What to Do When a TPO Roof Membrane Is on Its Last Leg
Commercial business owners, property managers, and facility supervisors alike share a common duty: keeping your building in top shape. At some point in time, you may find yourself with a roof that has a membrane well beyond its service life.
When this stage comes, figuring out what to do next can be a daunting and time-consuming task. In this blog, we’ll discuss what to do when your TPO roof membrane has seen better days so you can make an educated decision about what comes next.
Understanding Rubber Membranes: How Long Does TPO Roofing Last?
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) is a rubber-based, single-ply membrane most commonly used on commercial and industrial buildings. It’s made up of polymers like polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber that are combined to form a seamless, flexible sheet. Because rubber is naturally hydrophobic, TPO membranes offer superior water resistance—but that’s not all.
Having a single-ply, rubber membrane also helps to increase durability, flexibility, and functionality, delivering unmatched protection from storm damages, wind uplift, and punctures. Even better, they make it easier to cut utility costs, reducing air conditioning costs by reflecting the sun’s rays away from your building.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and every type of roofing material has a limited lifespan. While TPO is known to last anywhere from 25 to 50 years, eventually the time will come when your roof is no longer providing the protection it once did.
So where do you go from there?
“Next Steps” Once TPO Roof Membranes Approach End-of-Life Care
If your current TPO membrane is showing signs of old age, here’s five tips and tricks to figure out what comes next.
Get a professional opinion.
Deciding what to do next is a big responsibility, and it never hurts to get a second opinion. That being said, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Luckily, the best Philly roofing companies offer free inspections. An experienced professional will assess each component of your existing roof system and look for any current or potential issues. With this information, it’s much easier to identify where your TPO roof membrane might be falling short.
Philadelphia is subject to extreme weather fluctuations throughout the year, which means your businesses need to remain vigilant in identifying areas that need attention—before it’s too late. With a free inspection from Seal Roofing, it’s never been easier to keep your roof in great shape.
Invest in maintenance, repairs, or a replacement.
Another option is to make tune-ups and repairs to the existing structure or replace outright with a brand new TPO roof membrane. Identifying what option is right for you, however, changes based on your circumstances.
That’s why a second opinion is so important, as you need to know exactly what’s wrong with your membrane before making any big decisions. As part of the assessment mentioned above, professional roofing contractors look for signs of damage, directing you to the one of the following solutions:
- Minor Maintenance: If your TPO roof membrane has minor damage or small tears, you may be able to get by with just a few repairs like patchwork, sealing gaps, etc. This option is the least expensive of the three and can be done relatively quickly, depending on the extent of the damage. The main selling point of this option is that it will save you money in the long run, as you won’t need to replace your entire roof—at least, not yet.
- Partial Repairs: If your TPO membrane has damage simple patchwork can’t fix, a partial replacement may be the best option for you.This only replaces the damaged sections of your roof instead of the entire thing. The advantages of this option include saving money and not having to do a full tear-off and replacement job.
- Full Replacement: Unfortunately, sometimes your TPO membrane is just too far gone. In these cases, it’s time for a complete replacement. This involves tearing off all existing layers and installing a new membrane over the entire roof. The advantages of this option include a completely new and durable roof as well as improved aesthetic appeal.
Re-cover your existing membrane.
It’s important to note there’s a happy medium between maintenance, repairs, and replacement—re-coating. While your existing TPO membrane is getting older, there’s a good chance it still has a few years of service left. Luckily, you can recoat the existing membrane with a layer elastomeric spray.
This can help restore waterproofing and reflectivity to the membrane’s surface while also providing protection against UV rays and extreme temperatures. However, you should also consider that recoating is only effective for a few years and should be done in conjunction with other maintenance measures to ensure the long-term success of your new TPO installation.
Install new underlayment or insulation
Similar to re-coating, there are two other ways to protect your roof with a new layer of material.
- Installing an underlayment system: An underlayment system is essentially a new layer of material installed beneath your existing roof surface. This will protect it from moisture and other damage, and provide additional protection against water damage and other potential problems.
- Installing an insulation system: Insulation systems, on the other hand, are designed to protect your roof from extreme temperatures by providing additional layers of protection between the roof membrane and the environment. These systems extend the life of your roof by providing greater protection against temperature fluctuations and other environmental conditions.
High-Quality Commercial Roofing Is Only a Click Away
Is your rubber membrane on its last leg? Bounce back with Seal Roofing. Whether you need TPO maintenance, repairs, replacements, or more—rest assured knowing a reliable commercial roofing provider is just a click away.