Why Use TPO Roofing?

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

TPO is a roofing material commonly used on low slope roofs and is known for its excellent water resistance. To better understand the benefits and characteristics of this product, here are some frequently asked questions on TPO roofing.

Is TPO flammable?

Yes, the components that go into a TPO roofing system can be highly flammable. TPO is a single ply roofing system. TPO roof installation involves heating flexible roofing tarps or membrane with adhesives. This is a highly dangerous process that potentially exposes workers to hazardous chemicals.

When installing a TPO roofing system it is important to always consult roofing experts with a high level of labor specification. Oftentimes general contractors will cheap out and go with a roofing provider that is not fully versed to the intricacies of proper TPO roof installation.

Is TPO fire resistant?

While advances in TPO roofing have made this system more fire resistant, if there are concerns about potential fire damages generally slate, fiberglass, or metal are recommended.

The video below shows the combustibility of various roofing materials.

If you notice, TPO is at first fire resistant, but as the fire burns TPO begins to break down faster when compared to the other roofing materials. While this might seem like a clear reason to not go with a TPO installation for commercial and industrial properties that could be at high risk to fire damage, regular TPO roofing inspection and maintenance can actually save some property owners money over time. This is why when looking for a TPO installation it is important to go with a roofing expert that has knowledge of what roofing system is the best fit for your particular needs.

Who makes TPO roofing?

While there are several local manufacturers of the products that make up TPO roofing locally in Los Angeles, the major national manufacturers of TPO roofing systems are:

Why use TPO roofing?

  • Great Value: Excellent performance at a cost-effective price.

  • Excellent Seam Strength: Heat-welded seams provide greater seam strength to taped and other seams.

  • Long-Term Weathering: Excellent long-term heat and UV resistance.

  • Energy-Saving: Highly reflective and emissive white surface helps reduce energy costs and the urban heat island effect.

  • Inherently Flexible: No need for plasticizers.

  • Naturally Fungal Resistant: Doesn’t require biocides.

  • Versatile Application Methods: Including high-performance roofs requiring high wind uplift, increased puncture resistance, or quick economical systems.

When was TPO roofing first used?

Thirty years ago there were no weldable forms of flexible sheets on the roofing market. When roofers went for a job requiring flexi sheet they had to choose from EPDM or flexible PVC, neither of which made for cost effective roof installations. Thermoplastic polyolefin, known for its abbreviated form, TPO allows for a more dynamic roofing system with a drastic reduction in labor costs.

This selling point is what has made TPO roofing one of the most popular commercial roofing solutions in Los Angeles since the 1970s.

What is TPO roofing material?

The materials that make up TPO roofing materials are scientifically known as Thermoplastic polyolefins, but a roofer in Los Angeles would likely just say rubber. Thermoplastics allow for an easier installation process than the less advanced forms of plastic like PVC.

TPO Pros and Cons


  • Cost: TPO generally falls between its two main competitors being more expensive than EPDM and less expensive than PVC. As a lightweight material, TPO is easy and inexpensive to install. It's also easy to clean with a power washer, keeping down the cost of maintenance.

  • Durability: TPO resists punctures and is flexible enough to stretch as the structure settles, as well as withstanding a wide range of thermal expansion and contraction.

  • Efficiency: White TPO and other light colors are reflective enough to reduce cooling costs during hot weather. High-quality products are Energy Star-rated for energy efficiency.

  • Environmental Impact: Adding to its status as a green roofing product, TPO is completely recyclable. Discarded TPO is ground up and incorporated into new composite material.


  • Quality: There is a large variance in quality between products. Less expensive materials can crack, craze, and delaminate, and the seam welds can fail, especially when exposed to severe temperature differences. As a rule of thumb, we suggest opting for better quality, more expensive materials to save you more in the long run.

  • Longevity: As a relatively new product in the market, TPO's longevity is largely untested. Manufacturers are also continually improving the technology to iron out any issues with the material.

  • Leaks: When a TPO roof does leak, the leak can be hard to find and even harder to repair. Repairs that require removal of part of the roof covering can be expensive.

While you consider what type of roof will work best for your property, contact us for a professional inspection and free roofing estimate on any work or repairs that may be required. Call us today at (310) 903-0536 to schedule an inspection and determine the right materials and services for you.

Southland Roofing Inc. is committed to providing premier service at the right price. Serving Los Angeles and Orange County, we pride ourselves on safety, efficiency, and competitive pricing as we revolutionize the roofing industry. Contact us today to find out how we can serve all your roofing needs.