Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) are two synthetic materials used for commercial roofing systems. While the two materials are very similar – they are both types of synthetic rubber and they both come in large sheets –, there are some important differences between the two that you should know about:
- Resistance – both materials are very resistant to the elements, but each of them has its own specialty. TPO is more resistant to punctures than EPDM, while EPDM takes hail better;
- Installation and repairs – both materials are quick and easy to install, but the methods required are different. TPO is welded onto the roof surface, which requires a source of electrical current, while EPDM is fastened mechanically. As a result, TPO roofs are a bit more complicated to repair than EPDM;
- Durability – An experienced EPDM roofer confirms that EPDM roofs come with a durability of 25-30 years, longer than the lifespan of TPO, warranted for 15-20 years;
- Color options – while EPDM comes mostly in black, TPO offers a wider color palette that includes white, tan and grey as well;
- Reflectivity – TPO reflects the sun’s rays, therefore it is more suitable for hot climate areas than EPDM, which absorbs solar radiation and heat.