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Difference between EPDM and TPO Roofing

January 25, 2019

Single-ply membrane roofing is one of the fastest growing methods of roofing Tulsa. These are simply sheets of synthetic rolls that come in different types being cut and applied to your commercial roof above the insulation. Their chemical makeup is different, which makes their energy efficiency levels and process of installation different. Single-ply membrane commercial roofing come in two main types:

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

EPDM has been a preferred method of commercial roofing since the 1960s. Its durability and flexibility are some of the reason it has been around for so long. EPDM comes in either dark gray or black colors and is therefore suitable for roofs in cooler weather as it retains heat. It also comes in three sizes 45mils, 60 or 90mils. EPDM is widely used for sloping roofs. It remains flexible even in cold weather and cannot be damaged by wind and hail. It may retain heat but is highly resistant to UV radiation, weathering and abrasions.

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

They mostly come in white and therefore for suitable for areas that experience hot weather as they are reflective. Other than a single layer of synthetics, they also consist of a reinforcing scrim, making them ideal for flat roofs. They can be either mechanically fastened or bound with an adhesive. They can also be ballasted or plate bonded.

Summarized differences between TPO and EPDM

  1. The first difference is their chemical compound. They may both fall under synthesized rubber category but their flexibility differs. EPDM is flexible compared to TPO, making it suitable for sloping roofs. The rigid form of the TPO makes it more favorable for flat or almost flat roofs.
  2. If you consider the price, EPDM is cheaper than TPO. The cost of material and labor for EPDM is lower than that of TPO.
  3. TPO seams are generally stronger than EPDM seams due to the way they are adhered to the roof. EPDM do not require seams and if they are there, they are not as strong as the ones found on TPO.
  4. Maintenance wise, EPDM is more manageable. This is because other than the use of acrylic paint to make the roof more attractive, nothing more is required. If it does need to be repaired, it is very easy to do unlike TPO. Repairing TPO is hard and it may require to be replaced.
  5. When it comes to installation, EPDM still takes the win. It is not only quick and easy to install but it also requires no special equipment. TPO requires special chemicals and equipment, therefore taking longer to install.
  6. Durability: There’s no conclusive argument as TPO is still new to the market. However, EPDM has been around longer and is known to stand the test of time. It has also been noted that EPDM can withstand cold weather better than TPO.

If you are still unsure what to go for, consult a professional roofing contractor Tulsa who will help you make a more informed choice. Contact us for any queries you may have on commercial roofing Tulsa or any other roofing related area.

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