TPO Vs EPDM Roofing Guide

Read Our Guide Comparing TPO Vs EPDM Roofing So You Can Make An Informed Choice On Your Roof.

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An Overview Of TPO And EPDM

TPO and EPDM are the two most popular materials for flat roofs these days. Although EPDM has been around for much longer, TPO has picked up steam recently for a few reasons we will go over below. To start TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin and is white in color, but hasn’t been around for as long. EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer and is typically black in color and has been in use for more than 60 years.

 

Let’s take a look in detail at some of the main differences between TPO and EPDM.

Strong & Durable – Obviously you want the most durable material you can get for your roof. Both TPO roofing and EPDM roofing are very durable materials. The more durable the material is, the less you have to deal with punctures, rips and tears from crazy weather. When comparing strength, TPO of the same thickness as EPDM boasts a much stronger impact and puncture resistance so you are getting a better product without the extra material. This also means less repairs and a more cost effective roofing solution in the long run.

Repairs Easily – After years of wear and tear, many roofing systems will need repair, especially if an untrained roofer install the system in the first place. Being able to easily repair your roof makes the expense of repairs less and saves you money. So which one is easier to repair? TPO is the winner again. TPO can easily be patched and heat welded onto the current roof, whereas EPDM is more difficult to get the same strength from your repairs. If it’s cold outside, seam tape won’t work well on EPDM, so adhesives are used and they sometimes don’t adhere properly in cold weather either.

Epdm Roof Installed On A Colorado Springs Building
roofing crew installing a tpo roofing system

Expansion And Contraction – Every roof system is going to expand and contract slightly as the temperatures swing back and forth so you want a system that is going to be able to handle that the best without tearing apart at the seams. TPO has hit air welded seams which are usually much stronger than the seam tape with EPDM so it’s overall a better performer in this arena.

Cooling Capabilities – Darker colored materials hold heat better than light colored materials which is why the white reflective color of TPO is far superior to EPDM if you live in a hot climate and have high utility bills for cooling your home in the summer. Heating costs are normally less than cooling costs so the white reflective material is the better choice.

Installation Difficulty – Both materials are very similar in installation difficulty. EPDM is normally fastened mechanically and then seam tape is used to hold the sheets together. TPO is adhered with chemical adhesive usually which can make the process easier in the winter time when you are dealing with exceptionally cold weather.

Can It Be Restored? – The good thing is that TPO and EPDM can both be restored with a roof coating. This can extend the life of your roof be 10+ years without having to replace it. The difference between the two is that EPDM will need a primer before the coating can be sprayed on.

The Results Are Conclusive

You may think we are somewhat biased towards TPO after reading this article, but really both of them are great flat roofing systems. As long as your roof is installed by professionals that know what they are doing, either roof will do fine. There are a still a few benefits that TPO offers over EPDM though, such as easier repairs, better temperature regulation and durability. Because of this, it is what we typically recommend to our customers who want a top notch roofing system. Each property is different and every property owners budget is different as well, so feel free to get in touch with us to discuss the perfect flat roofing system for you. We offer free consultations anytime, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us and speak with an expert.