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TPO Roofing: Pros, Cons, and Cost to Install

Reviewed by Tomas Kalkys. President.
Qualifications: More than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial exterior remodeling.
Founding farther of Legacy Service.
Written by LegacyUSA Team

posted on Apr 26, 2021

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TPO Roofing: Pros, Cons, and Cost to Install

TPO, or thermoplastic polyolefin, is single-ply membrane roofing. It’s commonly used for flat roofs on residential homes and commercial facilities. You’ve probably seen one before; it’s a bright, white roof that can’t be missed.

In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about TPO roofing, from the pros and cons to the average cost to install. If you’re interested in residential TPO roofing, then you’ve come to the right place. At Legacy Service, we offer roofing installation and replacement services to homeowners throughout southeastern PA, NJ, and DE. Give us a call at 215-798-9790 to get started or contact us here: https://legacyusa.com/contact/. Continue reading to learn more.

What is Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Roofing?

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) is a single-ply roofing system that consists of a thermoplastic polyolefin membrane. The membrane has three layers, which include:

  • TPO polymer base
  • Polyester-reinforced fabric center (scrim)
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin compounded top ply

Fillers are often used in the manufacturing of this roofing type. They can include (but are not limited to) fiberglass, talc, wollastonite, carbon fiber, and Metal Oxy Sulfate.

TPO flat roofs can be used for homes or businesses. The other main type of single-ply membrane commercial roofing is EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer). The two types differ in chemical makeup, energy efficiency, and how they’re installed.

TPO Roofing Costs

TPO Roofing Costs

TPO roofing material is known to be both practical and cost-effective. It’s typically less expensive than EPDM, and it even tends to last longer with less maintenance. Although many different factors can influence the price of your roof, in most cases, you can expect to pay between $3.50 and $9.50 per square foot. Overall, TPO roofing costs typically range between $7,000 and $11,500. Factors that will affect the price of your roof include the choice of membrane, installation, and insulation, the size and condition of the roof, the access to the roof, and the type of warranty. Get in touch with your local roofing company to schedule an estimate for a TPO roof system.

The average cost of materials (per square feet)

TPO materials are some of the most affordable and cost-effective on the market today. If you have a flat roof that needs installation or replacement, you’ll want to consider this type, which has become increasingly popular over recent years. A number of factors will affect the overall price of your roof, but the average cost tends to range between $3.50 and $9.50 per square foot. If you’re looking to install a single-ply roofing membrane that’s energy-efficient, consider TPO as one of your options. The bright white material also helps reflect UV rays and heat away from the building, which can help you save money during the warm summer months.

The average cost of labor

One of the good things about this product is that the installation process is usually pretty quick and easy. Its membrane is lightweight and manufactured with wider sheets, which is why the material tends to be easier to install. Since the installation requires less work and time than other materials, you can rest assured that this will help save money in the process. The average price tends to range between $3.50 and $9.50 per square foot. This material is often cheaper to install than EPDM, which is why it’s becoming increasingly popular for homes and businesses throughout the United States.

Cost of accessories/tools

If you’re planning to install the roof yourself, you’ll have to factor in the cost of accessories and tools. Since TPO is a mechanically attached roofing system, installers will need special tools and equipment. Two essential items needed to install it include an automatic heat welding machine and a heat fastening plate. These tools can help implement the TPO and flash that’s required for a seamless roof.

The cost of the TPO roofing tools and accessories will vary depending on what you already have and what you need for the project. If you’d prefer to find TPO roofing contractors near me, you can contact our team here at Legacy Service.

Pros of TPO Roofing

You may be wondering why you should choose a TPO roof system over another type like EPDM, etc. Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. TPO roofing has its pros and cons. In the sections below, we’ll discuss some of its most significant advantages and why property owners decide to use it for their home or business.

TPO roofing systems offer plenty of benefits. If you live in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware, and you’re considering TPO, contact our team at Legacy Service. We can provide you with a free estimate for roofing installation or replacement.

Economical (cost)

People care about cost. That’s impossible to deny. The affordable price is one of the main reasons why TPO rubber roofing is so popular to use for flat roofs. That factor alone makes it attractive for residential and commercial construction throughout the United States. However, you can rest assured that the lower price does not mean that it’s of lower quality. TPO offers many of the same benefits as PVC, including energy efficiency and hot-air weldable seams, and it all comes at a lower cost.

So, how much does a TPO roof cost? For a residential roof, you can expect to pay between $3.50 and $9.50 per square foot.

Durable

Another one of the necessities people look for when considering a roof is durability. How long will it last? Will it withstand the elements? These are two questions people ask to determine how durable a type of roof will be. Fortunately, TPO is both durable and remarkably flexible. TPO roofing’s durability helps it resist the buildup of dirt, debris, bacteria, and algae. Its flexibility can help it resist punctures, tears, and damage that could occur from impact. Since roofs and buildings naturally move, the TPO membrane’s flexibility is a desirable feature for a roofing system. Currently, it’s designed to last about 10-20 years, sometimes even up to 30.

Fits Different Home Styles

No matter what type of home you have, you won’t have to worry about whether a TPO membrane roof will match it or not. The roofing type is manufactured to fit many different home styles. It’s available in a few different color options, including white, light-gray, and black, each with reflective, energy-saving properties. You no longer need to use white to save energy. The latest technologies help enable any of the TPO roofing colors to be resistant to UV rays and help keep your home cool throughout the summer months.

Energy Efficient

Roof TPO material is also known for its energy efficiency, which is attractive to homeowners who want to not only save money on their home’s cooling costs but also benefit the environment by reducing their carbon footprint. TPO’s white reflective surface exceeds the requirements of the EPA’s ENERGY STAR, and the product’s white, gray, and tan color options are listed with the Cool Roof Rating Council. In simplest terms, a TPO roof will help keep your building cool in the summer while still reducing your air conditioning costs. It’s also recyclable, which helps reduce the amount of waste funneled to landfills.

Easy Installation

Whether you’re looking to install a TPO membrane roof yourself or hire a team of professionals to complete the job for you, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s easy to install. The reason for this is that it’s lightweight and manufactured with wider sheets, so there are fewer seams. Since there’s less work involved and it takes less time to install, you’ll be able to save money during the installation process. Unless you have the necessary tools and experience, it’s still recommended to hire experts to get the job done to help maximize the roof’s lifespan.

More Pros

Those are some pretty great benefits in the sections above, but they’re not the only ones! TPO has quite a few other pros, which is why it has been steadily gaining in popularity over recent years. Another advantage of TPO that’s not mentioned above is the fact that the customer has more options to choose from when it comes to the roof’s insulation. Also, membranes from TPO roofing manufacturers achieve Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Class A fire resistance listings, which is due to the fact that they add fire retardant chemicals during the manufacturing process.

Cons of TPO Roofing

Like everything else, TPO isn’t perfect. There are certain disadvantages that you should know about before committing to this roofing product. In the sections below, we’ll outline some of the most common TPO roofing problems. If you’re still interested in this material after learning more about the potential negatives, please feel free to contact our team at any time to schedule a consultation.

Questionable Longevity

Although TPO has been proven to be durable against the elements in the short term, it’s still a young roofing technology, so its longevity is questionable. The product has only been around for about 10 years, so manufacturers are still determining the best chemical formula that will make it long-lasting while maintaining an affordable price. Experts estimate this roofing type can last between 10-20 years, sometimes even up to 30, but there’s still more to learn.

Doesn’t Stand Up Well to Heat Load

While TPO is a flexible and durable material that’s designed to resist mold growth, tears, punctures, and dirt accumulation, it doesn’t always stand up well to extreme heat. In fact, it’s been noted to have an issue with accelerated weathering when it’s been subjected to high thermal or solar loading.

More Cons

Another disadvantage of choosing TPO roof layers for your home is that the quality can vary among TPO manufacturing companies. The product’s compounds have changed over recent years, and it’s difficult to estimate how long the roofs will last. Also, flat roofs are more susceptible to water build-up on the roof, so homes may be more likely to experience a leak.

Insulation Options and Costs

Before installing the TPO roof itself, the insulation needs to be placed. About 25% of your overall roofing cost will be the insulation. This is done after the existing substrate is prepared, whether that involves cleaning or removing the existing roof. There are a few different types of insulation the property owner can choose from, which is one of the reasons why this roofing type has become so popular over recent years. In the next section, we’re going to discuss three of the best insulation options you can choose for your TPO roof. If you’re interested in using TPO roofing for your flat roof, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Polyisocyanurate (PolyISO)

Polyisocyanurate, or PolyISO, is the insulation type that’s used the most often for roofing applications. It’s typically more expensive, but the higher R-value rating pays off in the long run. This insulation type is a rigid material that comes in sheets that are between one and three inches thick. The price typically ranges from $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot.

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)

Extruded Polystyrene, or XPS, tends to fall in between PolyISO and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) in regards to the performance and price range. This type of insulation is semipermeable and has a perm rating of 1. XPS is usually known for its pink, green, or blue color.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

Expanded Polystyrene, or EPS, is another common type of insulation that’s used with TPO roofing projects. It can be used for roofing, wall, or floor insulation. Many also find that EPS has the highest R-value per dollar. You may also want to note that it can be used for ground contact, and it doesn’t retain water over time.

TPO Roofing Colors

TPO is most commonly known for its reflective white color. However, the roofing product is also manufactured in several other colors, including light gray and black, so they can match the exterior and look great with any home. Even the product’s light gray and black membranes use the latest technologies to keep homes resistant to UV rays and help them stay cool during the summer months. Whether you’re looking for white, black, or light gray for your flat roof, you have the option with TPO. Contact our team at Legacy Service if you’d like to schedule an estimate for roofing installation or replacement.

TPO Roof Maintenance and Cleaning

Regular cleaning and maintenance will help maximize the lifespan of your TPO roofing. TPO roofs are manufactured to last about 10-20 years, sometimes even 30, depending on the product’s technology, the region where the homeowner lives, and whether the roof receives regular and proper maintenance. TPO roofs may need the occasional repair service if it gets damaged by hail or a falling tree branch. Schedule an annual inspection and cleaning to keep your roof clean and free from debris. You may also need to occasionally recoat or reseal your roof, which can help it last longer without a replacement.

TPO Alternatives (and Why)

TPO Alternatives (and Why)

TPO has multiple alternatives for owners of flat roofs. The most popular one is called EPDM, or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, which is a synthetic rubber that can be used in a range of applications. While TPO is known primarily as a white roof, EPDM is known primarily as a black roof. EPDM can be cheaper than TPO initially, but it may not be as cost-effective when it comes to saving energy.

PVC, Polyvinyl Chloride, is the other common alternative to TPO. Property owners choose PVC for their flat roof because it’s one of the strongest and most durable types of membrane material, standing up to sun, wind, and extreme temperatures.

Should You Install a TPO Roof?

Now that you know more TPO roofing details, including the pros, cons, and average costs, the question is: Should you install it on your residential or commercial property? It typically comes down to whether you have a flat roof and energy efficiency is one of your deciding factors. Since TPO is one of the most energy-efficient flat roofing types with its reflective surface, people choose it because it helps reduce their cooling costs during the warm season. This not only saves on energy bills but also helps reduce their carbon footprint. Get in touch with our team if you’re interested in TPO roofing installation or replacement.

DIY TPO Roof Installation vs. Hiring a Pro

So, you’re interested in installing TPO on your flat roof. You may be wondering whether you should do it yourself or hire professionals to do it for you. The reason why DIY is so appealing to people is that it saves money from the labor costs of professional installation. However, a team of professionals can ensure the installation is done right and help maximize the lifespan of your roof. They can also help you decide the best materials to meet your budget needs and quality standards. If you’d like to consult with an expert, please feel free to contact our team at Legacy Service. We’ll send out a technician to provide you with a free consultation for roofing installation or replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions About TPO Roofing

Frequently Asked Questions About TPO Roofing

We hope you’ve learned a lot from this article, but you may still have more questions about TPO roofing. If so, here are some of the ones that we’re most frequently asked about. If you’d like to schedule a free estimate, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Is a TPO roof good?

Yes! TPO is one of the most popular types of flat roofs due to the combination of quality and affordability. It offers a number of benefits to owners of residential and commercial buildings, and one of the main reasons why people choose TPO over an alternative, such as EPDM or PVC, is the product’s energy efficiency. Its reflective surface, whether white, light gray, or black, is designed to keep the building’s interior cool during the warm summer months. Its energy efficiency will not only help you save money on energy bills but will help the environment as well.

Is TPO better than EPDM?

It depends on what you’re looking for. TPO and EPDM are two of the most popular flat roofing types, and the difference comes down to the composition of the material. TPO is typically made from a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber while EPDM is a synthetic rubber that’s derived from oil and natural gas. EPDM most often comes in a black color, which helps absorb heat, while TPO primarily comes in a white color, which helps reflect heat. If you live in a warmer region, you may want to choose TPO for your residential or commercial roof.

How many years does a TPO roof last?

This roofing type is designed to last about 10-20 years, and it can sometimes even last up to 30. To maximize its lifespan, the roof should be inspected and cleaned annually. One of its most commonly reported problems is that it can pull away around the edges and seams. This can cause roof leaks over time, which can lead to more significant damage in the long term. Properly maintaining your roof can help it last for multiple decades, so it won’t have to be replaced as often.

How much should a TPO roof cost?

The TPO roofing cost per square foot will differ from project to project, but in most cases, it will be between $3.50 and $9.50. Overall, most people can expect the price to range from $7,000 and $11,500. This product is typically cheaper to install than EPDM and can last longer with less maintenance. If you’re interested in receiving a free estimate for installation or replacement, contact us today.

Is TPO waterproof?

This single-ply roofing membrane has unique features that make it appealing to owners of residential and commercial buildings. Since the product’s thickness usually reaches between 45 and 80 mm, it’s thick enough to create a watertight seal around your roof. It also tends to be applied to large rolls, so the seams are hot air-welded together to form waterproof sheets.

Get Started With Your Roofing Project Today!

If you’re interested in roofing replacement, siding installation, or another home exterior service, contact our team at Legacy Service. We provide free estimates for homeowners throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Posted on Apr 26, 2021 in Roof

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