Choosing roofing materials can be tough. For residential buildings, shingles are so common that they are easy to justify, but for many commercial buildings, they don’t suffice. That means that commercial building owners have to explore many more roofing options, and they need to truly understand the differences in their choices in order to do what is best for the building.
That’s a tall order, but it becomes easier when the knowledge is broken into digestible chunks. With that in mind, we want to take you through two of the most popular roofing materials typically used in commercial construction. Those materials are TPO and modified bitumen. We’ll show you the strengths and weaknesses of each so that you’ll know enough to decide which is right for your roof.
TPO is an acronym for thermoplastic polyolefin. It’s been around since the ‘90s, and it has recently skyrocketed in popularity. In fact, it is the most used commercial roofing material in the country right now. It got to that point by providing powerful advantages as a roofing material.
TPO is a single-ply surface. That means it takes much less time and effort to install it on top of a roof. Despite that, it is still incredibly strong and resilient. It is particularly resistant to corrosion, making it safe for roofing that might be exposed to chemical or oil spills.
It is as waterproof as you would demand from any roofing material, but it is particularly resistant to UV degradation. It is also made without plasticizers, meaning it is very recyclable. But, before you need to recycle a TPO roof, you can simply refresh it. It is weldable and reheatable, so you can reinforce layers after years of wear and tear.
On top of all of that, TPO is available in a large number of colors, and it can be applied to existing roofing materials. This last point is part of what makes it so popular. When older roofing needs replacement, many roofers recommend a TPO layer over the top. This saves on installation costs because it skips the demolition phase. As long as the existing roof is sound enough to hold weight, it can be covered with TPO. In most cases, this constitutes an upgrade from the previous material.
Modified Bitumen Roofing
Modified bitumen roofing is a classic material for commercial construction. It was pioneered in the ‘70s and represented a major upgrade from traditional asphalt roofs. The term “modified” applies to extra layers that are added to traditional asphalt. Those layers are designed to make the material tougher and more flexible, which makes it a better choice for the large, flat roofs common in commercial roofing.
Modified bitumen became widely used largely because it is so affordable. Costing almost as little as traditional shingles, it offers good protection from the elements, UV, and all of the things that threaten the roof.
Despite this, modified bitumen has fallen off in popularity in the last decade or so. It has lost favor so much that many contractors don’t even offer services to install it, and that is because newer materials are superior in important ways.
One of the biggest issues with modified bitumen is that the asphalt layer makes it difficult to see leaks and early signs of damage. Ultimately, that camouflage raises the maintenance cost of the material because problems frequently escalate past the point of cheap repair.
Just as challenging is the fact that the asphalt roofing material is nowhere near as tough or resilient as TPO. When it comes to long-term costs, modified bitumen is pretty much always more expensive than TPO. Unless you are on an extremely restricted budget and need the cheaper roofing material right now, TPO is a superior choice.
When it comes to which is the better material, TPO wins on most points. Despite that, modified bitumen is still around, and there are still roofers who are happy to work with it. If you already have modified bitumen, maintaining it and repairing it when necessary is still more cost effective than replacing it prematurely. When it is time to replace, it’s always best to have a roofer who can do it all.
That’s why, if you need roofing work in Dallas, you should contact Bert Roofing Inc. We work with TPO, modified bitumen, and all of the other mainstream roofing materials. We can do repair work as needed, handle maintenance, and make expert recommendations. When it’s time for installation, we’ll take care of that as well, and you get the Bert Roofing guarantee. Whatever your roof needs, it’s best to let Bert Roofing handle the job.