EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT:
What's A TPO Roof Made Of Anyways?
TPO stands for Thermoplastic PolyOlefin, which is the technical name for the single ply membrane that exists on top of nearly 40% of the commercial roofs in America. The actual chemical makeup of the membrane is such that the primary ingredient is rubber along with other synthetics that strengthen the membrane against tearing and damage. TPO membranes are always bright white, and usually are installed on top of insulation or cover boards that add extra protection to your roofing system. It's very popular in commercial uses.
TPO INSTALLATION IN A NUTSHELL
01 Roof Demolition
Demolition of the existing roofing system down to the flat roof decking.
The first step in the process of replacing any flat roof is tearing off the existing roofing system. Flat roofing systems come in many varieties, such as cap sheet, SBS, APP, TPO, EPDM, and plenty of other "alphabet" membranes. Regardless of what exists on your flat roof, the important part is to demolish it and dispose of it properly.
Flat roofs, unlike steep roofs, come with several differing types of roof deckings based on the materials used to create the building itself. The most frequent materials that make up a roof deck are metal, concrete, and wood. By far, the most common type of roof decking is wood decking for residential flat roofs, and concrete decking for commercial flat roofs.
Depending on the type of decking, certain extra steps may be necessary to prepare the deck for the application of new layers of roofing systems. Concrete, for example, often needs to be primed before laying anything new onto it. It all depends on the type of roofing system chosen to replace the existing one.
Should any damage be found on the underlying decking, this is the stage where that damage is revealed and addressed. Wood decks, for instance, may have rotting wood that requires replacement prior to further application. Every situation is unique in this regard and your roof may vary.
02 Preliminary Layers
Most single ply membranes require something, whether it be insulation or anchor sheets, be installed underneath the membrane.
The second step to installing any single ply membrane, including TPO, is usually to install something underneath the membrane itself. While it's technically optional as there are several roof systems that simply attach the TPO itself to the roof decking, it's often discouraged and even illegal in some municipalities.
The layers underneath the TPO have a variety of options and functionalities. They essentially fall into three main categories: anchor sheets, insulation, and cover boards.
Anchor sheets, sometimes also called slip sheets or base sheets, are membranes that get attached to the roof decking to provide extra protection against leaks. Insulation boards (like the ones seen in the photo here) are used to help offset extra energy costs from the weather by helping to regulate interior temperatures effectively. Cover boards are often used for fireproofing a building envelope or simply providing an additional layer of protection to the overall system.
Each of these underlying layers has a different method of attachment and application, so the variety is truly endless. To ensure that you get the perfect system for your wants and needs, it's vital to speak to a flat roofing expert who can walk you through all of the different options and recommend the best system for your specific use case.
03 TPO Installation
During this phase, the TPO is finally laid out over the roof, completing the majority of the system.
After the underlying layers have been properly installed, it's time to put down the most important layer: the single ply membrane itself, otherwise known as TPO.
A single ply membrane is called "single" ply because only one layer is necessary to be rolled out over the entirety of the roof. Other roofing systems require multiple layers, but TPO is made of material strong enough to withstand the elements with just a single top layer.
The TPO arrives to the job site in rolls and are literally unrolled on top of the roof deck and underlying layers. Depending on the type of system, it may be attached to the layers below through adhesive (glue) or induction welding (a special form of attachment to nails below). The TPO is normally laid out in such a manner that two adjacent layers overlap with each other. Side laps are normally welded shut either with hand-welding tools or a special robot that rolls down the dividing lines and welds them together.
TPO, and flat roofs in general, also have special situations at their edges. Most often, they'll either be cut off at the roofs edge if there's no wall, or they'll run up any existing wall (known as a parapet wall) at least a few inches.
Of course, this is all an oversimplification of a rather complex process, so if you have any questions about your specific roof, make sure to ask your dedicated roofer.
04 Finishing Details
Every flat roof is different, and every detail needs to be accounted for to pass a final inspection.
TPO roofs, and flat roofs in general, have lots of little details that matter to securing the entirety of the roof and making sure it's watertight. Everything from corners to AC units to roof curbs to parapet walls...all of it needs to be properly addressed or else leaks will enter through unaddressed weak spots.
In order to double check on the roofer's work, a County Inspector is normally called up during this phase for a Final Inspection. The Final Inspection is only passed once the County verifies that the roofing system being installed is consistent with what is legally called for in the permit documents. That includes any details and securing the details as per manufacturer's specifications to ensure that the roofing system is completely watertight and free of leaks.
The way these details are addressed varies based on what details are present on your roof. For example, a wall may be outfitted with a piece of metal called a termination bar to secure the TPO in place as it's glued up the wall. Counterflashing may be necessary to make sure water doesn't enter behind the TPO membrane on the wall. A stucco stop may be necessary to transition the wall itself to the roofing system properly without causing weaknesses in the building envelope. And all of that is just for a wall! You can imagine how complicated addressing every detail can be!
WHAT MATERIALS ARE YOU PUTTING ON MY ROOF?
This is not an exhaustive list of the products used on flat re-roofs. Rather, these are the most popular options. Feel free to click on one of the arrows to visit their website and browse their different products/colors. Additionally, we've attached a sample product sheet so you can see all the specifications of these sample products. This gives you an idea of what typically gets installed on a roof.
As compared with other roofing systems, here's why you should purchase a TPO roof:
TPO roofing systems tend to be installed more efficiently than other flat roofing systems thanks to the single layer membrane. Multi-layer systems take much longer to install.
TPO systems have so many different varieties that it's easy to select an option that fits your needs, whether it be budget friendly or performance oriented.
The insulation installed underneath the TPO combined with the membrane itself both have energy efficiency benefits. The insulation keeps air conditioned cool air from escaping and keeps heat from entering a building, while the whiteness of the TPO reflects light, further cooling the interior
TPO roofing systems can be as powerful as you'd like to make them. By adding multiple layers of insulation, and a thicker overall membrane, you can easily create a very strong, long lasting system. Some systems can last up to 40 years!
TPO is the most popular commercial roofing option in South Florida for new installations or re-roofs
Ponding water, which is an issue on almost all flat roofs, is much less likely to penetrate the rubbery TPO than a cap sheet or similar roofing membrane made of other material
As compared with other roofing systems, here's why you should not purchase a TPO roof:
TPO roofing systems only offer a single layer of protection, so if the top membrane is exposed to any damage, like tree branches falling and puncturing it, then the roof system will leak as a result. Multi-layer systems offer more protection against this.
Owners of TPO roofs almost always need to choose between budget and performance. There aren't many options that offer both a cheap roof and a long-lasting roof (as in over 25 year lifespan).
Installing enough insulation to truly benefit from the energy saving effects is usually very expensive as multiple layers of insulation are normally needed to achieve significant cost savings.
TPO systems that are incredibly powerful, with multiple layers of tapered insulation, cover boards and thicker membranes, are usually prohibitively expensive.
TPO is the most frequent choice for commercial solutions, but SBS, a common multi-layer counterpart, is the most frequent choice for schools and hospitals, which require stronger roofing systems. In other words, TPO is generally seen as less strong during storms than SBS.
Tapered insulation, which is very expensive, is normally required to eliminate ponding
IS YOUR ROOF UP TO CODE?
While ensuring that every detail of every section of work that goes into installing your new metal roof is legal is a hassle, it's well worth it. There's tremendous peace of mind behind knowing that everything about your roof and the contractor behind it is legal and operating above board.
Every major county in Florida has their own rules and regulations regarding roof work, so be sure to check in with your municipality to see what the specific restrictions/regulations may be, but, in a nutshell, a roofing contractor must be licensed, insured, have worker's compensation and install all materials according to the Florida Building Code and the installation approval method by the County.
Don't leave your roof up to chance. Violating any of the legalities revolving around roofing could lead to giant fines from both the County and the State of Florida for both the roofer and the Owner of the property. It also devalues your home as there's no proof of reparation/re-roof with the property appraiser and creates an extra cost when selling your property in order to make illegal roofwork legal.
HOW REGGAE ROOFING COMPLIES WITH THE LAW:
Pay Your Way
Pay it upfront, at the end, or over time.
Our financing options allow you to pay in whatever way is most convenient for you. In general, we require a 20% deposit to begin the job, and then the final 80% is due upon completion of the job.
However, we allow paying more than 20% as a deposit in exchange for a discount on the job. We can also accommodate paying over time by giving you finance options that provide a low monthly payment for your roof. We can even finance the job through Ygrene if you'd like to explore that option. The bottom line is: we want to help you get under a new roof.
Who We Work With
There are lots of manufacturers of TPO products here in South Florida. Feel free to click on the links to learn more about these companies and the products they make, which will ultimately go on your roof. Please note that not every product is available in every region of South Florida. For more information on specific products, please contact us directly.