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TPO stands for thermoplastic polyolefin. One of the most familiar ways TPO is used today is in the parts of cars and trucks that appear to be plastic—such as fenders, bumpers, dashes, and the inside parts of doors. As a roofing membrane, TPO is a single-ply roofing system primarily used on commercial buildings with very low-slopes.
When TPO was first introduced as a roofing system, it had a very rocky start which damaged the reputation of this roofing system. It was developed in the early 1990’s, and many manufacturers had their own unique formulations. This led to great inconsistencies in the performance of these roofing membranes. However, over the past ten years, the quality and consistency of TPO has greatly improved. Large TPO manufacturers have resolved the issues from the previous formulations and now provide excellent roofing systems.
One of the main advantages of TPO roofing is its ability to reflect heat. TPO roofs are rated as Cool Roofs by ENERGY STAR and have been proven to reflect up to 79% of the sun’s rays away from the roof’s surface. TPO also holds up very well in hail storms, and comes with warranties that range from 15-30 years. This is often one of the most economical options for a large, low-slope roofing area.