TPO VS. PVC – COMMERCIAL ROOFING

TPO and PVC commercial roofing systems have single ply membranes that are considered best for any flat or low sloped roof. These roofing systems consist of heat welded seams which are considered to be ‘cool.’ Irrespective, there are more important factors, similarities, and differences that you should consider before finalizing your purchasing decision.

Before getting into details, let’s discuss the most common and primary difference between these two roofing solutions:

  • TPO is considerably a new player in the market to commercial customers. It has existed for only 20 years now and has a history of failures resulting in recalls and formula updates.
  • In contrast, PVC has a solid reputation for over 30 years in the roofing industry and has no such issues.

SIMILARITIES OF PVC AND TPO

The similarities between TPO and PVC roofing system are as follows:

  • Both commercial roofing solutions are thermoplastic materials: TPO (made of thermoplastic olefin) and PVC (made of Poly Vinyl Chloride)
  • Both commercial roofing systems are best known for their green roofing material. This means that commercial property owners can save valuable money.
  • PVC and TPO are resistant to heat and the ultraviolet rays of the sun making sure that your office building is kept cooler from the inside.
  • The process of installing both roofing systems is quite similar – meaning you would need similar procedure, tools, and skills.
  • PVC and TPO roofing systems are resistant to chemicals, oil, and grease. They require low maintenance and are puncture resistant.

DIFFERENCES OF TPO AND PVC

The differences between PVC and TPO are:

  • Chemical formulas: The chemical formulas used to make TPO, and PVC roofing membranes are different. PVC roofing systems are flexible because its formula consists of plasticizers and salt extracted from chlorine.
    In contrast, TPO has a different formula which does not include any plasticizer to maintain flexibility. Furthermore, it uses no such materials that break down with time thus offering long term durability when compared to PVC. In reality, however, TPO has failed to make a staunch mark against PVC. So far, TPO has provided disappointing and inconsistent results in commercial roofing market.
  • Cost: People consider TPO to be cheaper than PVC while offering greater value for money. It is true that PVC is expensive as compared to TPO from per square foot perspective. However, when we talk about the overall system installation cost, it is more or less the same – sometimes, PVC costs you less than TPO. This is because where contractors are asking more markup on PVC, the labor costs for TPO is greater. Therefore, there is no ‘significant’ price advantage.
  • Problems and failures: Over the years, there have been more problems and failures associated with TPO roofs. The durability promised by TPO to gain an edge over PVC was questioned when a number of issues surfaced in commercial properties. There are documented instances where TPO roofs experienced seam and material failures.

Thus, if you are more inclined towards getting a TPO roof, consider a contractor who is reputable and working in the market for about 10-15 years. PVC roofs do not have such issues and have maintained consistent quality for decades. Its proven track record of durability is the reason why it remains the best commercial roofing solution.

Have more questions about our roofing products? Call Seamless Roofing Solutions at 505-450-3396 or fill out our online contact form. We’re here to help you select the ideal roof for your business.