The Evolution of TPO Roofing and Its Advantages over Other Flat-Roof Systems
In direct contrast to the sloped or pitched roofs installed on the majority of private/single homes, it is quite common to see flat roofs installed on commercial complexes, industrial buildings, educational institutions, and high-rise apartments/condominiums. Flat roofing is favoured in the latter cases because installation is usually easier/faster to complete; in turn, any such time savings can help in reducing overall labour and construction costs.
Though the basic design of a flat roof should be fairly straightforward, complexity enters the equation in the selection of the actual roofing material. In previous generations, the standard choice was a multi-layer mixture of tar and gravel; it is a relatively inexpensive option and acts as an effective fire retardant. But this specific combination can be rather heavy and also lack elasticity, particularly in cold temperatures; and if it develops a leak, finding the source can be quite the challenge.
Over time, and aided by the introduction of some new technologies, alternatives are now available for construction of flat roofs, including more lightweight, single-layer materials. These improvements, like Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC (a flexible thermoplastic membrane) and ethylene propylene diene monomer or EPDM (a durable synthetic rubber membrane) are highly resistant to damage from punctures, ultraviolet rays, and various chemicals.
Throughout the last two decades, one of the popular choices in flat-roof construction has been TPO roofing. By definition, Thermoplastic Polyolefin or TPO roofing is a single-ply reflective roofing membrane comprised of a combination of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene; it was introduced in the 1990s and quickly gained acceptance worldwide due to its ease of installation and durable performance i.e., its resistance to degradation.
TPO roofing offers several advantages versus other types of flat roof materials/systems such as PVC and EPDM; to be fair, TPO roofing is not universally perfect either, and thus it does not come without a few possible downsides or disadvantages. Therefore, to help property owners/managers with their decision-making in terms of whether to install TPO roofing, the following is a synopsis of the pros and cons of this roofing membrane:
- Advantages (Pros) of TPO Roofing
- Fast/faster installation time – less overall labour costs
- Lightweight – less stress on structural support systems
- Resistant to punctures (natural sources, foreign objects)
- Retains watertight integrity – minimal shrinkage over time
- Resistance to mold/mildew growth, dirt accumulation, tears
- Produced in wider rolls – less seams to seal (or that can fail)
- Can withstand exposure to UV rays, chemicals, oils, acids, etc.
- Retains its flexibility/elasticity in exceedingly cold temperatures
- Heat-reflective property helps reduces energy use in the summer
- Potential Disadvantages (Cons) of TPO Roofing
- Installation must be done by skilled, certified roofers to avoid tears, punctures
- Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can cause premature aging, seam failures
Clearly, there are significantly more advantages to TPO roofing than potential problems; consequently, TPO roofing may be superior versus other flat-roof systems such as EPDM and PVC membranes or a traditional tar-and-gravel combination due to TPO’s economic benefits as well as its overall durability and long-term performance.
Manufacturer-Certified Specialists for the Installation of Firestone TPO Roofing
As stated above, the expert installation of TPO roofing is essential for guaranteeing its maximum performance and benefit; although this should go without saying for any roof, it is particularly important in the case of TPO membranes due to the need for such skills as heat-welding the seams to create strong and reliable seals.
Avenue Road Roofing has been providing dependable and skilled flat roof installations for property owners in Toronto and the surrounding area for more than 40 years. Avenue Road Roofing crews are factory-trained and manufacturer-certified to install all types of flat roofing systems, including the UltraPly series of membranes from Firestone, a leader in the worldwide manufacture and distribution of building products.
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And visit for further information on the experience and expertise of Avenue Road Roofing with respect to the installation of TPO single-ply roofing systems.
Looking for an affordable, energy-saving, and durable material for a new or replacement flat roof? Call the certified flat roof installation professionals from Avenue Road Roofing today at 416-785-5129 to request a no-obligation consultation on the advantages of a Firestone TPO roofing system.