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What Is TPO Roofing for Commercial Roofs?

At first glance, the roof of a commercial building may seem like a very simple thing. After all, unlike residential roofing, commercial roofing is usually flat, and as opposed to being made of many parts like shingles, it’s made from one layer of some other material. And while it’s true that the basic design may not be complex, there’s a lot of science that goes into the rooftops of commercial buildings.

There are several reasons for this, but primarily, it boils down to two things:

  1. Protection from the elements
  2. Energy efficiency

One common material that can check both boxes is thermoplastic polyolefin, or TPO. In the city of Portland, TPO roofing can be found adorning the tops of thousands of buildings. Read on to find out why it’s so popular.

What Is TPO Roofing?

TPO is a single-ply synthetic material that’s sold commercially in large rolls. While the term “single-ply” usually means it’s made of a single layer of material, it’s actually made from three layers. The first is a synthetic polymer base, essentially a type of plastic. Layered on top of that is an extremely strong reinforced fabric center, strengthened with another synthetic material: polyester. Finally, the top, protective layer serves to hold the whole thing together. It’s this top layer that’s made from the thermoplastic polyolefin that gives this particular roofing material its name.

The word “thermoplastic” implies that the material has something to do with heat, and indeed, that’s the most important feature of TPO roofing. This material can be easily heat-welded to itself, allowing individual sheets to be joined to one another across the whole of a roof with ease. This means that, even with a very large roof, the material can be joined together seamlessly.

What Are Its Benefits?

As we’ve mentioned, the ability of TPO to be heat-welded means that it can be turned into one huge layer across a rooftop of any size. Because of this, it serves as an excellent layer of protection against the elements, with no weak spots where leaks can develop. Even if they do develop, the material can be repaired fairly easily through the same heat-welding properties.

TPO also has a great beneficial effect on the energy efficiency of a building. If you own a commercial building, you know that saving money on energy costs is a must, and TPO can do this effectively by reflecting away a great deal of sunlight that strikes the top of the building. This is the result of both its advanced design and its stark white color, which reflects solar radiation and keeps the cost of air conditioning down, saving money for businesses that opt to use this unique type of material.

Its ability to resist solar radiation makes TPO both energy efficient as well as environmentally friendly. Actually, it’s made entirely of recyclable materials. This means that once this durable roofing material has finally reached the end of its useful life, it can simply be recycled back into new TPO roofing.

Finally, TPO roofing isn’t just resistant to sunlight. It’s created to resist rain, mold, fungus, oil, heat, cold, and even earthquakes. The material’s flexibility means it’s unlikely to give way even if the building itself moves a great deal.

Is TPO Roofing Right for My Building?

TPO, of course, isn’t the only synthetic material that can be used to layer on top of commercial roofs. In Portland, TPO roofing is popular due to the relatively warm summers. Many business owners expect that it will save them a good deal of money over the years. Other climates, however, may benefit more from roofing materials that are designed for cold weather. This includes roofing materials such as EPDM, which is black in order to absorb heat rather than reflect it away.

Business owners should also consider what types of materials are best for their specific building. For example, because TPO is designed to resist a large number of chemicals and other harsh materials, it can be perfect for the roofs of factories and restaurants, which may vent materials that are otherwise damaging to rooftops.

Ultimately, when choosing a roofing material, you’ll have to weigh your needs with regard to energy, durability, and the climate where you are located. Weather has a major effect on the best type of materials for constructing buildings. That’s why it’s a good idea to research the average weather for a given year in your area before making any commitment to specific roofing materials.

Is It Expensive to Install?

TPO roofing is usually fairly inexpensive to install. The cost is usually around the same as other, similar roofing materials. However, business owners should be wary of having their roofing work performed by the lowest bidder. While it’s true that the job shouldn’t be expensive, if a deal seems too good to be true, it most likely is.

A good roofing contractor will be highly trained and certified to do the type of work that they do, as well as properly insured. If they aren’t, then the possibility exists that they may do more harm than good to a commercial rooftop, ultimately costing business owners more money than they save.

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to do some comparison shopping when seeking a contractor to do roofing work on a commercial building. Check references, read reviews, and compare prices to get a good idea of what you can expect to pay for this type of job.

In the Portland area, a company like Interstate Roofing is your best bet. Experienced roofers also offer emergency services, should any problems arise—even at inconvenient times. Contact us with any questions have about your commercial roof.

5 Steps to Take After Storm Damage to Your Roof

Your roof is the first line of defense for your home or business. A sound roof gives peace of mind throughout the seasonal extremes of midsummer heat to the occasional winter storms in Portland, Oregon. A well-maintained roof also adds to your home’s curb appeal and benefits your property value. If your home doesn’t weather a storm as well as you hope, you may have storm damage that needs to be addressed to ensure your home is both safe to occupy and to prevent long-term effects like leaks and mold.

Homeowners in Portland, Oregon, need a knowledgeable, reliable service provider who can deliver high-quality roof repairs, especially in an emergency such as storm damage. Interstate Roofing is a locally owned Portland, Oregon, roofing specialist on-call 24/7 with technicians who are specially trained to find and repair leaks. Knowing what to do immediately after a storm can help you restore your building and peace of mind so you return to normal life as soon as possible. Here are five steps to take after storm damage to your roof.

1. Assess the Damage

When the storm ends and it’s physically safe to venture out of your house or building, take time to look over your roof and check for obvious signs of damage. This might be as subtle as divots left by hail to something more significant, such as missing shingles or a hole left by falling debris. You may also see bent flashing or exposed underlayment.

You’ll also want to take a look inside your house for signs of potential roof damage. Look for wet walls or water spots on the ceiling. All of these are signs of storm damage and need to be addressed immediately to prevent a larger issue from developing, such as water leaks into your house or mold from trapped moisture.

2. Document the Damage

As safely as possible, take pictures or video (or both) of the storm damage to your roof and any other areas of your house affected, both interior and exterior. Documenting the damage as close to the time of the storm as possible will be important for filing an insurance claim. It can be helpful to get different angles and even different distances as well. You really can’t over document, so take a lot of pictures.

You can also make a log of the storm by saving relevant news reports. While you will want to ensure your property is safe after a storm, it’s important to not make major changes or do major clean-up before you document everything. Preserving the damage means the claims adjuster will have the best opportunity to assess the situation with the clearest picture of what happened.

3. Secure the Damaged Area

For major damage that you cannot clean up right away, call your insurance company immediately to start the claims process. Then work with a professional to safely mitigate the damage. Even if the damage is minor, you will need to make sure that you take steps to secure the damage and protect your home from larger issues that might occur when damage is left unrepaired or unseen. This could mean tarping a hole and cleaning up debris from your yard or cleaning up interior damage to your house caused by the storm.

Take extra caution as you secure the damage and call emergency services or your utility company if you come across downed powerlines or other hazards.

4. Check Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

After you’ve assessed the situation and documented the storm damage, take a moment to review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Every policy is different and reviewing it will ensure you understand what is and isn’t covered, on what timeline you need to file your claim, who to contact to start the claims process, how they handle the damage inspection, and how the repair could be handled. Some insurance companies will have established relationships and will schedule everything for you. Others may put more on you the policyholder. Knowing what to expect can be helpful as you navigate the claims process. This is also a good time to verify any warranties that you may have for your roof.

Once you start the claims process, be sure to document your conversations (a simple note on your smartphone could work), photos, receipts you’ve incurred along the way, and dates of everything you file for future reference. Keeping everything organized and in one central location will make your communication with the insurance company and claims adjuster easier to manage. Ask questions along the way and don’t move forward until you ensure you understand everything.

5. Work with Professionals

When you’re ready to make repairs after storm damage, you will want to ensure you work with a professional roofing contractor. Some insurance companies will have an established relationship with a contractor they will direct you to, which can streamline the repair process and timeline. Other insurance companies may allow you to choose a contractor that meets their standards and can do the work within the amount covered by the policy. In this case, if the budget exceeds the policy, you would be responsible for covering the difference.

When you have the freedom to choose, research professional contractors who specialize in roof repairs, have an established history of quality work and are fully licensed and insured. Ask about certifications, inspections, and local building codes. A professional will not only know this information but gladly walk you through the pieces necessary so you can understand what is happening and why. Since 1988 Interstate Roofing has focused on customer service, quality, and safety, growing from a one-man operation to an award-winning full-service company with strong relationships throughout the Portland-Vancouver metro area. Our in-house transportation operations give us the flexibility needed to accommodate emergencies when they happen. We’d love to work with you when storm damage affects your roof. Give us a call anytime.