Commercial Roofing: The Differences Between TPO & PVC Roofing Systems

by | Aug 9, 2021 | Flat Roofing

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are two different options for single-ply membranes used in both low-slope and flat roofing systems. Over time TPO and PVC roofing has become popular selections because of their solid quality and long-term dependability. Although TPO and PVC both share some similarities, it is important to consider each material’s advantages and disadvantages to determine which one best suits your roofing needs. This article will discuss the pros and cons of TPO and PVC roofing options, their unique characteristics, and general considerations to take note of when designing your next low-slope or flat roofing system. 

TPO Roofing Systems

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roofing is a relatively new product on the market. TPO is a type of single-ply thermoplastic membrane which comes from a mixture of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber, which gives it its strength and flexibility. 

Additionally, TPO boasts reflective properties that block out UV radiation. This helps prevent heat from building up, thus increasing energy efficiency and keeping your interior cool. 

Some pros for TPO roofing include its weather resistance properties, economic affordability, and overall energy efficiency. TPO is also recyclable and contains no plasticizers. 

Some cons for TPO roofing could include its lower resistance to particular chemicals and its variable manufacturing quality amongst different suppliers.

PVC Roofing Systems

Alternatively, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a steady and reputable material that has been used in roofing for a long time. 

Similar to TPO, PVC contains a single-ply thermoplastic membrane. However, it is different in that it includes vinyl chloride monomers with added plasticizers for increased flexibility. These types of plastics prevent the roof from falling apart easily. 

PVC roofing is excellent in that it has strong resistance properties to chemicals. In commercial facilities that may come into contact with oil, grease, smoke, or any other flammable materials, the acid-resistant properties found in PVC roofing make it a great option as a roofing material. 

PVC roofing is also great in reflectivity and will also help prevent heat from getting inside the interior of your building. In turn, this will help lower your energy bills and overall maintenance cost. 

In place of its benefits, there are also some drawbacks to PVC roofing. PVC roofing can be more expensive than other types of roofing materials. PVC is also not great for the environment due to the high rate of degradation found in some of the plasticizers used to make PVC roofs.

Considerations When Choosing TPO or PVC Roofing

The similarities between TPO and PVC make either material a good option for most flat or low slope roofing projects. However, when choosing between these materials, there are a couple of things to consider to help you determine which one is best for you. 

TPO is cheaper than PVC per unit in terms of the overall cost. Although installation is more straightforward for PVC than TPO, costs will remain about the same for installing them. 

In terms of longevity, TPO should be more durable due to the lack of plasticizers. However, PVC roofs often withstand wear and tear for years, making them both dependable for the long run. 

For structures that may come into contact with flammable materials or other chemicals, PVC roofing is generally a better roofing option. As a result, PVC is more frequently found in commercial roof projects than residential ones. 

TPO is more frequently used in structures with a low risk of flammability or chemical exposure. TPO is also cheaper than PVC and is better for the environment.

Thinking About Installing A New Roof?

Considering installing a new roof in Florida? Look no further than AWS Roofing Services. Whether you are thinking about TPO or PVC, we can help you find the best material that works for you and your roof. We offer a wide variety of roofing options and will work with you every step of the way. AWS Roofing is state-licensed, insured, and bonded. 

Call us today for a free estimate at (386)-210-7278.

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