First let’s consider the fact that TPO roofing is the greenest of all single ply roof system, and that the rain water that runs off these roofs is clean in comparison to PVC with its plasticizers added to the PVC. Compared to other roofs is the basic query in the mind of an individual planning for the implementation of roofing system. Before taking the decision regarding roofing the owner has to decide on the best system out of PVC or TPO or EPDM rubber roofing etc. The selection of roof depends upon the system that satisfies the basic factors as cost, durability, climatic conditions, method of Installation and life span.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin popularly known as TPO is a hot-air welded thermo-plastic single-ply roofing membrane. This is significant as TPO roofing has gained significant popularity as well as market share as far as 2 decades back. Although In the late 90’s and early 2000’s the TPO technology was not at its best of times with many brands having formulations that had yet to be perfected; however brands such as Carilsle, Versico, and Firestone have had formulations that have outlived their projected life expectancy, while other brands have been reported to have had failures.
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TPO is preferred over EPDM Rubber roofing by many Architects and Roof Consultants as well as builders and large publicly owned companies such as Wall Mart – one of the largest buyers of TPO systems as a company in the USA, and is considered to be cheaper as compared to PVC roofs or EPDM Roofs in unit cost. While it provides all the benefits of hot-air welded seams (typically the field is robot welded at 1000° F, and all hand welded details such as T Patches, parapet areas, and other detail work the hand welder – hot air gun is typically set at 650°F to 750°. It has now proven itself over a the term time period of the roof system, and now TPO membrane covers billions of square feet of roofs and represents a multi-billion dollar roofing market.
TPO single-ply roofing membranes, are without any doubt, are the fastest growing sub sector of the low sloped commercial roofing market in Houston and have gained broad industry acceptance for their remarkable performance and installation advantages. With the rapid increase in the demand for heat-reflective and energy efficient roofing systems, thermoplastic polyolefin single-ply membranes continue to provide excellent resistance to UV rays, ozone and chemical exposure, as well as meeting or exceeding IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) requirements of having a SR (Solar Reflectivity) of .75 and higher, and a TI (Thermal Emmitance) of .75 or higher, and have shown that their aged reflectivity remains high.
It has been claimed through various posts and reviews that the TPO has clearly became the leader in the low sloped single ply sector of the roofing industry, both commercially and in residential applications.
There Are many factors that go into calculating the associated cost, such as mil gauge of the TPO, ranging from 45mil to 135mil Fleeceback TPO, and the type of insulating recovery boards that it installed on top of typically, be it ½” EPS (Extruded Poly Styrene) to 4” Polyisocyanurate Insulating Recovery Boards sometimes also tapered and with Dens deck on top of them, another factor is if it is a mechanically attached system, or a fully adhered system (Fully Adhered System are glued down to the recovery board, or sometimes applied via hot mopped application using Type 3 Asphalt, and how detailed the roof system is in terms of penetrations and other detail work that are part of the application. TPO is available with up to 30 year total system warranties, typically called NDL (No Dollar Limit) total system warranties, and sometimes even include a rider or endorsement for puncture resistance. So, to answer the question, “How much is TPO Roofing?” a lot of factors must be calculated; however on the low side you could say as little as $2.00 a square foot, and on the high side you could easily exceed $10.00 a square foot depending on the complexity, wind rating, assembly type, and warranty period. There are TPO Roof Systems that have FM (Factory Mutual) wind ratings capable of withstanding over 200 MPH wind gust, and there are system with much lower ratings, at the end of the day TPO is like everything else in life in the fact that you get what you pay for; however in comparison to other Single Ply Systems of equivalent specifications for R Value (a measure of thermal resistance), wind rating, and UL Rating (Underwriters Laboratory) for fire resistance with UL Class A being the highest fire rating available the comparative price of The Cost of a TPO Roofing System, you can almost guarantee that The Cost of a TPO Roofing System will be less than its fellow competing Single Ply Systems.
Hot-air welded seams welded at the above listed recommended temperatures and done so appropriately will provide a long lasting assembly that will not come apart at the seams. If you took two pieces of 60mil TPO welded together at 1000°F, let them cool and tried to pull them apart you may have a better chance of winning the lottery, possibly a competitive weight lifter may be able to; however I have never witnessed this feat accomplished, where as two pieces of asphalt rolled roofing assembled with Type 3 asphalt could be pulled apart. Also given the choice would you rather have Oil based products on your building, or Thermo Plastic products that have clean water runoff?
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Many skeptics, mostly producers of asphalt based products will always argue that TPO roofing has failed at various places and probably will again, and again as Single Ply roofing poses a great threat to their lively hood. Going in the depth of the matter it has been found that the problem cannot be of the faulty design because in Europe, TPO roofing has been performing well for decades and is considered to be the best option in flat roofing system. On the contrary, in the US, certain roofing manufacturers used unperfected products with cheap fillers and low quality wicking scrim, without proper testing or acquiring UL certifications, as well as Energy Star rating to prove that the product has held up and met Energy Star criteria for at least three years someone will always be able to cite an inferiorly produced Single Ply system and the associated drawbacks to try and add value to their Asphalt / Oil based roofing system. It is their job to sell Asphalt / Oil based products so of course they will collect data on inferior systems that have failed, yet you typically do not see them citing systems manufactured by companies such as Firestone, Carlisle, Versico, or John Mansville (JM).
TPO roofing membranes are quite often developed from polypropylene and ethylene-propylene to produce a membrane that is flexible at low temperatures without the use of liquid plasticizers or polymers. Chlorine is absent and that is essential to make TPO roofing sheets environmentally safe. The TPO resin is combined with fire retardants, weathering materials and coloring pigment to create roofing material that can withstand the elements. Reinforcing membranes increase its resistance to breaking, tearing or punctures.
How beneficial it is important point to be stressed upon. TPO roofing sheets was made of recyclable material that can be ground into “rework” during production. TPO has immense ability of reflectivity, and its white membranes meet or exceed Energy Star performance levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. This increased reflectivity significantly improves the energy output of solar photovoltaic modules. The other benefits that strive the implementation of TPO roofing system are its high resistant to mold and algae growth that reduces energy savings and weather resistant, along with decreased Carbon Emissions and decreased Energy Consumption lowering utility consumption and creating less of a load on heating and air conditioning systems often helping to offset the cost of the roof system to the point where the amount of money saved on utility consumption will pay for the new TPO roof far before its life cycle is close to over, and at the same time providing benefit to the environment.