Everything You Need to Know Before Installing a TPO Roof

Jun 2, 2023


Moises V.




June 2, 2023


October 13, 2023

Got Questions?

TPO roofs come packing a long list of pros and cons and a characteristically white surface. While they’re most commonly used in commercial properties, it’s not uncommon to see them atop houses. If you’re considering installing a TPO roof for your property, this guide is for you!

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about this roof type, including its manufacturing materials, pros, cons, and price. If you want to get a more accurate price quote and measurements for your Minnesota home, get in contact with Viking Contractors, LLC today!

What Is TPO Roofing?

TPO roofing stands for and is made from thermoplastic polyolefin, which is a unique blend of rubber and polypropylene to enhance the roof’s impact resistance and durability. It’s a single-ply membrane manufactured in sheets for ease of installation.

The reason TPO is a perfect fit for commercial properties is that it comes at relatively low prices but doesn’t offer much in the aesthetics department. You should only consider it for your house if you prioritize affordability and practicality over looks.

Worker welding pvc membrane by heater with welder machine

The advantage of this roof is that it comes in a bright white color, which reflects heat instead of absorbing it. This feature makes for a mild cooling effect much needed in the summer days and also reduces your electric bill by a considerable margin.

How Long Do TPO Roofs Last?

The average lifespan of a TPO roof is 25 years, which is ideal for both commercial and residential properties. That said, the number can easily go down if the roof isn’t installed or maintained well. The weather conditions where you live can also shorten its lifespan if they’re harsh enough.

Think of 25 years as its maximum life expectancy. It doesn’t necessarily need to reach it, but it’s guaranteed to stay at least 15-20 years without needing replacement.

How Much Do TPO Roofs Cost?

Compared to natural roofs like clay and slate, TPO roofs are much more affordable. Although they mostly come in sheets, their price is calculated per square foot, like all the other roofing types.

The average cost of a TPO roof per square foot ranges from $4 to $17, which rounds up to about $7,000-$14,000 as a total cost. Of course, the number might differ slightly according to the size of your roof, the city where you live, and the sheet thickness.

The Pros of Installing TPO Roofing

Worker welding pvc membrane by heater with welder machine

Now that you have a general idea about TPO roofs and what they’re made of, we’ll give you a deeper glimpse into the advantages they carry:

Durability and Resistance

TPO roofs are resistant to wear and tear signs, mold build-up, and punctures, making them a highly durable option. 

They’re also less susceptible to leaks than other roof types because their seams are welded with hot air. This installation method gives the seams record strength, unlike gluing and tape systems, which are far weaker than welding.

Another feature that contributes to TPO roofing’s durability is the flexibility of the manufacturing material. It makes the roof better suited for withstanding expansion and contraction without causing leaks or any other roofing issues.


Considering its affordable price and long lifespan, TPO roofing is definitely a cost-effective choice for your property. It’s also cheaper to install and maintain, which means less money spent in the long run on your property.

Ease of Installation

Installing a new roof in a commercial property is always a hassle because you have to give your employees time off and pause work for a few days, which will cost you money.

Luckily, TPO roofing saves the day with its easy installation method that doesn’t take a long time. It comes in large, lightweight sheets that need minimum preparation and effort before installation. This factor also means more affordable labor costs for you, which is a win-win!

Energy Efficiency

TPO roofs sport a white, heat-reflective surface that doesn’t absorb as much sunlight as other roofing types. This feature makes the roof more resistant to heat damage and makes rooms feel cooler during the day. This effect might compel you to turn the AC off for a few hours in the morning, which means better energy efficiency and lower electricity bills.

Environmentally Friendly

If you’re an environmentalist, you’ll be glad to know that TPO roofing is an entirely green option. Although it’s synthetic, it’s 100% recyclable, which means you can use an old roof to manufacture a brand-new one. Also, the manufacturing process of TBO sheets doesn’t involve the use of chlorine, which is a potent environmental pollutant.

The Drawbacks of Installing TPO Roofing

Ponding water on the settled flat roof. Turbine vent on the flat roof of an industrial building.

TPO roofs don’t come with pros only. They also have their fair share of drawbacks that you should be aware of before installing, which include:


TPO roofs have many favorable roofing qualities, but they look more basic than many people would like. While that’s not normally an issue in commercial properties because aesthetics aren’t a priority, it poses a bit of a problem in residential homes. When installing a roof for your house, you want it to complement the exterior, which TPO roofs won’t provide.

Foot Traffic

TPO roofs can take light foot traffic well, but they don’t perform as nicely under heavy traffic. If you have an industrial or commercial property where employees have to get up on the roof, it might not be the best option for you. Regular heavy stomping might cause punctures over time.

While you can add an extra protective layer on top, it’ll cost you more money, which isn’t an ideal scenario for many people.

If you install a TPO roof, you should ideally walk on it in cases of emergency and repairs only.


TPO roofs are relatively new in the renovation industry, which means they haven’t been tried by that many people. Suppose you want to get feedback about how long they can stay without replacement or how well they stand the test of time; you might not find enough references to ask. That might make the choice not as credible as you’d like.

Why You Need to Consider Installing TPO Roofing

Aside from all the pros we mentioned above, there’s a specific situation where you need to consider installing TPO roofing, and that’s having a low slope or flat roof. These roofs have low to no steepness, which makes them more susceptible to water damage than other types.

A low slope means that water won’t slide off the roof as easily as on a high slope, which means it’ll stay atop your property for a long time. In the long run, the sitting water might cause drastic damage, especially if your roof material is metal or wood.

Luckily, that’s not the case with TPO roofing. Since it’s waterproof, it can stand ponding water longer than other materials. That said, it’s still prone to water leaks and damage if it’s poorly installed, punctured, or has insufficient drainage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are TPO Roofs Slippery?

No, TPO roofs have a slight texture to them that makes them non-slippery and suitable for walking. Nonetheless, they’re not designed for heavy foot traffic and should only be tread on for repairs or emergencies.

How Can I Clean My TPO Roof?

Ideally, you should clean your TPO roof with a 2,000 PSI pressure washer, a non-abrasive cleaning detergent, and a soft-bristled broom. 

First, rinse the entire roof with the pressure washer. Then, use the broom and the detergent to clean each dirty section on its own. Rinse off the detergent with the washer again, and repeat these steps as needed.

Can I Install a TPO Roof on My Own?

It’s possible, but we don’t recommend doing so. Installing a new roof is tricky, especially if you’re a first-timer. Any tiny mistake can lead to future problems like leakages, water damage, and tears. Ideally, you should hire expert roofers, especially if you own a commercial property and are low on time.

To Wrap Up

TPO roofing is a white reflective surface made from thermoplastic polyolefin. It’s a cost-effective and practical choice for commercial properties, thanks to its affordable price, ease of installation, and durability. 

That said, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing type of roof out there, so proceed with caution if you’re installing it atop your house!

If you want to install or learn more information about TPO roofs for your Minnesota property, call Viking Contractors, LLC today!

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