One of the premier commercial roof installation methods available

Mechanically-fastened TPO roofing is considered one of the most reliable and secure roofing solutions on the market for low-slope commercial roofs. Single-ply roofing systems generally have four ways they can be installed: they can be fully-adhered with a commercial-grade adhesive, ballasted with stones to hold the roof to the deck, heat-induction (i.e rhinobond), or mechanically fastened to the roof deck, which we’ll discuss here.

At nearly 80% of the market, mechanically-fastened roofs are the most common type of roofing solution. Due to the speed and simplicity of their installation, lower labor costs, and various other benefits, mechanically-fastened roofs are only gaining popularity. Builders also like them because they can be easily inspected by the manufacturer, who can then quickly validate the workmanship by verifying the fastener pattern and their proper installation. This roofing solution has become the preferred choice for everyone involved with roof installation and long-term care.

When installing mechanically attached roofing systems, the first most important consideration is ensuring a good, clean roof substrate, where any loose debris is cleared off the membrane before installation. Then, the TPO membrane roll is laid down and then the screws are driven directly through the insulation boards into the metal deck below. Typically the screws are drilled in at the edge of the membrane roll then covered with the edge of the next sheet as the rolls are successively heat-welded together. A watertight seal is then created by heat-welding the membranes together with a hot-air gun. This seals any gaps and creates a single, flat, waterproof surface. 

There are many benefits to a mechanically fastened TPO roof, which include:

Membrane Attachment to Structural Decking

A mechanically-attached roof system is fastened directly to the structural decking of the building. This means that in order for the roof system to become detached the fasteners would need to pull out of the structural decking itself (which is quite unlikely). In comparison, with a fully adhered system, the TPO roofing membrane is only attached to the insulation, so if the insulation facer were to peel off or become delaminated, the membrane sheet would also be at risk of blowing off. Attaching a TPO roof directly to the structural decking of the building is one of the most cost effective and reliable roofing assemblies available today providing solid protection from strong winds or other damage. 

Other attachment methods are sound, but can become more of a risk over time: Ballasted roofs using river stones and rocks and stones can move and fall down into roof drains, gutters, as well as create a major hassle for a roof technician trying to locate a roof leak in a timely manner. While adhered roof systems are known for  high wind uplift performance their long term success is very much dependent on the quality of the original installation and the weather conditions when installed.  For example, in colder weather it takes longer for TPO rolls to relax and for the TPO bonding adhesive to flash off (dry) so if the roofer was rushing the project then the end result won’t be right.  In conclusion, mechanically-fastened TPO roofs are less expensive, require less steps, and overall are easier to install than other similar single-ply roofing attachment methods.  

Low Installation Cost 

As you may know, labor is typically the largest cost-driver for every roofing project. Keeping labor costs low tends to result in more affordable roofing solutions, and mechanically-fastened TPO roofing falls into this category. The straight-forward approach to installing a TPO roof to the decking of the building negates the need to use torches or other dangerous and messy materials, reducing hazardous risks and saving time on installation and cleaning up. 

Fortunately, minimal installation equipment is needed for the attachment of the mechanical systems. The basic installation consists of:

  • laying down insulation Installing fasteners and insulation plates to secure the insulation to the structural deck Rolling out the TPO roofing membrane
  • Securing the TPO membrane at the ends of the roll (laps) with fasteners and barbed membrane plates
  • Installing other rolls of TPO membrane with a 6” overlap to bury the plates and fasteners 

Finally, seams are heat-welded together using a combination of hand welders and roof welding machines that are efficient and safe to use. 

Fast Commercial Roof Installation

Builders, property managers, and roofers can all appreciate the faster speed at which mechanically-fastened TPO roofs are installed. With lightweight materials and minimal adhesive drying times, roofers are able to get more done with smaller crews, and the work itself is less taxing as well as less likely to cause injury. 

All of the aforementioned aspects result in cheaper labor costs which make mechanically-fastened roofing systems much more appealing. Additionally, once the roofing components are laid in place, the iso boards are fastened with screws & plates, the TPO rolls are fastened at the seams, and then they are heat welded together. With mechanically-fastened TPO roof systems the installation team does not have to wait for TPO bonding adhesive drying. 

Property managers and business managers alike will be delighted to know that daily business operations won’t be disrupted for longer periods of time than necessary – if at all. Less down time means less chance at lost revenue, and having a minimal effect on a business’s daily operations during a roofing project is something we always strive for at Chaffee Industrial Roofing. 

Easy TPO Roof Repair and Inspection

When a manufacturer comes to inspect the newly installed roof, they are checking to make sure the fastening pattern is correct and that everything on the roof has been installed properly and per their specifications. With a mechanically-fastened TPO roof, the inspection is a much faster process than in the case of, say, a ballasted roof, where all the rock pieces need to be moved to see the underlying structure. Quick manufacturer inspections result in a quick seal of approval and a completed roof replacement project.

The same logic applies for roof repairs, that are inevitable over time. Giving a roofing expert a clean canvas to inspect like a mechanically-fastened TPO roof will allow them to search and diagnose damage with ease. This will reduce the time it takes to stop and prevent roof leaks meaning a more secure roof over time. 

From installation to long-term maintenance, mechanically fastened TPO roofs are one of the most straightforward solutions you could choose. They make it easy for everyone to do their job, from roof installers, to property managers, manufacturer inspectors, and repair technicians. If you’re looking for the most trustworthy roofing system that has been sweeping the market for years, it’s hard to do much better than a mechanically-fastened TPO roof.

Ultimately, a professional commercial roofing company should make a professional and experienced recommendation on the best type of roofing for your building.

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