If your Hillsborough County, Florida commercial building needs a roofing solution that looks good and won’t break the bank, consider a TPO roof. TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roofing is a durable, reflective and cost-effective roof option for business buildings with a flat roof surface. Understanding the factors involved in selecting TPO materials for a flat roof can help you save time and additional money.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A TPO ROOF?
Thermoplastic PolyOlefin is a single-ply roofing membrane that covers the surface of the roof. Don’t let the name fool you, though; this material is not plastic. TPO roof material is actually one of a variety of types of rubber, usually a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. The TPO membrane was first introduced to the roofing industry in the 1990’s as a more economical and efficient alternative that was thought to replace PVC roofing products.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE FLAT ROOF INSTALLATION
When it comes to flat roof installation on a commercial building, a few factors influence the work that can be done and the materials that can be used. Even if you observe that commercial building roofing design in your Tampa Bay area seem to be nearly identical and located in areas with similar climate conditions, you cannot assume that similar roofs would apply. Here’s why:
One of the most crucial factors in selecting proper materials and installation processes for a flat roof is the nature of the business being conducted inside the building.
Along with your budget, the business activities you conduct beneath the roof should be discussed in detail with a roofing contractor to ensure that the flat roofing materials, including the various varieties of TPO materials, are going to protect your business from the inside, out.
WHY CHOOSE TPO ROOFING FOR A FLAT ROOF?
There are several reasons why you should install a TPO roof on a flat commercial building roof.
- Cost. TPO is one of the least expensive roofing materials on the market today, costing even less than other types of rolled rubber roofing. If you choose the right TPO materials and an experienced roofing company to do the installation, then your ROI from a TPO roof will yield a great ROI.
- Color. TPO is white on top, which can help to reflect the sun’s light and stop heat buildup within the building. That kind of thermodynamic effect in a state as hot as Florida may lead to significant cost savings on your power bill. (Note: TPO also comes in shades of gray and black).
- Installation Choices. TPO roofs can be installed in a few different ways. It can be attached with adhesives or fastened directly to the roof deck. Another installation option is heat welding in around chimneys and other protrusions.
- Corrosion-Resistant. TPO roofs resist corrosion and don’t promote mildew or algae growth, both of which are big problems for roofs in Florida’s high humidity. A TPO roof doesn’t require pressure washing, either. These factors can add to the cost-effectiveness of the roof by saving your business from having to deal with such problems or keeping up with power cleaning.
FACTORS AGAINST INSTALLING A TPO ROOF?
As versatile as TPO can be for a commercial building flat roof, there are five factors you have to consider before you make the investment. Failure to account for these factors could mean the difference between a great ROI or burning through your business budget with unanticipated expenses because you chose the wrong TPO material or should not have used TPO in the first place.
1.Variance in Quality. TPO roofing materials vary widely in the quality of the products that are made by different manufacturers.Consequently, you, as a business owner must really do your homework. Like any investment for your business, you want to get quality material from a Tampa Bay area roofing professional who has experience with TPO materials. When getting quotes, you already know you have to make sure you are comparing apples-to-apples; if you don’t understand much about TPO, that may be harder for you to do. The result may be paying a high price for an inferior TPO roofing product.
2.Durability Factors. Be aware that TPO materials come in different thicknesses: In this case, thicker is not necessarily better quality nor longer lasting. Thickness has nothing to do with durability. In general, TPO roofs last between 10 and 20 years depending on proper installation and the nature of the elements the roof is exposed to over time.
3.Over-heating. While the white color of a TPO roof, noted above, can deflect heat, if your building sits in direct heat all day, with no tree cover or shadow from nearby structures, then a TPO roof may not be for you. TPO roofing membranes can suffer from accelerated weathering when subjected to high thermal or solar loading. The temperature threshold for over-heating that damages TPO roofs is a “solar load” of 160 degrees or more, If your building hits that solar load threshold, then you need to invest in a TPO product that can withstand that load or choose another type of roofing material.
4.Weak Areas. TPO roofs have a top layer that has to be laminated. Laminating a material leaves it with weak spots that can cause the material to shrink, crack, craze, and deteriorate over time. In fact, it is common for some cheaper TPO roofs to develop cracks in the surface relatively quickly. Thus, you want to know your product and have a trusted roofing professional doing the work for you.
Seams. TPO is sold in rolls that have quite small width, usually 6-8 feet. Seams can introduce a potential weakness in which the membrane expands and contracts. Eventually, this can cause the seams to loosen and water will infiltrate the roof.
BEFORE YOU CHOOSE A TPO ROOF
- Research Manufacturers of TPO Material. Ideally, you want to choose a product from a manufacturer that has been in business for at least ten years.
- Understand the nature of TPO Material. You want to learn as much as you can about the installation process as well as the best match for your building.
- Interview Local TPO Roofing Experts. Speak to a few local roofing professionals who have several years of experience installing TPO on flat roofs. Ask the roofer to walk you through everything that is going into your flat roof installation with TPO. Be sure that you get a warranty on the materials and the workmanship.
TRUSTED ROOFING EXPERTS IN HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA
With Legend Roofing, you are getting a full-service roofing company available to your home or business 24/7. We are proud of the reputation we have made for our roofing company and the experienced technicians who work for our customers in the Hillsborough County area.
When Choosing a Roofing Company, the level of experience the company owner has as well as the technicians working for the company is crucial. Legend Roofing has been in business since 1986, gaining new satisfied clients daily. If you are interested in a Legend Roofing free roofing estimate or just want to talk more about the roofing solutions we can provide, please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions.
TPO ROOFING MATERIAL, RESOURCES
BuildingAdjusters South Florida, TPO Roof Materials Pros and Cons
Flat Roof Material Options (TheSpruce website)
Design and Materials Guide for Residential Flat Roofing (although focussed on residential, there is very good information here that would apply to small commercial buildings with a flat roof and also to familiarize you with materials.)
All About a Flat Roof (TheCraftsman website)