So you are in the market for a new commercial roof. There are probably many more types of commercial roofing out there than you know about, but most of them fit into a couple of categories like fluid applied reinforced roofs (FARRs) or single ply roofs, or built-up roofing systems (BURs). Since single ply roofing like TPO and FARRs has become so popular recently, today we are going to discuss the differences between them and whether or not TPO is better than fluid applied roofing. That way, you can make an informed decision when it comes time to choose between TPO and a fluid applied reinforced roof.
Let’s get started!
About TPO Roofing
First, let’s talk about TPO, which is sort for Thermoplastic Olefin. TPO is a lot like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is made by applying a single layer of waterproof membrane over insulation or straight to the roof. Single ply roofing has a number of advantages, including being lightweight and easy to install. TPO can be rolled over a cover board and insulation then fixed into place with ballast, mechanical fasteners (like screws), or chemical adhesives.
There are some disadvantages to consider. The issues stem from an unregulated industry. Because the industry has no standardization for its products, every manufacturer of TPO uses their own ingredients, resulting in TPO sheets of varying qualities all being sold for the same price. Second, ingredients used in TPO membranes are continuously changing, and that makes it difficult to estimate exactly how long a TPO roof will last. For instance, some manufacturers are adding lamination to the top section of the membrane, but this is causing cracking and shrinkage.
That is why it is important to work with a roofer you can trust. Also, opt for TPO roofing that has at least a 20-year warranty.
About Fluid Applied Roofing
You may also see these referred to as liquid membrane roofing systems. As suggested by the name, a fluid-applied roof is a system that requires a fluid application. The system includes liquid coatings between layers of polyester fabric. The fluid is usually either acrylic or an asphalt emulsion, or both, and is applied with either spray or rollers.
A few benefits of a FARR system are flexibility, durability, and environmental friendliness. They are puncture-resistant, have high energy efficiency, are self-adhering, and have low VOC. FARRs can be added as a coating system over a preexisting roof, as well, to help extend the lifespan.
Is a TPO Roof Better Than a Fluid Applied Roof?
Now, we arrive at the main question. Is TPO the all-star of commercial roofing? Or should you use a fluid applied reinforced roof? Some contractors will say that TPO is better than a FARR, but in truth, it could go either way depending on what you want.
A true FARR system is reinforced, as the same suggests. This means that it has a certain amount of thickness and behaves more like a BUR system than a single-ply membrane. When fluid applied reinforced roofing is installed correctly, it can last for many years without any problems. However, FARR systems are often improperly installed, leading to cheap coatings replacing the actual system, leading to issues in resilience. If you plan on using FARR, be sure to hire a reputable roofing contractor.
The same can be said for TPO. If you get cheap materials, it will work no better than a coating. But if you get high-grade TPO that is built to last? It can increase the longevity of your commercial roof for many years and has a remarkable return of investment (ROI) when compared to FARR. Unlike a FARR system, TPO roofing is also reflective, so it can help you save on heating and cooling costs throughout the year.
In short, TPO is a hugely popular option for those who are looking for a widely available and low-cost commercial roof.
Final Thoughts on TPO vs. Fluid Applied Roofing
When it comes to choosing between TPO and a fluid applied roof, you need to consider longevity and durability. TPO products do have drawbacks, but they have superior insulation when compared to FARR systems, as well as better curbside appeal. FARRs do have issues caused by installation problems, so TPO may be the better option overall. From a practical standpoint, many commercial properties should use TPO since it will last much longer than a fluid applied system.
Either way, proper installation is going to boost the efficacy of your commercial roofing, so be sure to get in touch with a professional commercial roofer today. Request a quote or consultation by filling out the contact form. We will be in touch!