TPOs—commodity or specialty?

TPOs are more complicated than you may think

Editor's note: The following information reflects the author's opinions. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Professional Roofing or NRCA.

The growth in TPO membrane use in the U.S. roofing market has been significant—especially during the past six years to eight years. Although the use of polyethylene-based polyolefin membranes has been widespread in the waterproofing and lining industries throughout the world for many years, TPO membrane usage in the roofing industry is a relatively new phenomenon. According to NRCA's 2001-02 market survey, TPO membranes had an 11.6 percent market share of low-slope roofing sales in 2001.

Despite their rapid growth and acceptance, TPOs continue to be the subject of much discussion and conjecture in the roofing industry. The challenge mainly seems to be defining and characterizing reliable performance characteristics and appropriate uses of TPOs in the U.S. roofing market, especially with regard to material standardization and long-term field performance.

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