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4 Most Common Causes of TPO Leaks

4 Most Common Causes of TPO Leaks

What are the 4 most common causes of TPO Leaks? As an owner, you find out that your building is having roof leaks & the first thing you want to do is find out what is causing it.

We wanted to create a blog/video to help you understand what we see as a roofer. A TPO roof can be repairable and lasts you for more years to come. 

NOTE: The solutions that are recommended are going to need a professional roofer trained in installing/repairing TPO material. When it comes to TPO roofs it is NOT A DIY PROJECT.

Table of Contents

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1. Penetrations/Damaged Material

One of the most common TPO roof leak causes is penetration to the membrane. TPO is a membrane and can be easily penetrated with any sharp object such as a nail or knife. 

When it rains, the water will travel inside through the hole and run underneath the membrane until it finds a way through the building inside.

Damaged Flashing


Penetration in the TPO membrane is usually the easiest to repair. They are repaired with TPO patches. The breakdown of the process is this:

  1. We clean and prep the area
  2. Find the penetrations
  3. Weld a TPO patch over the penetration

2. Ponding Water

Flat roofs are meant to have ponding water for up to 48 hours. If the water is staying there for more than 48 hours it usually means it is a draining issue. Once the water is staying for too long it will eventually degrade the TPO material and add a significant amount of weight to a roof which can cause structural damage. 

If you have ponding water over penetrations then the water will slowly damage the decking & insulation below leading to a more expensive repair or even a full replacement.


The best way to prevent pooling is to ensure proper installation & immediate inspections once you find a possible roof leak. Flat roofing should not be completely level, we install necessary slops to direct water towards the drainage. 

3. Incorrect Installation

Roofing materials must be properly installed to prevent leaks. Any type of roofing requires proper training, but with TPO there is extensive knowledge of installation & roof repair understanding that only an experienced professional would know. TPO is a newer roofing material that calls for specialized expertise during installation. 

There have been many times we come out to inspect a building where the roofer did not install the material according to guidelines. Yes, maybe the owner saved some money at first but now they are dealing with leaks & have to call another roofing company to fix the issues.

Incorrect Installation of Parapet walls

Due to adhesive of parapet wall & not mechanically fastened

Incorrect Installation of Flashing

No termination bar was installed & instead just sealed with caulking

Incorrect Installation of Flashing


Correct Installation of Flashing

Installation issues can vary from being a small repair to a big repair. For issues like these, you will need to hire a skilled professional to inspect the roof to determine if a repair or replacement is needed.

If you are wondering how much does a TPO Roof costs click here to find out more!

4. Degraded Material

Every roof wears down over time, even with regular maintenance and repairs. The average lifespan of a TPO roof is 20-30 years. Once you hit the 20-year mark, the material will start to degrade.

In the photo below the TPO roofing material is old & has started to crack.


There is a chance that all it needs is a simple repair to make your roof last several more years with no issues. Once the whole roof is having multiple leaks and the material is old then it is time to consider a replacement to save you more money in the long run. 

Eric Hernandez

Eric Hernandez

Committed to helping everyone understand more about roofing!

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