TPO vs. PVC Roofing

July 8, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) are the most common commercial roofing systems. These two types of roofs are highly durable, strong, and wind-resistant. But despite such similarities, they are also quite different regarding installation cost, maintenance requirements, system service life, and warranties offered.

When installing a roof, we recommend looking at the properties of each to make an informed purchase. The article below compares these two roofing systems, allowing you to make the right decision.

Experience and Properties

In terms of experience, PVC roofing membranes have been around for longer than they entered the market in 1966. TPO has been around since 1991. PVC roofs consist of three layers: an upper and lower base sheet and the reinforcement scrim in the middle. The top sheet has a thick layer that can withstand dirt, harsh weather, and foot traffic. The tensile strength and thread count of the middle layer make PVC roofing strong and durable. TPO is also made of three layers but with huge differences in terms of material. This roofing system is usually thinner with a lower thread count. But while this makes the product thinner and gives it good looks, it also makes it less puncture resistant.

The Cost

When thinking of TPO vs PVC roofing cost, you have to consider the cost of the roofing materials and the installation costs. PVC prefabrication will save you money in terms of labor, something that TPO non-prefabricated will not do. You also have to consider the maintenance and how long the roof will serve you. Investing more money in a durable roof will save you maintenance costs. TPO roofs are often difficult to repair as they continue aging, compared to PVC.

Energy Efficiency

PVC roofs reflect about 88% of solar energy, while TPO reflects about 77%. Since PVC is more reflective, it is effective in radiating the sun’s heat away from a building. That means the building’s occupants will not have to rely too much on AC, making PVC more energy efficient.


When it comes to sustainability, a roofing system is assessed in five ways: product manufacturing, product design, corporate governance, membrane durability, and innovation. PVC is a more sustainable commercial roofing option as it has been certified by the National Science Foundation. TPO, on the other hand, is questionable when it comes to recyclability.

Installation Methods

Both PVC and TPO can be fully adhered to or mechanically fastened depending on the client’s preference and the building’s structure. The difference is in the final quality. TPO requires the roofers to finish most flashing details on site. Unfortunately, most roof leaks are often caused by poor workmanship from roofers. PVC reduces a lot of fieldwork as most details are finished in a factory, reducing the risk of errors from roofers.

Now that you know which roof is better, are you ready to have your roof installed? R & H Roofing, LLP is one of the most reliable companies in the roofing industry. Our experienced roofers specialize in industrial and commercial roofing, offering different roofing systems such as TPO systems, PVC systems, EPDM systems, asphalt shingles, and BUR Tar and Gravel Systems. We have partnered with leading manufacturers like Duro-last, Firestone, and Garland, ensuring our clients get quality roofing systems. Give us a call today about your commercial roofing needs.


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