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Commercial Success: How TPO Roofs Took Over the Industry

Commercial Success: How TPO Roofs Took Over the Industry

TPO roofing is one of the most popular solutions for commercial properties. How did this come about? In today’s post, MASCON INC. talks about the history of TPO roofing and how it became the gold standard for commercial roofing systems.

Commercial Success: How TPO Roofs Took Over the Industry

TPO in the 1970s

During this period, commercial roofing was either made of extremely durable synthetic rubber membrane composed of ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) or flexible PVC. However, EPDM lacked weldability, while PVC contained liquid plasticizers. These liquid plasticizers were intended to make PVC more flexible, but had the unfortunate result of making PVC brittle over time. Enter thermoplastic polyolefins (TPO) membranes, which were engineered to be weldable, flexible, and plasticizer and halogen free.

The first applications of TPO membranes were for geomembranes such as pond liners. TPO was also used in the car industry as exterior surface and wire covers.

TPO in 1986

The first known TPO membrane used as a roofing material was installed in 1986 in Michigan. The material’s implementation as a roofing membrane was the doing of Montell. Eventually, Montell merged with two other companies to become Basell. In 2007, Basell merged with Lyondell. Lyondell-Basell still supplies the majority of TPO roofing membranes to the industry today.

TPO in the Late 1980s to Early 1990s

In the late 1980s, a reinforced TPO membrane called VersiWeld® was promoted by Versico, a division of Goodyear Tire and Rubber. JPS Elastomerics, which later became Stevens Roofing Systems, followed shortly after by launching Hi Tuff EP. The development of TPO as a roof replacement material hit a slight speed bump when concerns about halogenated fire retardants began to surface. This prompted manufacturers to modify their formulations, resulting in the use of magnesium hydroxide as the fire-retardant component. This particular formula is still being used today.

TPO in the Late 1990s

The late 1990s saw more and more companies, such as Firestone and GAF, venture into the TPO roofing market. Versico was acquired by Carlisle Syntec Systems. Serrot International, an independent manufacturer, was later acquired by Firestone. It was during this period that TPO really thrived as a roofing material. To this day, TPO outperforms other single-ply roofing membranes as a commercial roofing material.

Turn to MASCON INC. for all your roofing needs. We also offer roof inspection services. You may contact us at (512) 376-5096. We serve Austin, TX.