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How To Weld Tpo Roofing

What Is Tpo Roofing Made Of

Basic TPO Hand Welding Techniques | Roofing it Right with Dave & Wally by GAF

TPO roofing is a single-ply roof system, which means only one sheet of TPO is installed. This TPO membrane is comprised of three bonded layers, which are as follows:

  • Thermoplastic polyolefin base layer
  • Polyester-reinforced fabric center, aka scrim
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin top layer

Each thermoplastic polyolefin layer is made of ethylene-propylene rubber and manufactured with fillers such as talc, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. These fillers add to the TPOs strength and flexibility.

The center layer of reinforced polyester lends the TPO membrane even more flexibility, and the ability to be rolled out easily onto the roof.

Unlike other roofing options like PVC, TPO roofing does not contain environmentally-harmful chemicals such as chlorine.

Do You Have A Lot Of Units On The Roof

A typical roof will have HVAC units and other outlets sticking up across the surface. Like the membrane seams on the roof, the seals around the units can be problem areas.

Heat welding of PVC and TPO works perfectly around these roof units. The technicians will seal the membrane seams, stopping moisture from dripping through around the base.

Make your roof as strong as possible with heat-welded PVC and TPO membrane seams.

The Definitions Of Epdm And Tpo Roofing Systems

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, also known as EPDM in short, is the proper term for the rubber membrane. On the other hand, the production of US RV cars since the early 1990s has also included a new type of roof material: Thermoplastic Polyolefin or TPO.

EPDM is a synthetic rubber that is particularly intended for roofing. It will dry to a semi-solid finish when applied as a liquid, providing a flexible waterproof seal. EPDM panels are dried and sealed, resulting in a less flexible but more durable finish.

Alternatively, TPO is a reasonably inexpensive laminated membrane. It can be reinforced with fibers for extra strength, although this might result in increased stiffness, making installation more challenging. Heat welding or just gluing and sealing details and seams are both options.

Read Also: How Much For A Patio Roof

Epdm Vs Tpo Rv Roof: Strengths And Weaknesses

Based on the previous comparison, it is easy to recognize that TPO and EPDM roofing systems have unique advantages and disadvantages. To provide the most general point of view on these two types of roofs, in this part of the discussion, I will compile each materials pros and cons in different categories. Therefore, stay tuned!

How Does The Induction Welding Process Work

How to weld TPO roofing membrane

TPO and PVC roof systems are called Thermoplastic as the seams of the membrane and flashings can be fused together through a process called hot air welding. Special hot air welders are first used to secure the seams of a TPO or PVC roof system. Next, it is time to secure the roof membrane to the plates. The underside of the roof membrane is then welded to the plates with an induction tool. Most induction welding equipment has a plate finding tool so that the plates can be located beneath the membrane. After the welding is complete, magnetic cooling clamps are placed over the plates to ensure the bottom surface of the membrane is bonded to the coated plates and so the heat from the plate does not burn the roof membrane.

Read Also: Can You Put 2 Layers Of Shingles On A Roof

Repair Options If Your Tpo Roof Has Less Than 25% Saturation

After the infrared survey is complete, its determined that the roof doesnt have much saturation. If your roof is under 25% saturated, then what can be performed is a silicone restoration membrane system.

What will happen during a silicone restoration membrane installation is:

  • The saturated areas will be removed and replaced with similar material
  • The entire field of the roof will be power washed and cleaned
  • The seams of the TPO roof will be strengthened and reinforced
  • Then silicone coating will be applied to the entire field of the roof
  • Then a new 10-20-year warranty will be granted

Heres a video showing a silicone restoration membrane installation from start to finish:

Another scenario that happens is that although theres less than 25% saturation, the seams are in too bad of condition to restore with a silicone restoration system.

In this case, if theres only one roofing system in place, is to install a cover board over the TPO roof, cut the flashings off, and then install a spray foam roofing system. This will save you money from completely tearing off the existing roof and installing a new TPO system.

If you already have two roofing layers and the seams are in too bad of a condition to restore, youll need to remove all the TPO and install new TPO, or a new roofing system.

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    Installation Guideline Tips For Tpo

    How to Weld TPO Outside Corners

    Thermoplastic polyolefin is the fastest-growing segment of the commercial roofing industry. These membranes are used for mechanically attached, adhered, and induction welded roofing systems.

    Manufacturers continue to work on improving the formulations of their products for the best possible performance in our industry. Still, the essential component of TPOs long-term performance is proper TPO installation techniques by Roofing Contractors. Hot-air welding of the seams was identified by manufacturers as the practice where most significant mistakes were being made by contractors that can lead to substantial problems as severe as roof failures years down the line.

    Below are some guidelines and tips from manufacturers, contractors, and my observations over the years to assure a successful and long performing installation.

    Power Needs

    Using adequately sized and maintained generators with a minimum of 10k watt output is essential for the performance of your automated welder. No other equipment, such as screw guns, hand welders, etc., should use that generator for a power source. Your extension cord should be a 12-gauge minimum to meet the requirements of the welder.

    Test Welds

    Welder Drag

    Seam Probing

    Hand Welding

    All hand welds should be done in two passes.

    • The first pass creates the air dam and preheats the membrane
    • On the second pass, both the welder and roller are to be perpendicular to each other on a 45-degree angle as it passes along the seam.

    Membrane Age and Cleaning

    Read Also: How To Remove Green Mold From Roof

    Is Tpo The Right Choice For You

    If youre in the market for a new roof or a roof replacement, you may simply leave the decision up to your Bowie contractor when it comes to which materials to use. However, it can never hurt to educate yourself about the pros and cons of different roofing materials, and how they will benefit or negatively impact your home and future.

    TPO roofing is a smart choice for flat and low-sloped roofs, residentially and commercially. While TPO is a relatively new product compared to some other roofing materials, it has gained a solid foothold and proven itself to be reliable in the industry.

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    Tpo Is Not Cheaper Than Pvc

    What are the Best Attachment Options for PVC and TPO ...

    If you examine the cost of TPO material, which without insulation, is about $1.66 per square foot it is not really cheaper than a PVC roof , which its supposed to replace as the less expensive alternative.

    NOTE: the section below will get very technical, because materials must conform to the installation instructions set forth by each manufacturer, and accessories should be used accordingly.

    Lets compare GenFlex TPO to the cost of IB PVC roof both 60 mil mechanically attached assembly. We quoted a 1575 sq.ft. roof using materials at the local Harvey Building Products, and got the following cost, after a 10% discount off list price.

    We compare this to IBs contractor price list from Feb 2017. Since the roof in question is 1575 s.f. we will need 2 rolls of 10×100 of TPO and 3 full rolls of IB and 2 half rolls of IB . Half rolls are used for perimeter sheet.

    GenFlex installation instructions are unclear about the use of perimeter sheet. However, one 10×100 roll can be cut into 3.3×100 rolls and used around perimeter.

    NOTE: In 2006, GenFlex was acquired by Firestone BP. This means that GenFlex TPO roomembrane is the same as Firestone TPO, since its made in same factories. However, Firestone TPO is more expensive .

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    Benefits Of Tpo Roofing


    One of the factors that makes TPO roofing attractive both in residential and commercial construction is its reasonable cost. TPO offers many of the same benefits as PVC roofing, such as hot-air weldable seams and energy efficiency, but at a lower cost.

    Fits different home styles

    Many homeowners appreciate the fact that TPO is manufactured to look great on many different types of homes. TPO is available in white, light grey and black reflective color options. Now you do not need to get a white roof to enjoy the energy saving and reflective properties. Latest technologies enable all colors of TPO roofing membranes to be UV resistant and cool.


    In comparison to other thermoplastic membranes, TPO resists mold growth, dirt accumulation, tears impact and punctures. It is made to be flexible and can allow for a homes or buildings movement or settling. Reinforced TPO membranes can handle a buildings thermal expansion and contraction more effectively than other single ply roofing products.

    Ease of installation

    In general TPO membranes are manufactured with wider sheets and are light weight. This means that the material is easier to install and there is less seams. Less work and time associated with the installation translates into direct savings for you for the cost of installation.

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    Energy Efficient

    Disadvantages Of TPO

    Questionable longevity

    Does not stand up well to heat load

    Tpo Vs Epdm Rv Roof: Which Is The Best Rv Roof Material

    The roof is one of the most important parts of any car, especially RVs. Moreover, having nice RV roofs is crucial as none of us wants to stay in a mobile home whose roof has multiple seams or absorbs a lot of heat.

    Therefore, although the majority of RV roof selections are safe, its still vital to know what youre buying before placing an order. Given that there are numerous options on the market, it is not easy to decide on the right RV roof for your motorhome. Still, most purchasers prefer low-cost and convenient roofing membranes like TPO or EPDM RV roofs.

    Since both TPO and EPDM RV roofs are very popular on the market, many people may mistake the former for the latter. Hence, its worthwhile to compare two types of roof and in this article, I will provide a detailed TPO vs EPDM RV roof comparison based on aspects such as:

    • Cost and Longevity
    • Durability
    • Installation and Maintenance

    These differences will give you a brief overview of each roofing system and help you purchase the most appropriate roof for your RV experience.

    Furthermore, there are other strengths and weaknesses from the two types of roofs compiled in this article for you to decide which one suits you and your familys needs better. Therefore, stay tuned!


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    Installation Tips And Guidelines For Roofers From Tpo Manufacturers

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    If you are roofing contractor already installing TPO membranes or considering starting to work with TPO there are some important installation intricacies that you need to be aware of to get your job done well. TPO roofing membranes are becoming increasingly popular both in residential and commercial single ply roofing markets across the US, offering an economical price as compared to its rival PVC roofing membranes.

    TPO roofing membrane offers many benefits similar to PVC roofing, in the last couple of years, the membranes have been noted to age and deteriorate prematurely under conditions of high solar and heat loading. This issue has been particularly prominent in the Southern states, that get both a lot of sun and heat year round.

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    While manufacturers are working on improving the membranes formulation to address this issue and revised ASTM standards for TPO are also in the works, manufacturers also believe that proper installation is key for a TPO membranes longevity and durability under these extreme conditions. During MRCAs 61st Annual Conference, held in October 2010, a panel of representatives from various TPO manufacturers discussed TPOs Long-term performance and offered important guidelines to roofing contractors on proper TPO installation techniques.

    Recommended TPO reading:

    How About The Tighter Roof Areas

    Learning to Heat Weld TPO Membrane with Dan from Versico

    While the robotic welder is ideal for the larger roof areas, it may not be suitable for smaller roof areas.

    Our experienced technicians know how to work their way around this problem. They use hand-held heat guns to weld the seams into place and rubber rollers to apply the pressure. If the automatic system cannot get to the flashings, the roofing mechanics will take over that work too.

    Knowing the correct temperature, the pressure to apply, and the speed to work at, are skills only experienced technicians have to offer.

    Also Check: Does American Home Shield Cover Roofs

    Tpo Vs Epdm Rv: Which Is Better

    Actually, there is no precise answer to this question. Which material you choose is primarily determined by your familys condition, what kind of experience you want to have with the RV and how much money you are willing to spend.

    If you are looking for a roof that can reflect UV rays and be cool in the summer with colorful options, having a TPO roof is your best choice. On the other hand, an EPDM roof will be an amazing choice for families who are aiming toward a warm RV with impressive longevity.

    Whatever you choose, we wish for you to enjoy many years of wonderful trips with your RV.


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