TPO stands for thermoplastic polyolefin and is a plastic material that is a mixture of regular polypropylene and an elastomer (synthetic rubber). TPO roofing is suitable for covering exposed flat roofs and also protected flat roofs covered with sedum, shingle or solar panels. The product is hot air welded and mounted by mechanically fixation. TPO membranes are gaining popularity due to their outstanding robustness, environmentally friendly credentials and solar-reflective properties. The latter contributes to increasing energy-efficiency of buildings. This is especially true in warmer climates, where there is a need to lower building temperatures and to combat the "urban heat island" effect. The result is that TPO membranes are becoming a popular choice.

TPO membranes have been used in Europe for over 20 years. Until recently this has been to a modest extent. The industry is now showing a stronger demand and interest in the product, resulting in TPO being the roofing material experiencing the greatest market growth. This is particularly evident in the Southern regions of Europe where, according to international market research, TPO is expected to account for over 20% of the single-layer roof membrane market within a couple of years.

⬇️ Download TPO Installation Guide and Brochure at the bottom of this article

Research and Innovation

In 2020, Protan took the initiative with the Research Council and applied for support to develop the next generation of TPO membranes. We gained this support, and at the same time we added the research institute NORNER to the team. During the following years we have worked with purpose and structure, across departments and national borders. Protan Turkey, Protan Poland and Protan Spain have all collaborated and been very involved in this project.

The whole Team focus to develop improved TPO recipes that offer better fire resistance, weldability and flexibility has resulted in a successful outcome. The input from the Production department in Turkey has been pivotal including careful and considered raw material selection. This highlighted the importance of early access to innovative materials to achieve success.

"The project's success would not have been possible without an impressive effort from Vedat Karakus and Ivar Bråten and their team in Protan Turkey, who have succeeded in matching desired product recipes with efficient production techniques", emphasises Lars Anisdahl, R&D Director.

Energy-saving and environmentally friendly solutions

Light coloured TPO roof coverings are good at reflecting sunlight and reducing heat absorption. This not only lowers energy use and cooling costs for buildings, but also helps mitigate the "urban heat island" effect. This is a phenomenon where urban areas experience higher temperatures than their rural counterparts due to man-made materials and activities.

By introducing white TPO roofing membrane, the effectiveness of cool roofs is further enhanced. The highly reflective, white surface never exceeds 50 degrees Celsius, compared to around 70 degrees for traditional grey roofing membranes. This innovation of utilising a white membrane has also proven to be ideal for installation under Solar systems. The resulting cooler roof surface temperature increases the Solar system efficiency allowing the Solar panels to operate at up to double the output. There are also positive benefits when installing TPO membrane together with green roof systems.

TPO membranes are attached mechanically, with hot air welding, providing high speed of installation. During the welding process no fumes are generated, which is a appreciated factor during installation.

Advantages of TPO

  • UV resistance: A robust material, very resistant to sunlight.
  • Fire resistance: The material is self-extinguishing and meets fire requirements in Europe in general, and the Nordic region in particular. We have fire class T1 and T2 (according to EN 13501-5).
  • Chemically resistant: Highly resistant to chemicals, pollution and emissions from industry in general.
  • Temperature: Withstands both very high (80°C) and very low temperatures (-30°C).
  • Waterproof and strong welding connections: Scratch-friendly for fitters and without bothersome welding fumes.
  • Durable and flexible: Robust product with strong welded joints. 
  • Environmentally friendly: Easy to dispose of and recycle, emits no chemical substances into water, air or soil.
  • Root resistant: The product meets requirements for root resistance according to the German FLL standard.

BREAKING NEWS: New Fire Classifications Present Opportunities for Cooling and Freezer Warehouses.

Our newly developed Protan FPO/TPO membranes, manufactured in Gebze, has achieved a T2 fire classification on PIR insulation. Coupled with our existing T1 fire classification on PIR, this represents a significant milestone for Protan. We now offer a solution that fully complies with all technical, fire safety, and performance requirements for roofs in cooling and freezer warehouses. The combination of our highly vapour-tight Protan FPO/TPO roofing membrane with PIR insulation presents an ideal solution for these types of structures. This recent development paves the way for promising opportunities for Protan in both the Nordic and European markets.

Furthermore, Protan FPO/TPO also successfully passed the special T1 test required for Germany, also known as the AbP Certificate.

Education and Growth Ambitions

To ensure that the growing demand for TPO roofing is met with expertise, Protan has launched an internal 'roofing school' focused on TPO, with the aim of spreading knowledge and skills to roofers and partners worldwide. This initiative, together with plans to increase production and optimise production techniques, underlines Protan’s strong ambition to lead the flat roof market.

Successful installation of white TPO in Spain

Recently, a customer in Madrid, Spain covered his roof with 17,000 square meters of white TPO.

"The installation was safe and quick, and the roofers thought it was the best TPO they had tried! This bodes extremely well for the future", says Ricardo Ortiz, MD Protan Spain & Portugal

Discover more about TPO membranes and explore the range of products we have available.


Installation guide TPO membranes
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