TPO vs PVC Roofing Which Is Best For Your Application?

Jul 15, 2022 | Blog

In the commercial roofing industry, one of the major developments over the last few decades has been the use of single-ply roof membranes. This is no surprise, as they are affordable and effective for covering roofs with a low slope or flat roofs in commercial applications. But of the two common materials available today, TPO vs. PVC roofing, which one is best for your needs?

In this article, we’ll be talking about both of these materials in depth. First, we’ll discuss what the acronyms mean, and how these materials function. Next, we’ll dive into the differences between the two. Finally, we’ll discuss how you can determine which material is best for your needs.

TPO vs. PVC Roofing: The Basics

Both TPO and PVC can be part of a single-ply roofing system. This means that they consist of one layer that’s applied directly over the roof deck, without an additional membrane underneath. Usually, these materials are both only a fraction of an inch thick (0.028″ – 0.048″ for TPO and 0.033″ – 0.044″ for PVC).

TPO or Thermoplastic Olefin is made from partially polymerized styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS). Other rubber blends are also available, such as polypropylene and ethylene-propylene. It is relatively flexible, and can have varying durability levels depending on the additives the manufacturer uses. TPO can come in two varieties: hot-dip (in which an autoclave cures the product at high temperatures) and powder-coated. It also has differing specifications for its DIN standard, as it does for its thickness, depending on the type of application.

PVC or Polyvinyl chloride is made from a mixture of vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate copolymer. Like TPO, it is extremely durable, while also retaining its flexibility. It is best primarily for flat roofs that are not too steep. PVC coatings can be made on site to achieve varying levels of durability. This depends on the coating process and number and type of coatings used.

So, what are the differences in application between the two?

The Differences In TPO vs. PVC Roofing

There are a few differences between TPO and PVC that might be important to know. Both materials are generally not best for steep roofs, as they do not have adequate durability in this application.

Aside from this, both TPO and PVC will provide the same protection and benefits to your roof deck. They are also non-corrosive, allowing them to work well with paints that contain various types of pigments or coatings. This allows you to get the roof coating you want without worrying about the deterioration of the surface over time.

  • Specifically, TPO roofing is:
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Energy-efficient (reflects heat from the sun)
  • Easy to install
  • Recyclable

However, TPO may not be as water-resistant as PVC, which is more suitable for its resistance to severe weather conditions, such as rain and wind. It also has a slightly shorter life than PVC, requiring replacement after 20 years of service. PVC also offers the following advantages:

  • Longer life (typically 30 years)
  • High-temperature tolerance
  • Fire resistance
  • Resistant to chemical exposure

PVC, though, is more expensive than TPO and more challenging to install, as well as to repair.

Conclusion: Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing the right roofing material is critical to making sure your commercial roofing project is successful. However, it’s important to choose a material that fits your commercial property’s purpose, the local climate, and of course, your budget. If you need expert advice on choosing the right roofing material for your needs, a commercial roofing company in Montgomery, TX can help.

Advanced Construction and Development offers high-quality services for commercial businesses as well as homeowners, using premium materials and professional industry expertise to deliver as a premium construction company in Montgomery, TX. Call us today at (936) 521-2446 to talk to an expert.


Skip to content