TPO is highly
resistant to tears, impacts, and punctures with good flexibility to allow for building
movement. TPO's are available in white, light gray, and black with thicknesses of either
45 mils (.045") or 60 mils (.060"). The width of the membrane depends on the
manufacturer but they usually come in widths of six to six-and-a-half feet and are
one-hundred feet in length.
TPO membranes are installed fully-adhered, mechanically-attached or ballasted.
Fully-adhered means that the roof is "glued" to the substrate using a special
adhesive. What actually happens is the glue creates a chemical bond with the membrane.
Ballasted simply means the membrane is loose laid over the top of the roof, sealed at all
penetrations and around the perimeter, and then a ballast is put on it to hold it in
place. Ballast usually consists of smooth, round, river rock 2" - 3" in diameter
and is applied at a rate of 1,000 to 1,200 pounds per roof square (100 sq. ft.). Sometimes
concrete pavers are used in their place. These average 20 pounds per square foot.
Mechanically-attached membranes are those that use some type of special screw-type
fastener to secure it. The type of fastener will depend on the type of substrate but all
fasteners are generally screw-type fasteners.
Properly installed TPO roof systems have service lives ranging from about 10 to 20 years,
depending on the type of installation. Full removal of the existing roof, the amount of slope
the roof has, weather conditions, as well as several other criteria contribute to the longevity
of a roof's service life. Typically, if you remove an old roof down to the deck before installing
a new one, then the new roof will last longer. Also, the steeper the slope and the less severe the
weather conditions, the longer a roof will last. High winds and hail can do a roof in rather quickly.
But remember, the number one ingredient to a good roof system is proper installation.