EPDM vs. TPO Roofing: Which Is Better For You?

When it comes to choosing the right roofing system for your commercial property, there are several options available. Among them, EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) and TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) roofs stand out as popular choices.

In this comprehensive guide about all things EPDM and TPO, we will delve into:

  • The differences
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Installation costs
  • Longevity
  • Factors to consider when deciding between EPDM and TPO roofs

EPDM Vs TPO: Which one will you choose?

What is an EPDM Roof?

EPDM rubber roof

EPDM is a synthetic rubber roofing membrane known for its exceptional durability and resistance to harsh weather conditions. It is composed of ethylene and propylene, two hydrocarbon compounds that give EPDM its flexibility and resilience. EPDM roofing membranes come in various thicknesses and can be installed in a single-ply or multi-ply system.

👍 Pros of EPDM Roofing:

  • Durability: EPDM roofs can withstand extreme weather conditions, including hail, heavy rain, and UV radiation, making them suitable for different climates.
  • Low Maintenance: EPDM roofs require minimal maintenance. Periodic cleaning and inspections are usually sufficient to keep them in good condition.
  • Cost-Effective: EPDM roofing is often more affordable than some other roofing materials, such as metal or slate. This makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners.
  • Energy Efficiency: EPDM roofing is available in white, which reflects sunlight and reduces heat absorption, leading to lower cooling costs in hot climates.

👎 Cons of EPDM Roofing:

  • Seam Vulnerability: Seams in EPDM roofs can be susceptible to damage over time. However, proper installation techniques and regular maintenance can mitigate this risk.
  • Limited Aesthetic Options: EPDM roofing comes in a limited range of colors and styles, which may not suit all architectural designs.

What is a TPO Roof?

TPO roof installation

TPO roofing is a single-ply roofing membrane made of thermoplastic polyolefin compounds. It has gained popularity in recent years due to its energy efficiency and environmentally friendly properties. TPO roofing membranes are available in various thicknesses and widths, making them versatile for different applications.

👍 Pros of TPO Roofing:

  • Energy Efficiency: TPO roofs are highly reflective and can significantly reduce heat absorption. This can lead to lower cooling costs, making them a sustainable choice for energy-conscious individuals.
  • Durability: TPO roofing is resistant to punctures, tears, and UV radiation, ensuring a long lifespan for your roof.
  • Aesthetic Variety: TPO roofing membranes come in a range of colors, including white, tan, and gray, allowing for more design flexibility.
  • Ease of Installation: TPO roofing is known for its ease of installation, which can result in lower labor costs compared to other roofing materials.

👎 Cons of TPO Roofing:

  • Sensitivity to Chemicals: TPO roofs can be sensitive to certain chemicals and oils, so caution is needed when performing maintenance work or using equipment on the roof.
  • Limited Longevity Data: While TPO roofs have been in use for several decades, their long-term performance data may not be as extensive as that of EPDM roofs.

Comparing Cost of Installation

The cost of installing either an EPDM or TPO roof depends on various factors, including the size of the roof, labor costs in your region, and any additional features or insulation you choose. On average, EPDM roofing tends to be more budget-friendly compared to TPO roofing.

For EPDM roofing, you can expect to pay around $3 to $7 per square foot for materials and labor, making it an economical choice. TPO roofing, on the other hand, can cost between $4 to $8 per square foot, making it slightly more expensive but still competitive in terms of pricing.

Comparing Longevity

Both EPDM and TPO roofs are known for their durability, but their longevity can vary based on factors such as climate, maintenance, and installation quality.

EPDM roofs typically have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Proper maintenance can extend this lifespan significantly. TPO roofs have a similar expected lifespan, with some manufacturers claiming up to 30 to 40 years with proper care and maintenance.

How to Choose the Right Roofing System for You

Choosing between EPDM and TPO roofing depends on your specific needs and priorities. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Climate: If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall or intense sunlight, EPDM’s proven durability may be a better choice.
  • Energy Efficiency: If you are concerned about energy efficiency and want to reduce cooling costs, TPO’s reflective properties can help you achieve this goal.
  • Budget: Consider your budget for both materials and installation. EPDM tends to be more cost-effective initially, while TPO may offer long-term savings in energy costs.
  • Aesthetics: If you have specific color or style preferences for your roof, TPO provides more options than EPDM.
  • Environmental Impact: TPO roofing is considered more environmentally friendly due to its energy-efficient properties and recyclability.
  • Maintenance: Think about your willingness and ability to perform regular roof maintenance. Proper upkeep is crucial for extending the lifespan of both EPDM and TPO roofs.
  • Contractor Expertise: Ensure that the roofing contractor you choose has experience and expertise in installing the roofing system you prefer. Proper installation is critical to the performance and longevity of your roof.

Learn More About Flat Roofs

Both EPDM and TPO roofing systems have their advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different situations. Consider your specific needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences when making your decision. Consulting with a professional roofing contractor can also provide valuable insights and help you make an informed choice for your property’s roofing needs.

At G. Cannon Roofing, we are here to help you choose the right roofing system for you. Contact us today for a free estimate for your roofing process!

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