Charleston Roofing: Article About TPO Commercial Roofs
Technology continues to improve roofing materials, and the commercial roofing industry has seen its share of innovative products. From space-age polymers to innovative applications of old standby favorites, you and your professional Charleston roofing contractor may consider a variety of products for use on your new commercial roof.
Commercial roofs are now well beyond the old tar and rubber commercial roof systems. The biggest advances in the industry involve the use of thermoplastic membranes. The chemicals in these roof membranes are not cross-linked and so can be repeatedly softened or cooled, and they offer a wide variety of benefits.
The most popular thermoplastic membranes are TPO, or thermoplastic olefin. An popular development for commercial roofs, TPO's singly-ply membrane offers robust protection in just one layer. Usually white in color, TPO sheets contain all of your roof's protective ingredients, including UV absorbers and flame retardants.
Easily fit to a variety of low-slope or flat roofs, TPO membranes come in rolls of many sizes, ranging from 6 to 12 feet wide. In most cases, roofs made of TPO are completely ready for use once the single layer is applied to the roof deck.
In fact, its installation method offers one of its greatest benefits: resilient and sturdy fused seams. Unlike many other polymer membranes, TPO seams are fused together by heat welded with hot air, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association. These fused seams provide one continuous protective system over the entire field of the roof, and offer six times more strength than glued seams.
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Most facilities managers choose to have these TPO roofs mechanically attached with a Leister welder during installation, but other installation options include ballast and fully adhered types of installation.
Many companies are choosing to have new TPO roofs because they can be very cost-effective. The TPO membrane is often less expensive than other systems and their relatively quick installation make them an economical choice. They also usually carry excellent Energy Star ratings and Solar Reflectance Index values, making them prime roofing systems for companies interested in reducing energy costs. Warding off potential expenses down the road, many TPO roofs also come with generous no-dollar-limit warranties.
Like most newer products, though, there are some drawbacks to TPO that should be carefully considered. Earlier versions of TPO roofs have some issues with shrinking that causes the membrane to pull away from the seams and edges. This shrinkage can leave your roof vulnerable to weather forces. Other problems identified with some TPO roofs involve splitting along the fasteners, erosion of the membrane itself, deterioration from UV exposure and rapid aging on walk-pads.
Advanced polymer or rubber roofing systems have much to offer commercial establishments. But, they also come with a few disadvantages. To decide whether TPO is the roof system for you, talk with your experienced commercial roofer.