TPO roof installation is becoming more popular and is one of the fastest-growing roofing trends in 2023. How does it work, and why is it a good choice for Austin property owners?

The following guide to TPO roofing systems and the installation process explains the pros and cons, the average cost of installation, and what to expect once you have one installed. We have also covered a few other commonly asked questions.

Austin Roofing & Water Damage | WDR are leading Texas experts in TPO roofing and are here to help you find the best solutions for your property.

roof underlayment

An Introduction to TPO Roofing Installation

First things first: what is a TPO roof? TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin- a single-ply rubber-based roofing material designed to reflect heat rather than absorb it. It is primarily designed on a flat roof but can also be applied on a low-slope roof.

TPO roofing systems are excellent for hot climates or any property owner who wants a long-lasting, durable roof that doesn’t require much maintenance.

What Roofing Materials Are Used In A TPO Roof?

Two primary materials are used to create the three layers in the single-ply roofing membrane of TPO roofing.

  • Thermoplastic polyolefin is used at the top and base.
  • Polyester fabric is used in the center, also called the scrim.

The exact makeup of the layers varies between manufacturers, but it is generally a form of synthetic rubber and filler- often fiberglass or talc.

What Are The Benefits Of TPO Roofing?

Durable and Long-Lasting

A TPO roofing system can last for 20 to 30 years thanks to its resistance to UV rays and reflectivity. It also works well in harsh weather conditions, including hail, strong winds, and heavy storms.

The roofing materials used in a TPO roof installation are puncture-resistant and can withstand a little foot traffic when needed.


The versatility of this type of roofing makes it perfect for residential or commercial roofing systems. The range of products and options is excellent, and with a professionally trained roofing contractor on the job, it is fairly easy to install.

Another benefit of TPO roofing’s versatility is when it can be installed. Unlike many roofing systems that can only be installed in good weather, TPO roofs can be installed during winter without issue.


You don’t need to do much to keep your TPO roof in good condition. The care requirements are minimal- not much more than a regular maintenance inspection to ensure things are looking good and the occasional removal of branches and other debris after a storm.

bird's view of gray asphalt roof

Are There Any Downsides To TPO Roofing?

Higher Cost

In most cases, TPO roofing costs a little more than most other roofing materials, such as EPDM roofing or PVC. It is still great value for money, given how long it lasts and how little it takes to maintain its condition.

Must be Installed and Repaired by a Professional Expert

Only a trained roofing contractor with expertise in TPO roof installation should handle the installation process or repairs. Quite a few specialist skills are involved, so it is not a good idea to attempt to deal with it alone.

How Much Does It Cost To Install TPO Roofing?

TPO roofing cost varies significantly and depends on quite a few different factors. The overall cost can range anywhere from $6800 to $21,000.

Average Cost Per Square Foot

The national average cost of TPO roofing installation is just over $7.10 per square foot, based on a roof size of 1,500 square feet. That makes the average cost $10,700, but it can be much more or less depending on the following factors.

The Size of Your Roof

Understandably, larger roofs tend to cost more. The more square footage you need to cover, the more the total price is likely to be.

The cost per square foot is usually higher for smaller roofs when installing TPO roofing.

Your Roof’s Current Condition

If your roof is damaged, old, or worn, you may face higher bills because of the time and effort required to get it to workable.


Roofs that are hard to access require specialized equipment and additional safety measures. Both of these things bring up the overall cost.

Insulation and Roofing Material Used

Different manufacturers make the TPO membrane differently, and the prices reflect that. Some brands charge more because of the combination of synthetic rubber and fillers.

The type of insulation material you choose will also impact the price. EPS (expanded polystyrene) is usually the most expensive, costing between $3.00 and $4.20 per square foot. XPS (extruded polystyrene) and PolyISO (polyisocyanurate) cost a little less- between $1.60 and $2.40.

If you opt for fiberboard insulation, the price is more unpredictable, as the square foot cost can sit anywhere from $2.00 to $15.00.

roof insulation


TPO roof flashing is a very specific product used to seal the roofing materials used during installation. It must be used wherever the roof plane and walls intersect and around plumbing, vents, chimneys, and other features that penetrate the roof.

These cost extra. How many you need (and the type you need) will impact the final cost.

Type of Installation

There are three methods used in TPO roofing installation. The prices are slightly different depending on which one is used on your property, and they also vary based on the thickness of the membrane in use.

Ballasted attachment costs the least, followed by the fastened attachment method. Fully adhered attachment is at the top end of the price range.

Speak to your contractor about the best choice for your property. There is often only one suitable option based on the setup of your roof.

Labor Costs

As well as the materials and equipment, you also need to pay for the labor hours that go into prepping and installing TPO roofing. How much you are charged depends on the scope of the job, the condition of your roof, and how long the work is expected to take.

You can get a free quote online for expected labor costs from Austin Roofing & Water Damage | WDR.

Special Requests and Customizations

The final factor that could impact the cost of installing TPO roofing on your property is the addition of customizations. These may include skylights, vents, or electrical work- anything that increases the number of roof penetrations.

Repairs And Renovations On An Existing Roof

One of the best things about TPO roofing is how long it lasts, but it will still eventually need a little TLC. In most cases, wear and tear over the years (or during an exceptionally heavy storm) causes seams to tear or flashing to fail. This can lead to water leaks.

roofers installing roof

Water leakage is the primary reason for TPO roofing repairs, and the sooner you catch it, the easier it is to get it under control. Regular inspections to check for seams close to failing are even better, as you can stop it before it gets that far.

If you notice water leaking from your TPO roof, call an Austin Roofing and Water Damage professional as soon as possible. The actions that can be taken depend on how far the water saturation level has risen. A survey must be taken to determine how saturated the roof is.

Less than 25% Saturation

A silicone restoration membrane is installed when the roof is less than 25% saturated. This works by removing and replacing the damaged area with the same (or very similar) material. The whole roof is power washed, cleaned, reinforced (particularly along the seams), and coated with silicone.

After this, the existing roof can be expected to last another decade or two, and an updated warranty is usually provided.

Sometimes, despite being under the 25% saturation mark, parts of the roof may be beyond saving. A fix can be made if that is the case, but it is restricted to a certain area. Cover board is installed over the TPO roofing, the flashing is removed, and a spray foam roofing system is installed in that area.

More than 25% Saturation

Unfortunately, if the TPO roof is more than 25% saturated, the only course of action is almost always to remove the whole thing and start again. That is why it is important not to leave it too long between inspections and to act quickly at the first sign of wear.


A TPO roofing system is versatile, durable, and reliable. It may not be the cheapest type of roofing to install overall, but it does provide excellent value for money over the years. As long as you keep up with your maintenance checks, you can expect decades of efficiency from your TPO roof without having to do all that much to it.

It is vital that you work with a roofing contractor with the qualifications, skills, and experience required for TPO roofing installation. The TPO membrane is not your usual roofing material, so it takes some knowledge to get it done perfectly.

At Austin Roofing & Water Damage | WDR, you get the best quality craftsmanship from the most qualified people. Contact us at any time via phone- or request a free estimate by sending in your details online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before installing TPO roofing systems, cover board and insulation are applied underneath. These additional layers make the new roof stronger, warmer, more energy efficient, and more durable.


Underlayment is sometimes needed beneath the insulation- usually to improve the fire resistance rating or create a more solid substrate. Gypsum board (5/8″) is the underlay of choice for most TPO roofs.

There are a few possible methods for installing TPO roofing. Fully adhered and fastened attachments are the most common. The first option is the most effective and durable, but the latter wins on cost-effectiveness.

Similar steps are taken in either case, but a fully adhered TPO roof is completely bonded to the substrate, unlike an attached roofing system, which is only bonded at the seams.

Fully adhered is the superior method, other than cost and some temperature limitations on installation.

Here is a brief walkthrough of the general stages of the TPO roofing installation process.

  • The roof is cleaned, dried, and prepped.
  • Insulation is applied across the entire roof.
  • In strips, the TPO roofing material is rolled out along the insulated roof, square to the corners, and each sheet overlaps roughly a foot. Fasteners and screws are applied as it goes.
  • All seams are finished with a heat welding tool, which creates a watertight seal on all edges. The same applies to other edges or breaks for chimneys or roof features.

This is a very rough guide, but it gives you an overview of how it works.


Walking on TPO roofing is fine when maintenance is required or when it is necessary, but it is not designed for regular heavy foot traffic. Avoid walking on your TPO roof whenever possible