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Posted by : Colby Stockton

When it comes to commercial roofing, there are various options available, but two of the most popular choices are TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) and EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) roofing systems. Each of these roofing materials has its own set of characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. But when it comes to TPO vs. EPDM, how do you choose which one is right for you?

In this blog post, we will delve into:

  • What TPO and EPDM roofing are
  • How to decide which one is right for your commercial building
  • How to take care of a commercial roof
  • The cost of replacing a commercial roof

What is TPO Roofing?

tpo roof

TPO roofing is a single-ply roofing membrane made from a blend of rubber and plastic. It is known for its white, reflective surface, which helps to reduce heat absorption and lower cooling costs for commercial buildings. TPO roofing is highly popular due to its energy efficiency, durability, and ease of installation.

👍 Advantages of TPO Roofing:

  • Energy Efficiency: TPO roofing reflects sunlight and heat, reducing the building’s cooling load and energy costs.
  • Durability: TPO roofs are resistant to UV radiation, ozone, and chemical exposure, making them long-lasting.
  • Easy Installation: TPO membranes are lightweight and flexible, making installation relatively quick and straightforward.
  • Cost-Effective: The initial cost of TPO roofing is often lower compared to some other roofing materials.
  • Environmentally Friendly: TPO roofing is recyclable, making it a sustainable option.

👎 Disadvantages of TPO Roofing:

  • Not Ideal for Extreme Cold: TPO roofing may not perform as well in very cold climates, as it can become brittle in freezing temperatures.
  • Limited Color Options: TPO roofing is typically available in white or light-colored options, limiting design choices.

What is EPDM Roofing?

epdm roof

EPDM roofing, on the other hand, is another single-ply membrane roofing material made from synthetic rubber. It is typically available in black, but white EPDM options are also available. EPDM roofing is known for its durability and resistance to weathering.

👍 Advantages of EPDM Roofing:

  • Durability: EPDM roofing has a proven track record of longevity and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • Flexibility: It remains flexible even in cold temperatures, reducing the risk of cracking.
  • Cost-Effective: EPDM roofing is often competitively priced, making it a budget-friendly choice.
  • Easy Repairs: In case of damage, EPDM roofs are relatively easy to repair.

👎 Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing:

  • Heat Absorption: Black EPDM roofing can absorb heat, potentially increasing cooling costs in warm climates.
  • Seam Vulnerability: The seams in EPDM roofing may be a point of vulnerability if not installed and maintained correctly.

How to Decide Between TPO and EPDM Roofing

Choosing between TPO and EPDM roofing for your commercial building involves considering various factors:

  • Climate: Consider your local climate. TPO may be better for warmer climates, while EPDM may perform better in colder regions.
  • Energy Efficiency: If energy efficiency is a priority, TPO’s reflective properties may be appealing.
  • Budget: EPDM roofing can be a cost-effective choice for those on a tighter budget.
  • Installation: TPO roofing is generally easier and quicker to install, which can affect labor costs.
  • Maintenance: Assess how much maintenance you are willing to undertake. EPDM may require slightly more maintenance but is easier to repair.
  • Aesthetics: Think about the appearance of the roofing material and how it fits with your building’s design.
  • Local Codes and Regulations: Ensure that your choice complies with local building codes and regulations.

It’s advisable to consult with a roofing professional who can assess your specific needs and provide tailored recommendations.

6 Tips for Taking Care of Your Commercial Roof

Regardless of whether you choose TPO or EPDM roofing, proper maintenance is essential to prolong its lifespan and ensure optimal performance. Here are some key maintenance tips:

1) Regular Inspections:

Conduct regular inspections to identify and address any damage or wear and tear.

2) Cleaning:

Keep the roof clean of debris, leaves, and dirt to prevent clogging and water ponding.

3) Seam Maintenance:

For EPDM roofing, pay special attention to seams and seals to prevent leaks.

4) Gutter Maintenance:

Ensure that gutters and downspouts are clear to facilitate proper drainage.

5) Professional Roofing Services:

Schedule professional inspections and maintenance with a roofing contractor at least once a year.

6) Prompt Repairs:

Address any issues promptly to prevent minor problems from escalating.

Cost to Replace a Commercial Roof

The cost of replacing a commercial roof can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of roofing material, the size and complexity of the roof, and the location of the building. As of my knowledge cutoff date in January 2022, here is a general cost range for roof replacement:

  • TPO Roof Replacement: The cost of replacing a TPO roof typically ranges from $5 to $10 per square foot.
  • EPDM Roof Replacement: Replacing an EPDM roof can cost between $4 to $8 per square foot.

It’s important to note that these costs can change over time due to inflation and market conditions. Additionally, the specific requirements of your project may influence the final cost. To get an accurate estimate, it is advisable to obtain quotes from reputable roofing contractors.

Get the Roofing System That Is Right For You!

Choosing between TPO and EPDM roofing for your commercial building involves careful consideration of various factors, including climate, budget, and maintenance preferences. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, so consulting with a roofing professional is a wise decision. Proper maintenance and timely repairs are key to extending the lifespan of your commercial roof, and when the time comes for replacement, obtaining multiple quotes from trusted contractors will help you make an informed decision.

Contact Highroad Roofing to learn which commercial roofing systems are right for your needs!

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