Thermoplastic olefin roofing is made from plastic, rubber, polyester, colorant, flame retardants and ultraviolet absorbers. Proprietary blends of other substances go into the sheets of plastic that unroll across the top of a building. The membrane flexes and expands with the building.
Thermoplastic olefin roofing is made by laminating products together or extruding the material through a machine and then coating the plastic with liquids. Thermoplastic olefin roofing thickness is between 0.04 and 0.1 inches. Sheets roll out in widths between 6 and 12 feet, and they are welded together to make a seamless roof. This welding is key in how thermoplastic olefin roofing works to keep out heat and rain. Hot-air welding seals overlapping sheets of roofing to make the construction waterproof.
The idea behind thermoplastic olefin roofing is to make a thermal barrier between the sun and the building. Solar heat gain is significantly reduced, and the building remains cooler during summer. A cooler facility saves energy due to lower air conditioning costs. The roof also keeps hot air in a building during winter, thereby reducing how much money it takes to heat the facility.
Sheets of thermoplastic olefin roll onto insulation before it is mechanically attached to a steel deck. The insulation and steel deck are several inches thick to provide sturdy support to the materials on top.