabet soup. If you are in the market for a new roof system or are responsible for maintaining an existing roof system, you have most likely heard of TPO membrane.

But what IS TPO roofing?

TPO is a type of single ply roofing membrane. TPO is an acronym that stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin. It is an abbreviated way of stating the primary chemical composition of the roof membrane.

TPO roof
TPO roof system

There are two primary categories within the single-ply roofing industry as defined by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). There are thermoplastic membranes and thermoset membranes. TPO is part of the thermoplastic membrane category.

For most buyers, there is little concern about the chemical composition of TPO roofing membrane. Most buyers are concerned about one thing – keeping their buildings dry and installing a roof system that will perform well for a long time.

TPO Characteristics

So, let’s look further at the question of “What is TPO roofing?” Here are a few key characteristics that answer this question.

TPO Roofing is a single-ply thermoplastic membrane. It is installed in a single membrane application without multiple layers.

The membrane can be installed using several different methods including mechanically attached, adhered, ballasted and plate bonded.

Certain manufacturers, such as Carlisle SynTec, also offer TPO with a FleeceBACK which allows the membrane to be adhered using low-rise urethane foam.

The membrane may be installed using a plate bonded system. The plates are bonded to the underside of the membrane using an induction welder. The RhinoBond system is sold by Olympic Manufacturing Group.

Rhinobond TPO roof system installation. Photo courtesy of OMG Roofing Products. Copyright © 2015 OMG, Inc.

TPO membranes come in a variety colors, but primarily are available in white, grey and tan.

TPO seams and flashings are completed using hot-air welding equipment.

Manufacturer warranties are available for installations up to 30 years.

TPO membranes are grease resistant.

TPO roofing membranes receive high wind ratings when installed according to pre-tested assemblies as per manufacturer specifications.

What is TPO roofing used for?

Now that you have a better understanding of TPO roofing membranes, you may be asking the next question “What is TPO roofing used for?”

TPO roofing membrane systems are typically used for commercial and industrial roofing applications.

These membranes can be used on residential applications, but typically manufacturers do not extend their warranties to residential applications.

TPO roofing membranes are used for when building owners require a high quality heat welded roofing system to protect their building and building contents.

Situations where roofing assemblies are exposed to contaminants (e.g. grease, etc.) or where other single-ply membranes (e.g. EPDM, etc.) will not withstand the environment.

TPO Roofing
TPO roof system installation seam welding

What is TPO roofing is a question that many building owners and buyers ask when they go to purchase a new roof assembly. When considering replacing your roof system, it is a good idea to give consideration to TPO roof membranes as a potential solution. There is no one membrane that is good in all situations, so it is best to compare membrane options to your unique situation in order to choose the best solution.

When you choose a new roof system it is also important to choose a quality professional roofing contractor who specializes in the type of system that you are interested in having installed on your building or structure.

Interested in a TPO roof?

Contact Jurin Roofing for a TPO Roofing Quote or more information about the benefits of TPO roofing

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