TPO roofing is a popular roofing system for flat or industrial roofing. In fact, it is one of the fastest-growing commercial roofing materials available. More and more people are investing in TPO roofing, which is why it seems more people are facing the common problems with it. TPO roofing is indeed a highly cost-effective and efficient roofing system, but you should be aware of the downsides and potential issues before making your final decisions, including where it fits in with repair and roof replacement services. Let’s look at 5 common TPO roofing problems to keep in mind when shopping.
What is TPO Roofing?
TPO roofing, or Thermoplastic Olefin roofing, is a type of single-ply roofing material that is commonly used in commercial and industrial roofing applications. TPO roofing is made from a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber that is reinforced with polyester. This roofing material is known for its durability, energy efficiency, and low maintenance requirements.
TPO roofing is available in a variety of colors and thicknesses, making it a versatile option for a wide range of roofing applications. It can be installed in large sheets that are welded together using heat or hot-air guns to create a seamless, waterproof surface. This roofing material is also resistant to UV radiation, ozone, and chemical exposure, making it an ideal option for harsh weather conditions and industrial environments.
What Are Some Advantages of TPO Roofing?
There are many reasons you may consider thermoplastic olefin roofing for your commercial or industrial building, including:
- Durability: TPO roofing is a durable roofing material that is resistant to punctures, tears, and impacts. It can withstand harsh weather conditions, such as high winds and heavy rain, and is designed to last for many years with proper maintenance.
- Energy Efficiency: TPO roofing is a highly reflective roofing material that can help to reduce cooling costs and improve indoor comfort. It reflects sunlight and heat away from the building, which can help to reduce the load on your HVAC system and lower your energy bills.
- Low Maintenance: If you are looking for a roof that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep, consider TPO roofing, as it is easy to clean and repair. It is resistant to algae growth, and its smooth surface makes it easy to remove debris and dirt buildup.
- Cost-Effective: TPO roofing is a more affordable commercial roofing material compared to other options. It is relatively inexpensive to install and requires minimal maintenance over its lifetime.
5 Common TPO Roofing Problems to Consider in 2023
Now that you have had a look at where TPO roofing excels as a commercial or industrial roofing material, let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages. Knowing these common problems may help you diagnose any roofing problems before they worsen. Furthermore, you will know what to look for and how a professional roofing contractor will go about correcting these issues.
1. Seam Failure
Generally, TPO roofing is installed with large sheets that have been welded together at the seams using hot-air or heat guns. The seams are critical to the construction of the TPO roofing system since they are some of the weakest links. Unfortunately, seam failure is one of those common issues that you have to consider. When a seam is not totally sealed, water can penetrate the material, causing leaks.
There are a number of reasons why seam failure can occur with TPO roofing. One common cause is poor workmanship during installation. If the roofing contractor does not follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation or if they cut corners during the installation process, the seams may not be properly welded together, leading to leaks and other problems.
Another cause of seam failure is thermal expansion and contraction. TPO roofing can expand and contract with changes in temperature, which can cause stress on the seams over time. If the seams are not installed correctly or are not able to accommodate the thermal movement of the roofing material, they may begin to pull apart and allow water to penetrate the roofing system.
Seam failure can also be caused by damage to the roofing material, such as punctures or tears. If the TPO roofing material is damaged in any way, it can compromise the integrity of the seams and lead to leaks and other problems.
Preventing Seam Failure
So, being that seam failure is so prevalent, how do you go about correcting it? First and foremost, work with an experienced commercial roofer like RGB Construction. You want a team who is knowledgeable about the material and will follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Furthermore, despite TPO roofing being durable, you should routinely inspect the material for any wear and tear. If you notice any issues with your TPO roofing, it’s important to address them promptly to prevent further damage and costly repairs.
2. Ponding Water
Another common issue with TPO roofing is ponding water. Flat roofing usually has this issue, and so the roofing materials used must compensate. TPO roofing is designed to be sloped, allowing water to run toward the drainage system. Yet, despite the design, there are some problems that may occur that keep it from functioning properly.
Why does ponding water occur? TPO roofing does deteriorate. When that happens, water penetrates the roofing material, saturating it. This may lead to water damage and cracking, especially if this occurs regularly. Ponding water can also create a breeding ground for algae and other organisms, which can further damage the roofing material and cause it to deteriorate more quickly. This can lead to more frequent repairs and a shorter lifespan for the roofing system.
Preventing Ponding Water
To prevent ponding water on TPO roofing, it’s important to ensure that the roof is sloped correctly and that the drainage system is functioning properly. The roofing contractor should design the roof to ensure that water flows off the roof and into the drainage system. The drainage system should be regularly inspected and maintained to prevent clogs and other issues that can lead to ponding water.
It’s also important to regularly inspect the roof for signs of ponding water and to address any issues promptly. If you notice ponding water on your TPO roof, it’s important to contact a roofing contractor to determine the cause of the problem and develop a plan to address it.
3. UV Damage
Despite being resistant to UV radiation, TPO roofing is not immune to UV damage over time, especially when we are talking about the adhesives that keep the membrane connected to the substrate underneath. Should the adhesives dissolve from UV damage, you may end up losing the seal that creates a waterproof seal.
Fortunately, many TPO roofing systems do come with UV inhibitors that prevent damage from the intense rays of the sun. This is why you should never opt for the cheapest option. Be sure to choose TPO roofing that has been specifically formulated to withstand UV radiation and other environmental factors. That way, you will not have to worry about this issue so much.
If your current TPO roofing does not have UV inhibitors, you could always have a reflective coating installed. The reflective coating will reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it, which will reduce the damage to the roof.
Thermoplastic olefin is known for being durable, but the material can still be punctured. Unfortunately, manufacturers have yet to determine how to create TPO roofing that is impervious to weather damage. That said, one of the main causes of punctures is foot traffic on the roof. When people walk on the roof, they can accidentally step on sharp objects or other debris that can puncture the roofing material. This is particularly true for roofs that are used as rooftop patios or gathering spaces.
Another common cause of punctures in TPO roofing is storm damage. Hail, heavy rain, and other severe weather events can cause debris to fly around and strike the roof, causing punctures and other damage. Even small punctures can quickly turn into larger holes if they are not addressed promptly.
Poor installation is another factor that can contribute to punctures in TPO roofing. If the roofing material is not installed correctly or is not securely fastened to the roof, it can become loose and more susceptible to punctures from foot traffic or other debris.
Preventing Punctures in TPO Roofing
Since punctures may happen accidentally, the best method of prevention is to be proactive. Inspect your roof visually after storms to ensure that debris or inclement weather has not damaged the roof. You can also ask your local roofing contractor to reinforce areas that may experience foot traffic in the future. For example, if you have a ventilation system with roof access, it may be wise to enhance the ground around that area. Also, any small punctures that you see should be patched up immediately before they grow in size and severity.
Finally, it’s important to choose a roofing contractor who is experienced with TPO roofing and who uses high-quality materials and installation techniques, such as RGB Construction.
Shrinkage, or when the TPO roofing material begins to contract and pull away from the original position, is another common problem with TPO roofing that can occur over time. There are many reasons for shrinkage, including:
- Exposure to extreme temperatures
- Aging of the roofing material
- Poor installation
You cannot do much about the aging part of TPO roofing, but you can take into consideration installation and temperature. TPO roofing is UV-resistant and capable of tolerating various climates, but it will deteriorate faster when exposed to hot, dry climates. The material will become more brittle and prone to cracking with age.
Poor installation is another controllable factor. Having a reputable roofing contractor ensures that your TPO roofing will be securely fastened and not come loose. Fortunately, shrinkage is becoming less and less of a problem in 2023. Many TPO roofing systems now come with specialized additives that help to prevent shrinkage and other issues with the roofing material.
If shrinkage does occur in your TPO roofing system, it’s important to address it promptly to prevent further damage. One way to repair shrinkage in TPO roofing is to use a heat welding technique to reattach the roofing material to the roof. This technique involves heating the roofing material with a specialized tool and then using pressure to bond it back to the roof.
Another option for repairing shrinkage in TPO roofing is to use specialized repair tape. This tape is designed to adhere to the roofing material and create a tight seal that helps to prevent further shrinkage and damage.
Get Your TPO Roofing Repaired or Replaced in No Time
TPO roofing is a popular roofing option for commercial and industrial buildings, but it can experience problems over time. Proper installation, regular maintenance, and timely repairs can help to extend the life of TPO roofing and ensure that it provides reliable protection for years to come. RGB Construction can help you with commercial and residential roofing services. Our experienced crew understands the common problems, as well as the resolution. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our roof replacement services by calling 856-264-9093 or by filling out the contact form.