PVC vs. TPO: Which is a Better Option?

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) are both single-ply membranes designed for commercial or residential flat roof building. While they both come from a single-ply sheet, there are differences between them. If you’re deciding which one to choose, there are some that are worth looking into.


PVC started to gain popularity during the 1960s, making it the older roofing option. The TPO roof was created as the improved version of the latter. It has a rubber membrane called Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer or EPDM. TPO has all the benefits of the EPDM and PVC for a lower cost.


Installation Process

The installation processes of these roofs are also very similar. Although, TPO roofing installation can be mechanically fastened just like the PVC. This is the fastest and cheapest option in installing either a TPO or PVC membrane.


When using the mechanically fastened method, issues like water leaks, fluttering noise, and lesser energy efficiency appears when the membrane gets loose.


Another option is the fully adhered smooth membrane. This method glues down the whole sheet with adhesive and can be done with a fleece-back membrane or not. The layer usually costs more but takes lesser time in both TPO roofing installation and PVC roofing installation.


There is also a self-adhered installation. This method is a good option since it can be completed faster. It is relatively cheaper than the other methods, although the manufacturer’s warranty is shorter than other installation methods.


The last installation method is induction heating or metal plate attachment. Metal plates are used to connect the polyiso insulation and TPO resin. The TPO membrane is attached to each of the metal plates.


A particular induction heater will then be used to weld the plates and the TPO membrane. A magnet will then be placed at the top of the plate to ensure that the plates and layers stick to each other.


The difference in Benefits between the TPO and PVC Membranes


If you have a limited budget, TPO membranes should be the best choice because it is cheaper than the PVC membranes. The TPO membranes are also much more resistant to weathering and slightly more tear-resistant than PVC. TPO also has better resistance to fungal growth and is an eco-friendly alternative.


While PVC is more expensive, it does not quickly weaken with oils, chemicals, and grease. PVC membranes are also more flexible than TPO membranes, which make the installation process more manageable.


Additionally, roofs with PVC membranes are proven to hold up better than TPO in intense heat and increased UV radiation exposure.


Final Verdict

Choosing a roofing system suitable for your construction project is not easy. Being able to understand the difference between PVC and TPO roofing systems will help you make an informed decision.


After all, you would want to use a long-term roofing system so that you do not spend your precious money on reconstruction. This is the reason why you have to decide carefully.


Before making a decision, consider what your needs and preferences are. Finally, find yourself a trusted roofing professional service that will help you make the right decision. Your roofing quality is something that must be considered above all because of its importance.