Commercial businesses around Philadelphia have two main choices when it comes to roofing—EPDM or TPO membranes. But what are the key differences between the two? And, is one material better than the other? Continue reading to find out.
Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, or EPDM, is one of the most popular commercial roofing on the market. EPDM roofing materials are made of rubber, which makes it a versatile solution for multiple roofing systems, including:
- Flat roofs
- Sloped and low-slope
Because the material is flexible rubber, EPDM membranes can fit virtually every type of roof. Because EPDM roofing materials are hydrophobic, it also delivers a practical way to combat leaks. Additionally, the rubber membrane is extremely durable, making your building far more resistant to high winds, heavy storms, and rainfall. With regular maintenance, EPDM roofing can last for over 20 years.
Another key advantage of the EPDM roofing is its energy-efficiency. While EPDM roofing often comes black, you can also purchase white variants, which help reflect the sun’s UV rays instead of absorbing them. This means you save on energy costs, as your HVAC system won’t have to work nearly as hard to cool your facility.
TPO roofing systems consist of three layers―a polymer base, a polyester-reinforced fabric center, and a thermoplastic polyolefin top ply. To install TPO membranes, they’re mechanically attached, ballasted, or chemically adhered over a flat roof to create a strong and effective layer of protection. Roofing professionals appreciate TPO’s quick and easy application, and businesses choose TPO for the following reasons:
- Durability: TPO membranes usually last anywhere from 15 to 20 years.
- Weather Resistance: TPO roofs are highly resistant to mold, dirt, algae, and punctures.
- Lightweight: The plastic in TPO systems don’t weigh much, so you don’t have to worry about the dangers of heavier materials that may compromise your facility’s structure.
- Reflective: TPO is typically installed as a white, highly reflective membrane that helps reduce energy consumption.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” choice when it comes to the differences between EPDM and TPO roofing. Simply put, you should make your decision based on what’s best for your business. To help you find out which solution best suits your needs, consider the following factors:
If cost is your main concern, EPDM roofs are the most economical choice, as TPO roofing membranes are more expensive than EPDM. Still, some business owners feel like the durability of TPO roofs are worth the price disparity, as it’s no secret roofs last longer if they’re thicker.
Because TPO is inherently a thicker material, its seam strength is 300 to 400 percent stronger than EPDM’s adhesive seams. The plastic in TPO membranes are manufactured to be just as durable as the rubber in EPDM.
However, it’s important to note TPO roofing is fairly new, and the quality of your plastic can vary. Because there’s continuous improvements to the formulation, TPO membranes perform differently based on their manufacturer. So, if consistency is your main concern, EPDM roofs are a tried-and-true method.
The first few years after being installed, EPDM membranes won’t require much maintenance. But unlike TPO, the seams in EPDM roofing are treated with an adhesive, which ultimately makes them vulnerable to coming apart.
In the long-run, EPDM roofs require more maintenance to keep in good shape. As a helpful tip, be sure to remember that the rubber base responds poorly to any solvents and oils. Therefore, you shouldn’t use heavy-duty cleaners or petroleum-based solvents on EPDM roofs, as this could cause irreparable damage to your membrane.
On the other hand, TPO membranes are not as easy to maintain as EPDM roofing. But, if you keep up with maintenance, you’ll get a few more years of service out of TPO.
It’s vital to cover that maintenance for TPO roofs can be challenging. As the compound ages, TPO membranes lose their pliability and, subsequently, their thermoplastic capabilities. Fixing these issues is a dangerous task that requires years of experience—so always be sure to partner with a professional roofing contractor for your annual maintenance.
Commercial businesses across Philly recognize Seal Roofing as a dependable provider of EPDM and TPO membranes. With over 30 years of experience, we know what it takes to build a roof that lasts. Ready to take the next step? Start a conversation with our expert team and ask about our free assessments.
Seal Roofing is a roofing contractor with a reputation for outstanding service, competitive pricing, and offering a full range of roofing services and solutions.
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