Are TPO Roofs Good?

A TPO roof installation in process with workers and tools.

Learn Whether a TPO Roof Is Right For You

Commercial structures, like residential structures, in the Austin, Texas area need roofing materials that can sustain all types of weather. From the blistering summer UV rays to the hard rains and high winds of spring and the ice storms in the winter. One of the most popular choices in commercial roofing is TPO. Thermoplastic Polyolefin is a single-ply roofing membrane that is comprised of three layers: 

  • Polymer base
  • Polyester-reinforced scrim
  • A compounded top ply

Every type of roofing material has different requirements when it comes to repairing them, and TPO roofing isn’t any different, which has its own TPO repair process.

What is a TPO Repair Kit and What Components are Included in a TPO Repair Kit?

A TPO repair kit is designed for specifically a TPO roof with products such as: 

  • TPO patching compound
  • Seam sealant
  • Primer

There are detailed instructions included in each kit on how to perform proper TPO repairs for a variety of issues. Those issues include small cracks, tears, punctures, and larger damage that can happen during a Texas spring storm.

What Are the Downsides to TPO Roofing? 

TPO roofing membranes are a popular choice in Austin, Texas because of their durability and the seams are hot air welded. They have a high resistance to impacts, punctures, and tears, but they are not 100% immune to flaws that lead to issues. Some of those flaws that require TPO repairs include: 

  • Easily Punctured 

TPO roofing is highly puncture resistant, however, a commercial structure that has a lot of foot traffic could be easily punctured if the proper preparations aren’t used. This includes having it professionally cleaned so the foot traffic isn’t stepping on large gravel stones, dropped tools, and loose screws. 

  • Strict Warranty

Most TPO roofing manufacturers have strict warranty requirements.  They require TPO repairs to be made promptly by an authorized TPO repair specialist. The warranty is typically between fifteen and thirty years. If an additional warranty is offered at a cost, it is worth the expense. 

  • Degrading Adhesives

The most common need for TPO repairs is caused by the UV rays degrading the adhesive. The adhesives seal the membrane seams, creating a waterproof seal. Any punctures or tears should be immediately repaired to keep the seal in contact and protect the roofing. 

  • Longevity

A TPO roofing system that doesn’t have prompt and proper TPO repairs when needed will shorten the lifespan of the roof. TPO roofing has its downsides, but manufacturers are making improvements and still keeping it affordable.

How Does a TPO Repair Kit Work and What Types of Damage Can a TPO Repair Kit Fix?

An improper and quick TPO repair of any of the flaws we listed above isn’t worth the money and time saved. Having any TPO repairs completed by a professional roofing contractor that specializes in TP roofing is recommended. The steps a professional roofing contractor will take when doing any TPO repair job include: 

  • Proper Preparation: If the roof surface isn’t properly and thoroughly cleaned before making a TPO repair, the repair won’t last. It must be completely free from contaminants and dirt. Most TPO manufacturers have specialized cleaners available to roofing contractors that include a special cleaner-primer, a detergent wash, and a special rinse.
  • Patching: TPO repair for a puncture can be done with a hot-air welding tool and special patch material available from the manufacturer. 
  • Coverage: A TPO repair is not something a building owner wants to deal with, but if not done promptly and correctly, it can void the warranty. Any TPO repairs should be done by a professional roofing contractor for this reason. 

Are TPO Repair Kits Easy to Use? 

For an experienced roofing contractor that has the proper equipment and materials, yes, TPO repairs are easy. For the inexperienced though, the steps may seem easy to follow, but any shortcuts can result in causing more damage that needs professional TPO repair service. 

How Long Do TPO Repairs Last? 

The lifespan of a properly installed TPO roof is between 15 and 30 years, with an average of around 22 years.  The reflective surface minimizes the heat from the UV ray, keeping the building cooler in the summer. This is a big plus in Texas! 

If TPO repairs are done promptly when needed, and all the steps are followed as instructed by the manufacturer, can help the TPO roof reach a long lifespan of up to 30 years. 

Stay On Top! 

The key to getting the longest lifespan possible for commercial roofing material is maintenance and repairs. While your maintenance team may be able to complete a TPO repair job, you want to make sure they follow all steps, including a thorough cleaning before applying the TPO repair materials. Since your maintenance team has other duties, you need to determine if their time is better spent elsewhere, and hiring a professional roofing contractor is the better choice.