If you’re a commercial building owner in the United States, chances are you’ve got a flat roof installed over the property. Countrywide, it’s commonplace to see a flat roof on most commercial buildings, be it warehouses, airports, malls, or corporate offices. This comes as no surprise, given that one of the only major alternatives to flat roofing for commercial buildings is pitched roofing, a kind of roof that is a poor fit for establishments with more complex plans.

Commercial buildings are usually larger than residential buildings, so installing pitched roofing on one from a technical standpoint can be a challenge in comparison to installing it on small homes. A flat roof, on the other hand, is an easier installation. It also helps keep expenses down, especially when it comes to future maintenance costs, owing to its smaller surface area that’s quite easy to clean.This is also true in the case of residential roofs. Although it’s more common to find homes with a sloped roofing system in the US, Florida, in particular, has just as many homes with flat roofs because they provide easier access for cleaning purposes. Our flat roofing option is therefore perfect for a storm-prone state like Florida.

Even more of a significant reason for the flat roof’s popularity in building use is that the material it usually requires in its make-up is both practical and cost-effective. Roofing materials like metal and PVC are sturdy and can handle heavy-duty activity. They’re also easier to produce in bulk, making them inexpensive options.

One material that quickly became huge in popularity in flat roof use over the course of the last couple of years is TPO. In fact, TPO is the fastest-growing commercial roofing material on the market today. It was first introduced in the 1990s as the more cost-effective alternative to the PVC roofing that was typically used at the time for commercial buildings.

A person standing on a flat roof

What is TPO?

Short for thermoplastic polyolefin, TPO is part of the broader family of rubber roofing materials that also includes PVC roofing. In appearance, TPO is a white and extremely reflective single-ply membrane. A single-ply membrane is a sheet of rubber or a different synthetic material that can be chemically glued to the exterior of your commercial building to give it a layer of protection. There are many variations to the single-ply membrane, and TPO is one of the two major kinds, with EPDM being the other one.

Properties of TPO Roofing

A residential property with a flat roofing system

While TPO and EPDM are both single-ply membranes, they differ in their melting points, which is a major difference that sets them apart. TPO being able to melt at a lower temperature is ideal for industrial applications, as this characteristic allows it to be remolded and reshaped after installation.

When it was first incepted decades ago, TPO was developed in a way that combined the best qualities of the PVC and EPDM roofing that were commonly in use at the time. This meant that TPO roofing would not only be high in strength and flexibility but would also feature a series of additional desirable characteristics. These properties are what make TPO the go-to choice for commercial roofing material even today:

  • Versatility:TPO is lightweight and puncture-resistant, and each side of its sheet has differing functions. The top side is capable of handling wear-and-tear; meanwhile, the lower side gives it additional strength.
  • UV resistance:TPO is by default white in color, which gives the material its cooling properties. TPO roofing is able to reflect incoming UV rays and as a consequence, prevents your building from heating up. This in turn, keeps energy costs for your business or home activities down with little use for air conditioning.
  • Water resistance: In Pensacola,where rain is a possibility all year round, water damage to buildings becomes a hassle, especially with thunderstorms being frequent during the summer. TPO is a waterproof material that prevents leaks, mold growth, and structural damage to your commercial property caused by water.
  • Long-term weather resistance: TPO is able to endure temperature fluctuations over time, especially when it’s hot and the seams and sealants of the roofing are susceptible to shrinkage. TPO prevents such damages to the roof due to heat.

A house with flat roofing

How Long Does TPO Roofing Last?

When purchasing a new roof, it’s important to consider its durability to understand how much your investment will be worth it in the long run. An expertly installed TPO roofing is going to last you somewhere between 25 to 30 years.

Although TPO has a considerably shorter life expectancy than that of its roofing counterpart EPDM, which can last up to 50 years, TPO is the superior choice because of its ability to boost the curb appeal of your property in addition to its more advanced insulation qualities that make the roofing system energy-efficient.

How Much Does TPO Cost?

Although it’s primarily sold in rolls, TPO installation itself is priced by squares. A square is a 100 sq. ft. of TPO material, which can cost you anywhere from $3.5 to $14.

How much a TPO membrane installation will total up to is determined by several different factors. For one, you might want to consider the surface area of your roof. For larger projects, the price per square ft. might likely be cut down. Even though you’ll need to set aside a bigger budget in comparison to a smaller project when getting TPO installed. Overall it’s still a reasonable expenditure considering how costly commercial building improvement projects can be. All in all, for both residential and commercial roofing needs, TPO is considerably cost-effective.

At Certified Pro Roofing, our residential roofing services feature roof repairs, roof inspection, and roof installation. If your home has a flat roof, we recommend upgrading its material to TPO for the best return on investment in the harsh Floridian climate. Call us now for a roof membrane replacement now!

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