TPO ROOFING, What it is and how to fix it?


TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) roofing is one of the top choices for both residential and commercial roofing. It is a popular choice because of its impressive durability and energy efficiency. They also have a very long lifespan for the cost, making them efficient financially as well. However, TPO has potential for failure, just like any roofing system. This is why its important to know TPO and just how to care and enjoy this wonderful roofing material for your home or business.

In this article we will go over what TPO roofing is, how its installed correctly as well as the common issues with TPO and their fixes. By diving into the specifics of TPO roofing composition we aim to educate and inform you on your roofing choice so that you can make the best decision for your home or business. That, or we look to help ease you into the standard practice of repairing and maintaining your TPO roofing system.

What is TPO Roofing?

Definition and Composition

TPO roofing is, in short, Thermoplastic Olefin. This material is a singly ply roofing membrane that is relatively new to the roofing world. This materials is a blend of polyproylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. A combination that offers a durable yet flexible solution for flat roofs. These roofs are usually reinforced with polyester fabric to ensure added stability and water protection. TPO is a great choice for weather protection as well, handling a variety of climates and even chemical exposure, for those of you in the industrial world.

Benefits of TPO Roofing

TPO roofing has a lot of benefits, which has had some influence on its increase in popularity over the last few years. First and foremost, TPO is known to have extremely high durability. The material is highly resistant to tears, punctures, impact damage and basically all forms of damage. On top of the durability, TPO is designed to be extremely energy efficient, keeping those energy costs down. Their reflective surface also helps to reduce heat absorption, lowering cooling costs in the summer months. In addition, the flexibility of the material adds to its durability, bending and flexing to prevent cracks and leaks.

Being cost effective is another advantage of TPO. Compared to other materials, PVC, EPDM and so on, TPO has a very competitive price while delivering superior performance in a lot of ways. On top of the material itself, the installation of TPO can be cheaper due to its ease of installation. So that saves home and business owners on manual labor costs with their roofing.

Common Uses in Residential and Commercial Properties


TPO roofing is common in both residential and commercial applications. However, TPO is most commonly used for flat or low sloping roofs. It has a clean and white appearance that compliments a lot of locations and styles. For Commercial properties, TPO is a wonderful choice to cover large areas effectively. Businesses, warehouses and industrial building often choose TPO for the ease of installation and low maintenance needs. In addition, the reflective nature of TPO roofing is great for those companies looking to enhance their green building credentials and reduce overall energy consumption.

Overall, TPO is a strong, cost-effective and energy efficient roofing solution. It’s adaptive, and carries numerous benefits mentioned before. A perfect choice for home or business owners.

TPO Roofing Installation Process

Preparation and Materials

As with any roofing system, for home or business, there are certain steps to be performed before you install your TPO roof. First, the area must be thoroughly inspected and reviewed to be sure it is the right match for TPO. The existing structure as well as any underlying issues must be resolved first. This includes checking for water damage, rot, or any structural weaknesses. Once the initial inspection has taken place its time to get all the materials. These include the roofing membrane itself, adhesives, motel fasteners, insulation board and whatever edge material might be needed. Then, equipped with TPO specific tools, your roofer will begin the TPO roof installation process.

Installation Steps

The actual installation of TPO roofing involves several critical steps:


  • Surface Preparation: The entire site is checked to be sure the application can take place. Dirt and debris is removed. The area is thuroughly cleaned. And any previous roofing materials are to be removed in order to create a smooth base for the TPO.
  • Insulation Installation: Next, insulation board are installed to create the thermal barrirer of your roof. This step is essential for the energy efficiency of your building. Then the insulation is applied to your roof, using a variety of fasteners.
  • Membrane Placement: Then we have the application of the TPO membrane itself. The large rolls are unraveled across the property in large sheets. This is all done in a systematic way to ensure their are not wrinkles or bubbles in the material. Their is also a very small amount of overlapping to ensure enough material to weld the TPO together.


  • Seam Welding: So now we move on to using hot-air welders to combine the seams of unraveled TPO. This creates a continuous watertight seal, preventing leaks and moisture penetration. This seamless style also lends itself to the longevity and overall durability of TPO roofing. Seam welding is crucial for quality TPO.
  • Edge and Flashing Installation: After the base of TPO roofing is installed, the metal and roof accesories are added to further protect against uplift and water infiltration. This includes flashings, boots, vents, and more.
  • Final Inspection: And as easy as that, your TPO roof is installed. All that is needed now is a final inspection to be sure all the other roof installation steps are covered. Then we add in a few final touches and your new TPO roof is done.

Advantages of Professional Installation

It is always a good idea to consider professional installation when talking about your roof. It is a specialized trade with its own inherent risks that most should not attempt on their own. TPO roofing is no different. Professional roofers bring the experience and specialized knowledge that is needed to install the roof correctly and safely. This ensure that your roof will not only be applied in a professional way, but also ensures all the benefits of your TPO roof will be yours to enjoy.

In the end, professional installation saves you time and money. No unneeded repairs or disruptions of flow for your business. It is just a fact, professionally installed roofs had a far less chance to encounter issues like leaks and premature wear. The TPO roofing installation process involves meticulous preparation, precise execution, and careful inspection to ensure a high-quality roofing system. Understanding these steps helps home and business owners appreciate the importance of professional installation and the value it brings to their properties.

Common Issues with TPO Roofing

Potential Problems

Even though TPO roofing is known for its durability and protective layering, issues can and do arise over the course of its life. Understanding what kind of problems might occur, can help you to asses and anticipate roof failure, causing the least amount of damage as possible to your home or business. Another reason hiring a professional roofer, like The Roof Repair Guys can keep your roof going stronger for longer.

  • Punctures and Tears: TPO roofing is strong, but its not impervious to damage. In fact, punctures and tears do occur. This is especially prevalent in areas with heavy foot traffic or where shapr objects may come in contact with the roof. These issues lead to failing water protection and may cause moisture issues.
  • Seam Failures: One main aspect of TPO’s durability is its seamless and continuous membrane. Roofers use specialized welding techniques to combine the TPO layers and on occasion these connecting points fail. This can also be due to normal wear and tear or weathering, degrading the seams over time. And once the seal is broken then all manner of nature can find its way into your home or business.
  • UV Degradation: TPO is generally designed to withstand the test of time. However, over the course of many years, even its UV protective layers can degrade. And when they do, this can cause cracking, fading, or brittleness in the membrane, reducing its effectiveness and lifespan.
  • Pooling Water: Another issue that faces TPO owners is the effect of water on flat surfaces. Without proper drainage and directing, water can pool and stagnate on your roof. This is no good for anyone. So one must always be aware on flat or low-slope roofs, that their roofing systems are professionally managed to prevent any pooling or water buildup.
  • Chemical Exposure: As one might expect, exposure to certain kind of chemical and materials will cause the roofing membrane to fail. It is important to understand what your TPO roof can and cannot handle. Buildings such as restaurants or industrial facilities, where such substances are prevalent, need to be particularly cautious as exposure can damage the membrane and reduce its lifespan.

Signs of Damage

Its important to understand and recognize the signs of TPO roofing failure, in order to fully maintain your roof. This prevents minor issues from becoming larger issues down the road. Here are some this to look out for on your TPO roof.

  1. Visible Punctures or Tears: Always be sure to check your membrane for holes, tears and cuts. These can be small issues with the potnential for much bigger ones if not taken care of.
  2. Seam Separation: Another thing to note if you are reviewing your TPO roof for longevity, is the seams. Be sure that the seal between layers is always holding strong and not coming apart. This would definitely lead to water infiltration.
  3.  Discoloration or Fading: If you roof is changing colors or fading, it could be a sign of a bigger issue. This could lead one to the assessment of UV damage and should be handled immediately.
  4. Brittleness or Cracking: On top of fading, one might notice that areas of the roof are becoming brittle or cracking. This is a key indicator of roof failure or that a problem is soon to come.
  5. Water Stains or Leaks: Many of us know that interior leaks and moisture penetration of our home or business often indicates a roof failure. TPO roofing is no different and leaks should be addressed immediately.
  6. Pooling Water: Another thing to note is how long water is pooling on your flat TPO roof. If their are areas where the pooling remains longer than expected, one can anticipate a potential drainage problem.



So, while TPO has a lot of inherent benefits, it is key to maintain vigilance over your roof. That is why people like The Roof Repair Guys offer maintenance programs to help your roof last longer then those ignored. The more preventative maintenance and supervision, the better. Always better to handle issues when they are small rather than waiting until they are large.

How to Repair TPO Roofing

Inspection and Damage Assessment

Experience roofers will know TPO roofing in and out before stepping onto your property or business. They will begin every repair with a thorough inspection that uncovers the issues as well as the solutions to what may arise. These professional roofers, like The Roof Repair Guys, will also share this information with you, so you can be sure your getting the right type of repair for your needs. They may also include in their arsenal some specialized tools for reading moisture levels and potential leak areas. All of these tools and strategies work together so that your roof is repaired accurately, both the visible and invisible damage.

Repair Techniques

Once your roofer finds damage on your TPO, they apply different repair techniques to make sure the issue will be resolved. Here are some common methods used to repair TPO roofing:

  1. Patching Punctures and Tears: Minor punctures and tears can often be repaired with patches, assuming more damage has not been done. That’s why its important to get things checked out early. The patching usually involves cleaning the affected area, cutting a piece of TPO larger than the damage, then using a TPO welder to place a new membrane in the damaged area.
  2. Seam Resealing: If your roofer notices that some of your TPO seams are coming undone then they can reseal them for you. The area is cleared of any dirt and debris then reconnected to create a watertight seal for years to come.
  3. Addressing UV Degradation: UV degradation can cause some damage that’s more extensive than simple patches. The brittle and cracked areas must be removed, cleaned and then a new piece of TPO must be put in its place.
  4. Fixing Pooling Water Issues: Pooling water is the final check for any flat roof, and a key check at that. To repair, the submerged areas may need replacing or patchwork, but then the roofing system itself must be addressed. Without proper drainage the pooling will continue and that’s why its so important to have your installation done right the first time by a professional roofer.

DIY vs. Professional Repairs

We have now checked out the various ways that your TPO roofing might fail. We also expored the ways in which a roofer might go about fixing any of these issues. It may seem like these fixes¬† are easy enough for someone to do themselves. But, in hiring a professional roofer, you ensure the repairs are done right and don’t result in further damage down the road. Not only that, but reputable contractors like The Roof Repair Guys will offer guarantees or warranties to assure you that your repair was done correctly, and that you are protected if it was not. The last thing we would want is for a client to hurt themselves climbing up on their roof and applying a patch that was not thoroughly applied, resulting in more damage anyway.


TPO roofing is a specialized material that makes its way onto a lot of homes and businesses. Its energy efficient, durable and carries with it even more benefits for their owner. But as we can see, it also has its areas of potential failure. Hiring a professional roofer limits these negative potentials. But by understanding what TPO is, how it can fail and just what you can do about it, you are setting yourself and your new TPO roof up for success. So whether you are in the market for a new TPO roof, or just need someone to come inspect and repair a TPO roof, you now know your stuff and wont be blindsided by any estimate. I suggest, if you are in the market for TPO roof repair, then give us The Roof Repair Guys a call and let us protect your home or business now and into the future.