When it comes to roofing materials, there is no shortage of choices. Out of all of them, TPO roofing is one of the newest materials on the block. Understanding the pros and cons of TPO roofing can help you determine if it is the right material for you.
TPO roofing can last up to 30 years if maintained properly. It offers increased energy efficiency and lower maintenance and installation costs. On the other hand, it is much harder to source quality materials than normal roofing and has not been around long enough for much to be known about how it performs long-term. TPO roofing typically costs between $3 to $9 per square foot.
This guide will cover all of the basic information you need to decide whether TPO roofing is the right choice for your home or business.
What Is TPO Roofing
TPO roofing, also known as Thermoplastic Polyolefin, is a type of single-ply roofing that is made of a thermoplastic polyolefin membrane. This membrane is made up of three distinct layers that include a TPO polymer base, a polyester-reinforced fabric center, and a thermoplastic polyolefin top ply.
TPO roofing commonly utilizes fillers in the manufacturing process. Common filler material includes fiberglass, talc, wollastonite, carbon fiber, or a form of metal oxy sulfate. TPO flat roofs are most commonly used on homes or small businesses.
There is another popular form of single-ply membrane used for commercial purposes called EPDM. The difference between EPDM and TPO come down to their chemical makeup, how energy efficient they are, and the process that they are installed.
If you are interested in TPO roofing, then you are likely aware of EPDM. There are a few differences and benefits to using TPO over other roofing types. We will cover these benefits in the section below. This will help you make the right choice when deciding whether TPO roofing is right for you.
What Are The Benefits Of TPO Roofing
TPO roofing has several benefits over a standard roof. These benefits should be considered when deciding what roof type is best for you. We will dive into these benefits so that you can be aware of the differences between TPO and normal roofing.
These benefits include being highly flexible, easy to maintain and install, and more energy and cost-efficient. Read on to discover how these benefits could affect your decision.
TPO roofing is among the most flexible and adaptable roofing materials currently available. Because of this, TPO roofing is appropriate for both standard housing as well as bigger commercial projects. TPO roofing is adaptable to most weather conditions and is resistant to temperature changes.
This will help protect your roof from cracking, fraying, and deposit buildup which most regular roofing is extremely susceptible to. This makes them a very popular choice due to the increased durability that improves the overall lifespan of your roof.
Another reason that TPO roofing is so popular is that it can be designed and tailored to your unique specifications and needs, much more so than standard roofing. This includes being able to choose the color, style, and other aesthetic components of your roof more easily.
TPO roofing is extremely resistant to UV radiation which will increase the overall lifespan of your roof. You can also expect a TPO roof to be easier to maintain as a result of this increased durability. We will cover this in the next section.
Easy To Maintain
Because TPO roofs are so resistant to cracking, UV radiation, and general wear, they are much easier to maintain over time. Standard roofing will need routine maintenance quite regularly during its lifetime due to the issues mentioned previously.
This means higher costs and more time spent fixing things that have gone wrong with your standard roofing materials. A TPO roof is much less likely to have these types of issues and if they do, it will be much less frequent.
This means that you will save money in the long run on maintenance costs over time. Saving money is always a good thing when it comes to home repairs. TPO roofs are also much easier to repair in the event of damage due to a storm or wind.
As well as being easy to maintain, TPO roofing is also much easier to install than standard roofing. Installation cost and ease are major components to consider when choosing the right roof. Because of this, we will cover this factor in detail in the next section.
Easy To Install
TPO roofs are produced using an extremely lightweight material when compared to standard roofing materials. This means that the installation process will be much easier and less time-consuming. It also means that you can expect to labor costs associated with installing a TPO roof to be much less than a standard roof would be.
TPO roofing can be installed without any major preparations and can be finished in around half of the time that a standard roof takes to install. Of course, the actual time it takes and the costs associated will depend on the size of the roof you are having installed.
You will find that fitting the roof and moving the materials around is not an issue due to the lightweight nature of the TPO materials. You should consider the ease of installation as one of the main benefits of having a TKO roof installed over a standard one.
In addition to saving money on maintenance and installation, TPO roofing is also much more energy efficient, which can save you a good amount of money over its lifespan. This factor will be discussed in more detail in the next section of this guide.
Energy Saving Capabilities
A TPO roof will also be much more energy efficient than a standard roof. Increased UV resistance will keep the temperature inside of your home much lower during warmer seasons and warmer when it is cold outside.
This will lower your power bill greatly as the need for the air conditioner or heater will be much less necessary. As we all know, the power bill is one of the costliest things to pay during the hotter and colder parts of the year.
Installing a TPO roof will ensure that your house is much more insulated and protected from the effects of the weather outside. In addition to being more energy efficient, TPO roofs are much more eco-friendly.
TPO roofing contains much lower levels of carbon, which contributes to a much smaller carbon footprint. This is a great choice for those of you who are environmentally proactive. Now that we have discussed most of the main benefits of a TPO roof, we can dive into some potential drawbacks of these roofs.
It is important that we cover these so that you have a full picture of both sides of TPO roofing. This will help you make a more informed decision when choosing whether or not one is right for you.
Cons Of TPO Roofing
Although TPO roofing is often preferable over standard roofing, there are a few downsides of TPO that should be considered. These include the fact that TPO is a relatively new product, the thickness of the roofing materials, and the inconsistency of quality between different installations.
All of these will be covered in more detail in the sections below so that you can decide for yourself whether TPO roofing is right for you.
It Is A New Product
Because TPO roofing has only been around for a few years, it is hard to say how it will stand up to the test of time. Because standard roofing methods have existed for centuries, any new technology will have some unexpected issues that may arise.
This means that in 25 years, you may have some issues with your TPO roof that manufacturers were not aware of. An unproven track record is something serious to consider when it comes to roofing, as it is not something that you want to have to replace if you can avoid it.
It is important that you choose a manufacturer and company that is experienced with TPO roofing, as they will offer the best information and installation currently available. Not all companies are equipped to deal with TPO roofing due to their lack of experience with the new material.
While TPO is a top-quality roofing material, it still has some time before anything can be said concretely about how it performs long term. In addition to being a new product, there are many variations of quality depending on the manufacturer that you should consider. We will cover these variations next.
Variation Of Quality
One of the more concerning downsides of TPO roofing is the inconsistency of quality between different manufacturers. Since TPO roofs have not been around for more than 30 years, many manufacturers simply do not have the experience in producing and installing roofing materials.
While choosing the right contractor to install your roof is always important, it is much more so when dealing with a TPO roof. In some extreme cases, companies may be producing TPO roofing materials that will not last more than ten years.
This is obviously not ideal and will lead to having a full roof replacement much earlier than would normally be necessary. Because of this, you should always do your research on the company that you are choosing to purchase and install your TPO roofing.
This will ensure that you are hiring contractors who have the most experience dealing with the materials. It is likely that in the future more manufacturers will master the production and installation of TPO materials more so than is currently widespread.
One final caveat that we should consider is the number of seams present in most TPO roofing. We will discuss how the presence of additional seams can influence the health of your roof in the section below.
More seams in the roofing mean more chances of potential tears. TPO roofing has a significant amount more seams than standard roofing and thus is much more prone to tearing. This is not ideal as it can lead to costly repairs down the line.
In addition to this, commercial buildings utilizing TPO roofing can more easily damage the seams by installing components on the roof like HVAC systems. This makes it much riskier in general to use than a standard shingle roof.
Now that we have covered both the pros and cons of TPO roofing, you may be wondering exactly how long you can expect a TPO roof to last. Of course, this is a valid concern and one we will discuss in detail in the next section.
How Long Does TPO Roofing Last?
A well-maintained TPO roof can last up to 20 years. If you are adamant about maintaining your TPO roof, it can sometimes last up to 30, though this is much rarer. To reach these maximum lifespans, it is important that you have your roof inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
This can help catch any issues early so you can address them before they become more significant. If you do not maintain your TPO roof properly, you can expect your roof to need replacing in as little as ten years.
This is not ideal considering the cost associated with TPO roofing installation. We will cover the costs of TPO roofing in the next section of this guide.
How Much Does TPO Roofing Cost?
You can expect TPO roofing to cost around $3 to $9 per square foot. For a full roofing project, the cost will generally fall somewhere between $7200 to $10,500. This is cheaper to install than EPDM roofing and can last much longer with the right maintenance routine.
That being said, you will need to call a contractor for an exact estimate for your TPO roof installation to be sure. The prices will vary by manufacturer and contractor so it is best to shop around so you get the best deal.
Now for the big question, should you get TPO roofing? We will discuss this next and hopefully help you come to a decision.
Should You Get TPO Roofing?
If you wish to have a flat roof that is easy to install and energy-efficient, it is highly recommended you consider TPO roofing. Despite the cons of TPO roofing mentioned above, it is still one of the most modern types of roofing currently available.
TPO roofing is one of the newest and most modern forms of roofing currently available. It is easy to install and maintain and provides great resistance to the elements which will lower maintenance costs over time.
You should consider TPO roofing if energy efficiency is a major factor in your choice. Contact a roofer in your area for more information on TPO roofing for a free estimate if you are interested in experiencing it for yourself.
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.