If you have a building with a flat roof, or nearly flat, then you’ve likely already realized that there are a lot of specialty roofing options out there to help you keep your building in good repair. Two of the most commonly used materials are EPDM roofing, also known as rubber roofing, and TPO roofing. In fact, both of these technically fall into the category of rubber roofing, but they have a few key differences that property owners need to know.
Cost Comparison: EPDM Roofing Wins
When it comes to comparing the cost, something that most property owners are keeping near the top of their priorities, EPDM roofing is the most economic choice. It tends to be more inexpensive in both materials and labor costs for single ply roofing membranes. It does make long-term sense to invest in a pricier EPDM coverage that is thicker, but even that will be less expensive than TPO of the same or similar thickness.
Durability Comparison: EPDM Roofing Wins
In terms of durability, we have more data on EPDM roofing than we do on TPO. TPO is still relatively new compared to EPDM, so we have yet to see how long-lasting this product is. But EPDM roofing can last for multiple decades, and can withstand all the common environmental factors that cause roofing materials to become brittle and crack over time. It’s been shown that TPO does not withstand pooling water the way that EPDM roofing can, and also that TPO does not perform as well in cold climates the way EPDM does.
Maintenance Comparison: Inconclusive
When it comes to maintenance, both EPDM and TPO have pros and cons. EPDM is far easier to maintain, with almost nothing needed beyond keeping up any acrylic paint that is used to make the roofing material more attractive. However, if it does need repairs, they are very easy to do. TPO on the other hand, is hard to repair, and may have to be replaced altogether. That being said, TPO seams tend to be much stronger than EPDM seams because of the way they are adhered to the roof. While EPDM is usually placed in a single sheet without seams, if there are seams, they may not be as strong.
Installation Comparison: EPDM Roofing Wins
EPDM roofing can be installed very quickly, and requires no special equipment or chemicals. It just takes a practiced roofer to ensure that the material is laid out flat and adhered properly, and that’s it. TPO requires a welding process to be installed, and can take quite a bit longer.
The Final Verdict
Both EPDM and TPO offer great energy saving benefits, and TPO may offer slightly more savings due to its solar heat reflective capabilities. But overall, EPDM roofing offers more advantages for the business owner or homeowner who wants a quality rubber roof coating that is fast and inexpensive. While TPO can still be a good choice, EPDM is easier to maintain and install, and is more durable.