People referred to Robert Fulton's first steamship, The Clermont, as
"Fulton's Folly" because they figured it would explode or sink.
It is apparently human nature to dismiss new things as stupid or laughable
without looking closely at their merits or potential merits. The internet was
met with widespread ridicule when it first appeared, and believe it or not so
too was television at its inception.
TPO (single ply) roofing, although not as dramatic as television or the
internet, is an advancement in the roofing industry worthy of mention.
TPO is a type of roofing material that is simply a single layer of plastics,
rubber and fillers combined that makes a durable, reflective roof that will
outlast traditional flat roofs by a factor of three. It is also 100% recyclable
and safe to install. It outclasses hot-tar roofing completely, and thus, a
significant advancement in the housing and building industry.
Apartment owners can re-roof their flat roofs with TPO and for all intents
and purposes, forget about it, as it will out-last most of them. (50 years) It is
also extremely light compared to traditional flat roofs and so can be put right
over the existing roofing with no warranty restrictions minimizing landfill
tonnage, costs, and maximizing insulation value.
Most hot tar roofers I know have hot tar scars in various places, usually
their arms and hands and although comparing scars over a 24 pack of beer is
fun, I’m sure they would all rather be laughing about something else with
clean hands and arms, and no trauma resulting from the burn incident, which
would be the case had they been working with TPO instead. I used to think that burns and roofing simply went together (25 years experience) and that if you were a hot tar roofer you would have been burned at least a few times and if you were lucky, they were not so noticeable. But after working with the single ply I am happy to say that that is not the case and that those burns will no longer occur for any of my workers. This however is not the case for a great many workers still using the hot tar and I’m afraid that hospitals will continue to see hot tar burn victims come through their emergency room doors despite the fact that it is no longer necessary.
Why then would people try to impede the progress of something that is an
obvious advance? Well some people are unacquainted with the single ply and
just trust the old tried-and-true. Others have a more selfish motive, which is
their personal income. Many hot tar roofers, who are trained and veterans in
its application, and have many thousands of dollars invested in equipment,
simply do not wish to make a change and thus bad mouth the single ply
promoting it as folly, yet every hot tar roofer that I have introduced TPO to
has breathed a sigh of relief and thanked the heavens, or should I say the
single ply manufacturers, for this new type of roofing.
I am not a salesman for single ply roofing. I am simply a roofing contractor
with some experience in the field writing this article to shed some light on an
exciting advance that in a very short time, I’m sure, will be over your head!
By Tommy Scherer, tandgroofing.com