P.O. Box 8 Chagrin Falls, OH 44022 (440) 487-9761 FAX: (440) 708-0792
THERMOPLASTIC POLYOLEFIN (TPO)
TPO polymers are blends or alloys of EBR (polypropylene plastic or polypropylene and ethylene propylene rubber) and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer rubber). Other additives are included in the mixture before it is formed into a roofing membrane. The membrane is attached to the roof board with fasteners. When combined with several other elements (like a weathering package, fire retardants, and insulation), the TPO membrane becomes a part of an entire roofing system.
TPO membranes are produced by calendering with lamination, extrusion with lamination, or extrusion-coating techniques. TPO sheets are a blend of polypropylene and ethylene propylene polymers and usually are reinforced with polyester. TPO sheets contain colorant, flame retardants, UV absorbers and other proprietary substances to achieve desired physical properties.
Although one of the newest types of commercial roofs on the market, TPO roofing has quickly climbed the ranks. Designed to be the perfect combination of EPDM (rubber) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), TPO is one of the most popular roofing products available these days, despite its relative youth. Flexible, strong, and very resistant to harsh temperatures and wild weather, TPO roofing has many advantages, but it does lack the long track record that more traditional roofing systems boast. If you’re interested in learning more about the composition and advantages of a TPO roofing system, read on! We’ll help you decide if TPO is right for your building.
PROS & CONS
TPO is incredibly popular because of its strength, ease of installation, and longevity. It can be heat-welded during installation due to the material’s thermoplasticity, which is a huge advantage since seams are usually the weakest part of a roof. In fact, TPO seams are said to be 3-4 times stronger than EPDM systems and 6 times stronger than systems that use glue seams or tape systems! They are resistant to chemicals, do well in high heat, are flexible in cold temperatures, and are generally quite affordable. With proper installation and maintenance, TPO systems can last 10-20 years. Finally, if it is important to you that your roof is environmentally-friendly, you have no need to fear TPO! No plasticizers are involved in TPO roofing systems, they don’t degrade under UV radiation, and they come in white (which reflects heat, helping the building stay cool). Plus, they can be made from some recycled materials! TPO is the perfect choice for your “green” building.
Like all roofing systems, however, TPO does have some cons. Most of its shortcomings revolve around the fact that it is still so new. It doesn’t have the time-tested, reliable reputation that some other roofing systems can flaunt. Also, remember that the strength of any roof (TPO especially) depends greatly on the quality of installation. If you choose a reliable roofing contractor and take care of your roof with yearly maintenance checks, you shouldn’t have any problems with a TPO roofing system.
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