TPO Versus PVC Roofing: Which Option Is Better?


As a business owner, you know that roofing replacements are inevitable. If your commercial property already has single-ply roofing, you have a few options to choose from. Our customers often ask us about the differences between TPO and PVC roofing, so in this article, we’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Let’s take a look at TPO first.

What Is TPO?

TPO, or thermopTwo rolls of TPO sitting on a newly installed roofing systemlastic polyolefin, is a thin, lightweight, reflective roofing option for flat-roof commercial properties—and it’s becoming an increasingly popular option due to its low cost.

TPO roofs work by blending rubber, polypropylene, and propylene into a three-layer, single-ply material that’s designed to cover the entire roof. They’re also fairly new on the market, having been introduced in the 1990s.

Benefits of TPO

Like we noted above, the major benefit of a TPO roof is its low cost. On a standard 1,500-square foot flat roof, it would cost several hundred dollars less to replace it with a TPO roof compared to a PVC roof.

TPO roofs have other advantages as well. These include:

  • Ease of Maintenance: TPO is mold-, puncture-, and tear-resistant.
  • Energy Efficiency: TPO roofs come in white, black, and gray colors. No matter the color, TPO roofs are UV-resistant and energy-efficient, which will help you reduce your utility bills. 
  • Ease of Installation: Wide TPO sheets mean fewer seams.  It’s also fairly quick to install TPO, which helps save on labor costs.

Downsides of TPO

There are a few notable downsides of TPO. For starters, it’s relatively new to the market. Although manufacturers are continuously discovering ways to improve its formula, we still don’t know a lot about it compared to PVC roofing and other single-ply options. 

Additionally, there have been a few red flags associated with TPO roofing in recent years. In 2010, the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association went so far as to publicly discourage its use due to its accelerated deterioration when exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. Furthermore, TPO roofs typically only last 10 to 20 years, which is much shorter than other options.

What Is PVC Roofing?


PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, consists of single-ply material that features heat-welded seams to form a watertight barrier. Also commonly known as “vinyl roofing,” PVC roofs are long-lasting, effective, and energy-efficient.

Benefits of PVC Roofing

Compared to TPO and other types of flat-roof materials, PVC tends to be a more long-lasting option, with roofs lasting up to 30 years before replacement is necessary. Their light color makes them more energy efficient, with the EPA estimating that they can help reduce a facility’s energy draw by up to 50% when installed correctly.

Other benefits include its UV-, fire-, and fungal-resistant properties. Its advanced, heat-welded seams also make it less likely to leak. Finally, unlike TPO, PVC roofs have been installed for decades, making them a more tried-and-true roofing option. The only downside is that it might cost a bit more to install, but keep in mind that you often get what you pay for.

Choosing the Right Material

Question mark isolated on a white background

TPO and PVC roofing both have their benefits, especially when it comes to energy efficiency. Although TPO has the slight advantage over PVC when it comes to overhead costs, if you’re looking to minimize risk and extend the return on investment in a new roof, PVC is likely the better option. It’s a more tried-and-true roofing technology, and its benefits outweigh its drawbacks.

Still Need Help? Contact Summit Commercial Roofing Today

For more information on PVC roofing, contact Summit Commercial Roofing Today. We’re an industry-leading provider of PVC flat roof installations, and only use materials from Sika®, a brand that we know and trust. Contact us today to learn more about our work, or to request a quote.

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Contact Summit Commercial Roofing Today

Summit Commercial Roofing is proud to be an industry leader in commercial flat roofing replacement, repairs, maintenance and installations. Courtesy, integrity, and transparency are a big part of everything that we do. Are you ready to see why we’re one of the best commercial roofing companies in Southeast Michigan? Call (734) 564-0371 or fill out our online form today to request a quote on our commercial roofing services.

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