UltraPly™ TPO Withstood the Test of Time in Las Vegas
Nearly 40 million tourists visit Las Vegas annually, but it’s unlikely very many went to see a nondescript warehouse about a quarter mile (0.4 km) from the casinos and hotels. And if they did, they wouldn’t find any bronze plaques to indicate the importance of what happened there in 1996.
No – it’s not Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon. But to the commercial roofing industry, the 8,184 square foot warehouse has great historical significance. It is the site of the first installation of Firestone Building Products UltraPly™ TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin), a polypropylene ethylene plastic composite rubber roofing membrane.
In 1996 TPO roofing membranes were newly introduced to the market and basically unproven. It was common for manufacturers to conduct formulation trial and error in order to find the perfect mix of “ingredients”. But after formulation, what was needed was a true, real world test.
“Las Vegas is the perfect place to test because of the unique climatic variation,” said Firestone’s director of research and development, Jeff Henegar. “115 degrees °F (46.1 °C) during the day and 40 degrees °F (4.4 °C) at night. Plus the UV rays are some of the highest of any climate.”
Frank Reed, owner of Roberts Roofing and Floor, Inc. was willing to take a chance on TPO. He provided the warehouse test site (which he owned) and his crew did the installation.
“We weren’t that familiar with TPO systems, however, I thought that the old built up roof was something that needed to be improved,” said Reed. “Firestone said that whatever happened to the test roof, they would back it 100 percent, and I believed them.”
Great Chemistry = Great Results
High-quality TPO starts with great chemistry. Great chemistry is essential to engineering a high quality membrane. The combination of UV stabilizers, fire retardants, titanium dioxide, antioxidants and heat stabilizers are all part of what makes great chemistry. And Firestone has a proven history of great chemistry.
“The initial roof that we put down is still there,” said Reed. “It’s still performing fine. It doesn’t have any leaks. Firestone comes out from time to time to inspect. And many others that we installed at about that time are working just fine today, many years later.”
Firestone’s UltraPly™ TPO chemistry has been consistent for 20 years and the formula from Firestone has stood the test of time. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that nearly 4 billion square feet of UltraPly™ TPO has been installed wordwide.
For the roofing industry, and TPO, it’s fair to say that what happened in Vegas definitely didn’t stay in Vegas.