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TPO vs. EPDM Roofing Materials: Which Is Best For Your Property In 2023?

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TPO vs. EPDM Roofing Materials: Which Is Best For Your Property In 2023?

As a commercial property owner, there is probably a lot going on in your mind, but the state of the roof on your building is probably not at the forefront. But if you are looking to install or replace a flat roof for your property, you’ve come to the right place. 

As a seasoned roofer with years of hands-on experience, I understand the critical importance of selecting the right roofing material for your flat roofing system. Today, we’ll delve into the two popular roofing options of 2023: TPO and EPDM. 

Each roofing system has its own unique advantages and considerations, and I’m here to help you navigate the key factors to make an informed decision that suits your property’s needs.

What Is TPO? 

A TPO roofing membrane, or thermoplastic olefin, is a popular choice for commercial and industrial buildings. It is a single-ply roofing membrane that offers durability, energy efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. TPO roofing membranes are made from a blend of rubber and plastic, making them resistant to UV rays, punctures, and chemicals. This type of roof is known for its light color, which helps reflect sunlight and reduce the heat absorbed by the building. TPO roofs are also easy to install and maintain, making them a preferred choice for many building owners. 

What Is An EPDM Roofing Membrane? 

EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a synthetic rubber roofing material that is commonly used in the construction industry. It is known for its exceptional durability and resistance to harsh weather conditions. EPDM roofs are highly popular due to their long lifespan and low maintenance requirements. This type of roofing material is often used on commercial and residential buildings.

TPO Roofing Advantages 

TPO roofing systems are a popular choice for commercial and industrial buildings due to their numerous advantages.

Energy Efficient: 

One of the major advantages of TPO roofs is energy efficiency. TPO roofs are designed to reflect sunlight and heat away from the building, reducing the need for air conditioning and lowering energy costs. The reflective properties of TPO membranes can also help prolong the roof’s life by preventing heat-related damage. 


Another advantage of TPO roofing systems is their durability. These single-ply membrane roofing sheets are resistant to UV radiation, ozone, and chemical exposure, making them highly resistant to weathering and degradation. They are also flexible and can expand and contract with temperature changes without cracking or tearing. This makes TPO roofs a great choice for buildings located in areas with extreme weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy snowfall.

Variety of Color Options:

In addition to these advantages, TPO roofs are also available in a variety of colors, allowing for customization to match the aesthetic preferences of a building owner or architect. This versatility makes TPO roofing membranes suitable for a wide range of architectural designs.

Limitations of TPO Roofs

A Puncture Prone Roofing Material 

One of the main limitations of TPO roofs is their susceptibility to damage from punctures and tears. While TPO is known for its durability and resistance to weathering, it can still be vulnerable to sharp objects and heavy foot traffic. Therefore, it is important to exercise caution when conducting maintenance or repairs on a TPO roof.

Unknown Lifespan

TPO membranes are a relatively new technology, so their complete lifespan is mostly unknown. Most manufacturers estimate that TPO roofs will last between 20-30 years with proper care, but this is still shorter than other options like metal. 

TPO Roofs

Pros of EPDM Roofing Membranes

Now that you know a little bit about TPO roofs, let’s discuss EPDM roofs. 

Long Lasting

EPDM roofs are known for their long-lasting nature. This synthetic rubber roofing membrane has a proven track record of durability, with some roofs lasting up to 50 years or more with proper maintenance. This longevity makes EPDM roofs a wise investment that can save building owners money in the long run.


One of the key advantages of EPDM roofing membranes is its affordability. It is quite the budget-friendly option when it comes to installation and roof repairs, making it a good choice for cost-conscious individuals. 

Lightweight Option

Additionally, EPDM roofing membranes are lightweight, making them easier to install and reducing the strain on the building’s structure. There is no need for additional support, which can also reduce the overall installation cost. 

Cons Of EPDM Roofing Systems

Plain Appearance: 

One con of EPDM is its basic look. It is not considered visually appealing in certain applications, but it can be painted or coated to improve its appearance. This additional step may incur extra costs for property owners who want a more aesthetically pleasing roof.

EPDM Roofing Systems

Comparing EPDM And TPO 

As we have seen above, both EPDM and TPO are high-quality single-ply roofing systems that own the highest market share when it comes to flat roofing membranes. However, which is best for you? In the below section, we have pulled together some crucial factors that you should consider when comparing both these materials. 

Climate Conditions: 

Evaluating your property’s location and the frequent weather conditions it experiences is important. EPDM’s proven durability makes it a solid option for areas prone to harsh weather, such as Tampa. 

Budget/Cost Considerations

Determine your budget for the roofing project. While both TPO and EPDM are cost-effective, your budgetary constraints can influence your decision. When it comes to cost, EPDM roofs take the win, as it is cheaper than TPO roof rolls. 

An EPDM roof can cost around $10-$18 per square foot, while TPO roofs usually cost around $14 to $26 per square foot.  Note that this is just the average cost and the cost for your roof may vary depending on other factors. 

One reason for the difference in the pricing is that EPDM is available in relatively larger roofing rolls, reducing the per-sheet cost. Also, this material is easier to install and allows more flexibility in installation. TPO is installed using heat welding, which increases the overall cost. 

Long-Term Goals:

Consider the longevity you desire for your roofing system. EPDM’s track record for lasting decades might align better with your long-term property plans. It has the ability to last for more than 40 years. On the other hand, TPO lasts for 20-25 years.

Energy Efficiency: 

If we compared these materials 10 years ago, you might not have been very concerned about energy efficiency. However, energy savings are now a top priority for many property owners, especially for businesses in the Sunshine State. This is where TPO roofs can help, as their reflective properties could help lower your cooling costs. 

Color Options

When it comes to flat roofs or, more so, commercial roofing systems, aesthetic appeal usually takes a back seat. It may not be as important as it is for residential pitched roofs, where colors and styles are a huge debate. 

But still, as things are changing, you might be considering the color options for flat roofs too. 

As we have already mentioned, TPO roofs are available in many color options such as white and beige. In addition, some companies are offering green and blue. 

In contrast, EPDM is not offered in many colors. EPDM is available in the traditional black and white membranes, though there are paints and coatings offered in other colors.

Best Flat Roofing Services In Tampa

Now that we have compared TPO vs. EPDM roofing membranes, you will now be able to make a more informed decision when it comes to selecting a material for your flat roof. 

Regardless of your decision, our experienced team of SouthShore Roofing & Exteriors is here to help you. We are premium flat roofing contractors in Tampa that offer both TPO and EPDM roof installation services. You’ll find that we only use the best materials manufactured by industry-leading companies. 

Contact us today at (813) 400-3329 to learn more about us and how we can help improve your commercial flat roof. 

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