Is TPO better than EPDM?

installing TPO

TPO vs EPDM

As an owner of a commercial or industrial structure, you need a roof that you know is dependable. You want a roof that is long lasting too because you don’t want to have this expense again too soon! As a business owner or building manager, you have a lot more to worry about, so which is better for your structure: EPDM roofing or TPO roofing? Here is a quick look at the difference of  tpo roof vs epdm:

What Is EPDM roofing? Ethylene propylene diene monomer is the long name for rubber roofing. It has been around for years and is known as a durable and tough roofing material, excellent for bouncing Texas size hail stones off.   Easy installation makes it popular with roofing contractors, but there are two downsides that make it not the best roofing material in Texas:

  • It is dark colored and absorb heat, one thing that North Texas buildings don’t need.
  • It has seams that degrade in the hot Texas sun, making it prone to leaks.

What is TPO roofing? Thermoplastic polyolefin is a fancy name for a special commercial structure roofing material. TPO for roof hasn’t been around as long as EPDM roofing, but it has made its impact by being puncture resistant, even with Texas size hail. It is light colored and reflects heat, and the seams are welded together. It doesn’t have downsides though.

  • Installation requires welding the seams, making it more difficult than EPDM roofing.
  • The welded seams make repairs difficult.

So, when faced with choosing a roofing material, is EPDM roofing or TPO roofing the better choice? The cost won’t be a factor because they are about the same, up to $4.00 per square foot. We’re going to answer some basic questions about TPO roofing that will help you know if that TPO roofing is right for your building or not.

How thick is TPO roofing?

TPO roofing is a comparatively low-cost, roofing membrane that gives a long life of durability when installed correctly.  A Thermoplastic Polyolefin roofing material, the “thermoplastic” means that the plastic is installed heated which cools and hardens, creating seams that won’t leak.  Typically, TPO roofing is sold in three different thicknesses:

  • 45 mil
  • 60 mil
  • 90 mil

The thicker TPO roofing membrane, the more durable and long-lasting. For a commercial or industrial structure that has maintenance and service work performed on the rooftop, the thicker the better. TPO roof with insulation is done one of three ways:

  • Polyisocyanurate – The most common used insulation type with a high R-value rating.
  • EPS – A high R-value per dollar used for roofing, walls, and flooring.
  • XPS – Pricing and performance is mid-range of the other two.

Is TPO waterproof?

TPO roofing is a popular choice for low sloped commercial roofs. Installed from large rolls with the seams being hot air-welded, creating a waterproof roof. Other benefits that TPO roofing offers are:

  • Aesthetics: With a large choice in colors, TPO roofing will match the architectural style with the right color.
  • Installation: Because TPO roofing material is lightweight compared to other roofing materials, it is easier to install, meaning it is installed faster, which helps with the overall installation cost.
  • Energy Efficiency: TPO roofing reflects the hot UV rays  which results in a cooler building and less wear and tear on the HVAC system, a lower utility cost, and minimized carbon footprint. It is fire-retardant, chemical and puncture resistant make this roofing material popular.
  • Environmentally Friendly: TPO roofing is and eco-friendly material that is 100% recyclable.

An roofing contractor with TPO roofing experience will allow the TPO material to bond thoroughly to assure that there aren’t any TPO roof bubbles once the job is completed.

How do you maintain a TPO roof?

The recommended  cleaning process is to use a pressure washer with a cleaning solution, but only after a thorough inspection of the roof. The inspection should be performed to find possible areas that may leak, especially at base flashings and along low curbs.  Starting with a low-pressure, wash the membrane’s top layer to remove dirt and dust. Then with a soft-bristled brush and cleaning solution, scrub the stubborn areas, taking care not to damage the TPO roofing material. Rinse with a low pressure and then inspect the roofing again, making any repairs needed from pressure washing damage.

water on a membrane

How long does TPO roof last?

A TPO roofing that has been professionally installed and properly maintained with needed repairs done correctly and promptly, you can expect up to thirty years, maybe longer. Can you coat a TPO roof? Yes, if you’re looking to extend your TPO roofing beyond 30 years, go with either acrylic or silicone coating systems.

Wait until your TPO roofing is 5 years old or older, the current finish should be matte so that the coating sticks. Silicone coating is recommended for roofs that have the tendency to pond, but for a tight budget, acrylic is the better option.

For North Texas where the hail is huge and the sun is strong, TPO roofing is an ideal material for a commercial or industrial structure.  An experienced commercial roofing contractor will be able to explain the install process and the benefits you can expect. Getting 2 or 3 quotes is recommended and ask for references, guarantee, and warranty. The roof is protecting a valuable investment – choose wisely. Call 214-321-3293 today for your TPO roofing installation in Dallas, TX.