TPO Roof Vs. PVC Roof

The importance of a dependable roofing system for your business should not be understated. Leaks can stain the ceiling, making things look ugly. These same leaks may also damage the product, or even create slipping hazards. Electrical problems arise. Bad smells. Negative curb appeal. None of the above are going to reflect well on your establishment. So if the time has come to repair or replace that aging roof, and you’re considering a TPO or PVC system, read on to discover the benefits of each.

TPO Roof Vs. PVC Roof

Not only that, with the help of an Encinitas roofer, we’ll go into some detail about what exactly these systems are so you don’t wind up feeling your way around in the dark.

What is A TPO Roofing System?

TPO, known as thermoplastic polyolefin, is what manufacturers describe as a single-ply roofing membrane that lays right over your existing roof (or one that’s been fully removed). Despite its name, TPO is not made of plastic. The material is actually rubber. What you typically get with TPO is a mix of polypropylene ethylene-propylene rubber. It’s thin, it reflects sunlight, and it’s cost-friendly, which means at the end of the day you’re going to have money left over in the bank.

Pros of TPO Roofing

Why exactly is this system such a popular choice with business owners? Why, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association, does it make up 40% of the roofing market share?

  • Cost – TPO is very affordable, ranging from $3.50 to $7.50 per square foot;
  • Color – TPO is white and shiny; quite deftly, it slams the door on UV rays;
  • Durability – Expect at least 20 years of service from a TPO roofing system;
  • Colors – Though primarily white, clients can also opt for light gray, tan, or even black.




Cons of TPO Roofing

As we don’t live in a perfect world, there are some issues to address when considering TPO. But so long as you proceed with knowledge in hand, the pitfalls become less perilous. Pitfalls such as:

  • Choosing your manufacturer – Different manufactures tend to offer up products vastly different in quality for the exact same price.
  • Thickness – Another issue with the manufacturer.
  • Some will insist that a thicker sheet of TPO will last longer
    • In reality, all TPO roofing systems have about the same life-span (20 years)
  • Hot climates – While TPO does a great job reflecting the sun, prolonged exposure to extreme heat tends to crack its surface.

So what you need to keep in mind with TPO roofing is locating a contractor linked to trustworthy manufacturers responsible for quality material. Now let’s delve into the PVC roofing system.

What is a PVC Roofing System?

Polyvinyl chloride is another kind of roofing membrane commonly used on industrial roofs with a flat or gently sloped surface. What you get with PVC is usually two layers of the aforementioned, with a layer of polyester sandwiched in between. It is flexible, tough, and like TPO, a very popular choice with entrepreneurs looking to keep the rain off their clients’ heads.

TPO Roof Vs. PVC Roof - PVC roof

Pros of PVC Roofing

  • Durability
    • Hot air welded seams where the sheets join are actually stronger than the sheets;
    • No weaker material is used for binding.
  • Chemical resistance
    • Many industrial facilities expose their roofing to harsh chemicals;
    • A PVC system will rarely, if ever, become damaged by this.
  • Flexibility
    • PVC roofing is slightly more flexible than TPO, and welds at a lower temperature.

Cons of PVC Roofing

As with TPO, the PVC system comes with a few caveats:

  • Installation
    • The old roof must be completely removed before PVC can be placed, not just cleaned.
  • Cost
    • PVC roofing costs significantly more than TPO; $6 to $9.50 per square foot.
  • Repairs
    • You’ll get about 20 years service from a PVC roof; however…
      • Maintenance needs typically crop up after around 10 years
      • Fixes can be tricky, as hot air welding can be less effective on older roofs

With further research, chances are you’ll find that most specialists feel the benefits of TPO outweigh those offered up by PVC. Having said that, the chemical resistance of a PVC system is an attractive plus for businesses that release chemicals through a vent on the roof. As mentioned already, a good contractor for roof replacement, will steer you in the right direction. With the information provided here, we hope to have done the same.


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