TPO vs. EPDM Roofing

The decisions you make regarding the building’s roofing will bear an impact on the daily operation of the building and hold many consequences for many years. Two of the most popular types of commercial roofing are TPO roofing and EPDM roofing. These are industry standards, and for good reason. If you’re deciding between the two for your roof, this info can help you decide.

The Essentials of TPO Roofing

TPO stands for thermoplastic polyolefin. That’s a very fancy name for a hard plastic that stands up well to weather and the hard life that has to be endured by any roofing material. TPO is a single-ply roofing material. That means it does not require special coatings or extra layers in order to function, and as a result, it can be a lot more affordable than roofing alternatives.

TPO has only been in widespread use for around 20 years. It has shot up in popularity during that time because of its clear advantages. When it comes to single-ply roofing, TPO is the best in terms of puncture resistance. It is a very strong roofing style, and because it is attached via welding, it holds up for a long time.

TPO is also made from light materials. The color increases solar reflectivity. That helps to resist sun damage, and it also helps to keep buildings cool during hot seasons. A TPO roof can substantially lower cooling costs, making it very popular for a number of commercial applications.

With all of that said, TPO has its downsides, and that’s why it’s not perfect for every application. Even though it is resistant to punctures, it is vulnerable to hail. While TPO will shrug off average hailstorms without a problem, it will sustain damage from major hail sooner than some other single-ply materials.

TPO is also difficult to install. Because it involves welding, installation is more complicated and often more expensive. It also requires electricity, making TPO a poor choice for some roofs that don’t have access to electricity.

EPDM Roofing in a Nutshell

Another single-ply roofing material, ethylene propylene diene monomer is pretty much the gold standard for industrial roofing. Essentially a rubber roof, EPDM is very durable, and it’s been a popular choice for many decades. As such, it’s quite accessible, and it offers some pros that many commercial building owners prefer.

For starters, EPDM is easier to install than TPO. That makes EPDM a little cheaper for installation (although the material costs are dead even). Also, the lack of welding means that EPDM can be done without electricity, and it doesn’t require nearly as much skilled labor to install or repair.

The rubbery nature of EPDM makes it the very best single-ply material for withstanding hail. It is more vulnerable to punctures than TPO (think falling branches), but overall, it tends to be warrantied longer than TPO.

EPDM is also the superior choice for roofs with solar panels. The dark color means that EPDM roofs are reflecting less light, and that prevents interference that can kill solar panel productivity.

On the downside, EPDM roofs get much hotter, and buildings with these roofs will require more energy for cooling during the hot months. 

Which Is Better?

When it comes to comparing these two materials, there is no universal winner. In many cases, the opposed strengths and weaknesses of the materials will make the choice for you. They are both durable and affordable, so it’s hard to choose incorrectly. If cooling costs are a major concern, TPO is an obvious choice. If you have solar panels or are particularly worried about hail, EPDM wins.

If you still aren’t sure which is best, try talking with an expert. If you need roofing work in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you can contact Alpine Roofing Construction today. We’ll get to know your building so that we have a good idea of your expectations and needs. We’ll discuss your options at length so that you can be sure you’re getting the right roof.

Once you choose, we’ll handle the installation. We work with both of these materials and many others. We’re primed and ready to get the installation done so that you have a high-quality roof and the peace of mind that comes with it.

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