TPO Roofing Systems – Everything You Need to Know

TPO roofing systems are easy to install

Avoid confusion with overwhelming roofing choices. Understanding the attributes and advantages of a TPO roofing system will help you make your commercial roofing selection with confidence.

TPO commercial roofing systems are best installed by professional roofers gathered essential information on TPO roofing systems, their benefits, installation, potential issues, and how they are manufactured.

What is TPO?

TPO is Thermoplastic Olefin. It is a single-ply roofing membrane used to cover flat and low-slope roofs. TPO roofing systems are made from blending polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber reinforced with polyester or fiberglass. The result is a flexible, durable, and energy-efficient roofing material used in residential and commercial applications. Consider the following TPO roofing system advantages:

Durability – TPO roofing systems are well-known for their durability. They can endure extreme weather conditions like:

  • High winds
  • Heavy rain
  • Hail

TPO is resistant to UV radiation and ozone, helping prevent premature degradation while extending your roof’s life.

Energy Efficiency – TPO roofing systems are highly reflective. This allows them to reflect a significant amount of sunlight and heat away from the building. This reflective property leads to lower cooling costs in the summer months, making TPO roofs environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Cost-Effective – TPO roofing systems are affordable when compared to other roofing materials, like:

They offer a cost-effective solution for initial installation and long-term maintenance. Additionally, their energy efficiency can lead to significant savings on utility bills, further contributing to their cost-effectiveness.

Easy Installation – TPO roofing systems are lightweight and easy to install. This reduces labor costs and installation time, making them a practical choice for new construction and roof replacement projects.

TPO roofing systems can be quickly installed

Environmentally Friendly – TPO roofing systems are recyclable, offering a significant advantage for those looking to reduce their environmental footprint. At the end of their lifespan, TPO membranes can be fully recycled into other products, reducing waste in landfills.

Versatility – TPO roofing membranes come in 3 thicknesses (45mil (15 year warranty), 60mil (20 year warranty), and 80mil (30 year warranty) and 3 colors (white, gray, and tan), allowing for customization to suit the aesthetic needs of your structure. This versatility and ability to handle hot and cold climates, makes TPO roofing systems suitable for many applications.

TPO Installation and Maintenance

Installing a TPO roofing system should be done by qualified professionals. Proper installation is critical to ensuring the roof’s longevity and performance. The installation process is typically mechanically attached (screws and iso or TPO plates), fully adhered (glue or low rise foam), or ballasted (held down with gravel or rock). It’s essential to ensure seam integrity and make sure the membrane is securely fastened to prevent leaks.

TPO roofing systems are welded at the seams

Regular maintenance is crucial to extend a TPO roofing system’s lifespan. Inspections should be conducted at least twice a year, with additional checks after severe weather events. Maintenance tasks often include cleaning the roof surface, inspecting seams and flashings, and repairing any punctures or tears promptly.

Potential Issues and Solutions

While TPO roofing systems are extremely durable, they are not entirely immune to issues. Some common problems that may arise include the following:

Punctures and Tears – Sharp objects, excessive foot traffic, or falling debris can puncture or tear a TPO membrane. These issues should be repaired promptly to prevent water infiltration.

Seam Failures – Regular seam inspections are essential to catch and repair any developing issues (weather related, foot traffic, ponding water, etc.).

Read more about roof maintenance plans at

How is TPO Manufactured

Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) roofing membranes are manufactured through a process combining multiple materials to create a flexible, durable, and thermoplastic roofing material. This process involves the following key steps:

Raw Material Selection – TPO membrane production begins with the selection of raw materials. A TPO membrane’s primary components are polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. These materials are selected for their flexibility, durability, and resistance to environmental factors.

Polymer Blending – Raw materials (polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber) are blended together in predefined ratios to achieve TPO membrane’s desired characteristics. The blending process ensures the polymer’s uniform distribution, creating a homogenous mixture.

Reinforcement – To enhance TPO’s strength and dimensional stability, a reinforcement layer is added. This reinforcement layer is typically made of polyester or fiberglass fabric. It is embedded within the polymer blend during the manufacturing process.

Extrusion – The blended TPO compound is extruded through a die, forming a continuous sheet of TPO membrane. The thickness of the membrane can be controlled during the extrusion process by adjusting the die’s settings.

Calendering – After extrusion, the TPO membrane may go through a calendering process. This involves passing the membrane through a set of heated rollers, smoothing out the surface and adjusting the thickness to precise and consistent specifications.

Lamination (Optional) – Some TPO membranes undergo a lamination process, where an additional layer of TPO material is added to one side of the membrane. This enhances UV resistance and weatherability.

Cooling – The extruded and calendared TPO membrane is cooled to solidify the material and prepare it for further processing.

Cutting and Rolling – Once the TPO membrane has cooled and solidified, it is cut into predefined rolls. These rolls are then packaged and prepared for distribution to roofing contractors and manufacturers.

Quality Control – Throughout the manufacturing process, quality control measures ensure the TPO membrane meets specific industry standards and performance criteria. This includes testing for thickness uniformity, tensile strength, flexibility, and other desired properties.

Customization – Manufacturers can customize TPO membranes by adding colorants or pigments to achieve the desired color. Customization options allow the TPO roofing membranes to match the aesthetic requirements of multiple roofing projects.

Packaging – The finished TPO membrane rolls are packaged, labeled, and prepared for shipment to distributors or roofing contractors.

TPO roofing membranes are designed to offer excellent weather resistance, UV stability, flexibility, and ease of installation. Their thermoplastic nature means they can be heat-welded together during installation to create strong seams, which further enhance their waterproofing capabilities. Additionally, TPO roofing systems are known for their energy-efficient and reflective properties, making them the roofing industry’s “Gold Standard” for residential and commercial roofing applications.

Commercial TPO roofing systems are durable

Visit this YouTube channel for more information and valuable tips about this and other roofing systems.

TPO Roofing Membrane

In this article, you discovered essential information on TPO, its advantages, installation, problems, and manufacturing.

Your decision to install a TPO roofing membrane can provide decades of protection and energy savings for your residential or commercial structure.

Failure to fully evaluate and consider the pros and cons of the roofing systems available for your structure may leave you with an inappropriate roof.


New Image Roofing Atlanta

2020 Howell Mill Rd NW Suite 232
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 680-0041