TPO thermoplastic polyolefin


TPO Single Ply Roofing

The TPO thermoplastic polyolefin Single Ply Roof System


TPO is a single-ply roof system, as opposed to a built-up roof system having several layers of roofing materials. TPO and other single-ply systems have one roof membrane.


The system components

These components not installed in every TPO System

  • The deck
  • Air barrier when specified for the system
  • Thermal barrier when specified for the system
  • Vapor retarded when specified for the system
  • Insulation (see "roof insulation'' )
  • Cover board
  • Adhesive or Fasteners (depending on the system)
  • TPO membrane
  • TPO flashing

How will the system be installed

TPO systems include;

  • Fully adhered - glued to the substrate
  • Mechanically fastened - nailed to the substrate
  • Ballasted - loosely laid over the substrate and held in place by rock, pavers or some other ballast material.

The seems, flashing, and edging is heat welded to form a single membrane.

Service life expectancy

Industry experts predict a TPO service life somewhere between 20 and 30 years.

The most common problems

TPO is still a relatively new player in the market, and the industry is learning more about its performance as time goes on. Some of the problems are:

  • Improper installation
  • Loose seams and flashing
  • UV degradation to the scrim allow water intrusion
  • Since this a single-ply system, any puncture is a leak

Henry Staggs
Roof Consultant and Roof Industry Advocate
(480) 265-1613

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