TPO roofing systems are among the most popular choices for commercial buildings, but we are starting to see some premature wearing of the top layer of the thermoplastic. Many of the raw materials are coming from China. With the shortages worldwide, we only hope that they will continue to use the highest quality raw materials that China is known for.
TPO roofing systems come in a wide variety of types — just like tires, there are high-quality versions and low-quality versions of this roofing material. All TPO roofs are not the same, and in fact, though manufacturers will guarantee the quality of the materials for 20 years, many roofs are failing well before that because of workmanship issues and issues with the seams.
As you can see from the images, many of these roofs are in poor condition, especially in Texas due to the sun, wind, heat, and other factors.
TPO Roofs—The Drawbacks
Unfortunately, TPO roofing systems don’t hold up very well under the harshest of weather conditions, which Texas is famous for.
Originally marketed to last 20 to 25 years, industry experts are finding that many TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roofing products begin to degrade after only 10 or 15 years under extreme heat load, direct sunlight, hail, and high wind.
Today, we’re seeing many issues with TPO roofs failing in even 5-7 years, much of which has to do with shoddy workmanship and issues with the seams of the roof. These seams are failing, causing leaks in the roofs.
New TPO roofs aren’t fairing well either, as there are reports that China, the major source of these materials, is having quality control issues due to the pandemic. We expect that many TPO customers are going to see serious problems with their brand new TPO roofing systems in only a few years.
UV Rays—The Enemy of TPO Roofs
As years of severe direct sunlight pile up, the materials begin to break down.
The most widely used TPO membrane (circa 2008) was a membrane that was .040” thick. It used a .010” sheet of thermoplastic material on both the top and bottom, sandwiching .020” scrim.
Texas weather pounds the membrane with UV rays, and the outer sheet wears away at about .001” per year. A simple calculation reveals that the outer layer will be almost entirely worn away in about 10 years.
Once the scrim is exposed to direct UV rays, the heart of the TPO system is compromised, and the roof will begin leaking.
Because of the nature of TPO roofing systems, there are often dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of seams—natural weak points where damage can occur under storm conditions.
These split- and crack-prone areas become more fragile as the materials begin to age.
What This Means for You
TPO alone is simply not constructed to withstand the beating the long Texas summers and storm seasons give them year after year.
Many TPO roofs installed since 2000 are already nearing the end of their lifespan—a serious concern for business owners like you.
Get the Most Out of Your TPO Roofing System
There is a way to extend the life of your TPO roof, increase its weather protection, improve its durability, and keep the advantages it offers—before it fails and you’re forced to replace your entire roof.
We recommend elastomeric (silicone) roof coatings.
With one of these coatings, a TPO roof’s reflectivity can be drastically improved, as can its durability. That means cost savings.
Applying a durable elastomeric roof coating (also called silicone) to your existing roof allows you to strengthen areas weakened by:
- Failing and leaky seams
- Brittleness due to heat and direct sunlight
- Pooling water
An elastomeric coating simultaneously fills in the leaks you already have and strengthens and reinforces those dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of trouble-prone areas found on every roof—the seams.
It stays flexible as your building expands and contracts under extreme temperatures, hot or cold, expanding and contracting with your building.
This means long-term durability, lowering the risk of future repairs and promoting a lower total-life cost.
In the same way, they strengthen and revitalize TPO roofs, elastomeric coatings can revitalize a wide variety of aging commercial roofing systems. Coatings can add much-needed reflectivity to many heat-absorbing black or gray materials.
These roofing systems can be significantly enhanced with a silicone coating:
- EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) or “rubber” roof
- Mod-Bit (Modified Bitumen)
- SPF (Spray Polyurethane Foam)
A quality elastomeric roof coating could drastically increase the life of your existing roof—up to 20 years.
Get a Quote on an SPF Roofing System and Elastomeric Roof Coating
An elastomeric coating costs less than a roof replacement while still reducing heating and cooling costs and patching leaks.
Contact us here for a recommendation and a quote on an elastomeric roof coating.