Flat roofs

Flat Roofs - what's the difference ?

The Difference And Benefits of a TPO Vs Bitumen Modified Roof

When it comes to commercial flat roof applications, TPO roofing in Chicago offers many benefits over other options. While house roofs default to asphalt shingles in most cases, the vast areas covering shops, office buildings, warehouses, and other businesses need something different. For many property owners, the choice comes down to thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and modified bitumen.


While both of these materials have positive qualities, the best flat roofing company in the Chicago area recommends TPO for a variety of reasons. Although its primary application focuses on larger commercial decks, it is also a porch friendly roofing material for smaller residential buildings.


TPO vs. Bitumen Modified – Top Roofing Options Explained


Before diving into the advantages of TPO roofing in Chicago, it helps to understand basic facts about each material.


TPO comes in single-ply rolls of roofing material that are spread over the surface and a fixed using professional techniques and materials. It first came on the market in the 1980s, but the type used today was perfected in the 1990s and has grown more popular since then.[i] This substance offers improved performance, easy and secure welding for seams, and flexibility even at low temperatures, which is most helpful in Chicago’s climate.


Modified bitumen was introduced in the 1960s. It is also a single-ply surface, but it has more ingredients than TPO. It uses old-fashioned asphalt with various polymers and a backing option like polyester or fiberglass. While it does protect commercial buildings from the weather, UV rays, and time, there are some drawbacks that make other options a better choice.


Physical Benefits of TPO Roofing in Chicago


When it comes to covering a large, flat, or low-slope roof deck of any kind, the most important factors to consider choosing roofing material are strength and durability. Today’s TPO roll roofing offers toughness and puncture resistance beyond what you can find with bitumen and other options. 


One of the supposed benefits of modified bitumen actually becomes a problem you do not find with TPO roofs. Bitumen has a rough, granular surface, which helps the material resist UV damage from the sun’s rays. However, it also camouflages a host of problems like cracks or worn sections of roofing. If you cannot properly identify spots on the roof where water could leak through, you risk mold growth, structural damage, and much more expensive repairs. The smooth surface of TPO makes regular inspections simple.


TPO is virtually seamless. In fact, the installation process involves welding the seams together instead of using adhesive or hardware. This not only creates a stronger and more impervious join, but it also makes the entire roof easier to clean and maintain. Many consider it to have the perfect combination of flexibility and durability that commercial applications need.


The improved durability matters a lot when it comes to protecting the property and overall cost. You can also find 30-year warrantees with TPO as opposed to the standard 10-year ones frequently offered for modified bitumen. Not only to get a better product, but you also get the peace of mind of knowing that if anything goes wrong, it will be simpler, quicker, and more affordable to fix.


TPO Offers Easier and More Affordable Application


While it is necessary to hire an experienced and highly skilled commercial flat roofing company in the Chicago, IL area, TPO is one of the easier types of materials to install. The rolls and necessary extras are less expensive than other options. Due to the physical structure of TPO roll roofs, you do not need other materials like adhesive or add-ons that can drive the cost higher. Also, bitumen roofs require add on drainage systems in order to deal with rain, snow, and the potential for standing water.


Installation also goes quickly with the right team. This not only saves you money for the initial job, but it also makes future projects more affordable. Over the lifetime of the building, this saves the property owner a considerable amount of money. The process is straightforward and should not interrupt business operations in most cases. Of course, it is important to speak with the experts who are working with your specific project.


Increase Energy Efficiency With a TPO Roof


Property and business owners in the Chicago area and across the country care more these days about sustainable operations and building practices. Using more energy efficient and eco-friendlier options does not only give you a sense of responsibility, but it can also become a unique marketing focus if you want to attract certain target audiences. Of course, a large draw of efficient roofing comes down to cost in the end. If the TPO roofing in Chicago is able to help with insulation and temperature transference, you will have lower utility bills.


Ask your local flat roofing company about how TPO roofs measure up on a sustainability scale. While these rolls are obviously made from man-made materials, they do not use plasticizers during the manufacturing process.[ii] Also, it is possible to recycle the entire roof when it comes time to replace the surface. As commercial buildings can have massive roof decks, this represents considerable savings from the landfills. The fact that these types of roofs last longer helps too.


When the time comes to make decisions about what type of roof deck material to choose for a commercial or industrial application, TPO represents a smart choice. As long as you contract with the best flat roofing company in Chicago, you will get an exceptional product installed correctly. Not only does this single-ply roll roofing give you a virtually seamless, incredibly durable, and UV-resistant roof, it also gives you peace of mind that you are doing your part to save energy and support the environment. When comparing TPO with modified bitumen, the smart choice is clear.







[i] https://www.buildings.com/articles/35297/thermoplastic-polyolefin-tpo-roofing-systems

[ii] https://www.roofersguild.com/modified-bitumen-vs-tpo/