Is A TPO Or EPDM Roof Better?

When it comes to choosing a roofing material for your building, the decision can be overwhelming. With so many options available, it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each. One common debate is between TPO (thermoplastic olefin) and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) roofs. Both have their own unique characteristics and advantages, but which one is truly better? Let’s take a closer look at the qualities of each roofing material to help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Is A TPO Or EPDM Roof Better?


Initial Cost

When it comes to the initial cost of TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) and EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) roofs, there are some differences to consider. TPO roofs usually have a lower initial cost compared to EPDM roofs. This is because TPO is manufactured using less expensive materials, making it a more budget-friendly option for roofing projects.

Installation Cost

In terms of installation cost, both TPO and EPDM roofs are relatively affordable. However, TPO roofs tend to have lower installation costs due to their lighter weight and easier installation process. EPDM roofs, on the other hand, may require more specialized installation techniques, which can increase the overall installation cost.

Long-Term Cost

When considering the long-term cost of TPO and EPDM roofs, it’s important to take into account their durability and lifespan. TPO roofs generally have a longer lifespan than EPDM roofs, which means they may require fewer repairs and replacements over time. This can result in lower long-term costs for TPO roofs. However, it’s worth noting that EPDM roofs can still provide decent durability and longevity, depending on the specific brand and quality of the material used.


Resistance to Weathering

Both TPO and EPDM roofs are known for their durability and resistance to weathering. TPO roofs are particularly resistant to damage caused by UV rays, extreme temperatures, and hail. EPDM roofs also offer great resistance to weathering and can withstand exposure to harsh weather conditions. However, TPO roofs generally have better resistance to weathering compared to EPDM roofs.

Resistance to UV Rays

TPO roofs have excellent resistance to UV rays, thanks to their reflective surface. This reflective property helps to reduce the heat absorption by the roof, leading to lower energy costs. EPDM roofs also offer some level of UV resistance, but they may not be as effective in reflecting UV rays as TPO roofs.

Resistance to Chemicals

Both TPO and EPDM roofs have good resistance to various chemicals typically found on roofs, such as oils and solvents. This resistance makes them suitable for commercial and industrial applications where chemical exposure is a concern. However, TPO roofs generally have better chemical resistance compared to EPDM roofs.

Is A TPO Or EPDM Roof Better?

Life Expectancy


TPO roofs have a relatively long life expectancy, with an average lifespan ranging from 20 to 30 years. However, the actual lifespan of a TPO roof can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the installation, the climate conditions, and proper maintenance.


EPDM roofs also have a decent life expectancy, typically ranging from 15 to 25 years. Similar to TPO roofs, the actual lifespan of an EPDM roof can vary based on various factors. Proper maintenance and routine inspections can help maximize the lifespan of an EPDM roof.

Ease of Installation

Installation Process

TPO roofs are known for their ease of installation. They are usually mechanically attached or fully adhered to the roof decking, making the installation process relatively simple and straightforward. EPDM roofs, on the other hand, can have a more complex installation process, often involving adhesive application and seam sealing.


TPO roofs are considered less complex to install compared to EPDM roofs. The lightweight nature of TPO membranes and the availability of various installation methods contribute to their simplicity. EPDM roofs may require more technical expertise due to the specific installation techniques involved, such as properly joining seams for a watertight seal.

Is A TPO Or EPDM Roof Better?

Energy Efficiency

Cool Roofing Benefits

Both TPO and EPDM roofs offer energy-efficient benefits, often referred to as cool roofing. Cool roofing helps to reduce heat absorption by reflecting sunlight away from the roof surface. This can result in lower energy costs for cooling a building, especially in hot climates.

Reflectivity and Heat Resistance

TPO roofs are known for their high reflectivity, which allows them to effectively bounce back sunlight and reduce heat absorption. This reflectivity contributes to their energy-efficient properties. EPDM roofs, while offering some level of reflectivity, may not provide the same degree of heat resistance as TPO roofs.


Cleaning Requirements

TPO and EPDM roofs have relatively low maintenance requirements. Regular cleaning, usually with mild soap and water, is usually sufficient to remove dirt and debris from the surface. It’s important to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools that can damage the roof membrane.

Repair and Replacement

Both TPO and EPDM roofs can be repaired and replaced if necessary. Minor damages, such as punctures or small tears, can often be patched or sealed. However, if the damage is extensive or the roof has reached the end of its lifespan, a full replacement may be required. Proper maintenance and timely repairs can help extend the lifespan of both TPO and EPDM roofs.

Is A TPO Or EPDM Roof Better?

Environmental Impact


TPO and EPDM roofs are both recyclable, making them environmentally friendly options. At the end of their lifespan, the materials can be recycled and used in new products, reducing waste. It’s important to work with reputable recycling facilities to ensure proper recycling and disposal of roofing materials.


Both TPO and EPDM roofs can contribute to sustainable building practices. Their energy-efficient properties help reduce the carbon footprint of a building by lowering energy consumption for cooling. Additionally, both materials are long-lasting, reducing the need for frequent replacements and minimizing waste.

Resistance to Punctures


TPO roofs have good resistance to punctures, thanks to their durable membrane composition. They can withstand the impact of hail, falling debris, or foot traffic on the roof surface, reducing the risk of punctures and leaks.


EPDM roofs also offer decent resistance to punctures, but they may be slightly more susceptible compared to TPO roofs. However, punctures can still be minimized by employing proper installation techniques and regular inspections to identify and address any areas of concern.

Is A TPO Or EPDM Roof Better?


Color Options

When it comes to color options, both TPO and EPDM roofs offer some flexibility. TPO roofs are available in a variety of color choices, including white, light gray, and black. EPDM roofs are typically black, which can provide a sleek and modern appearance.


Both TPO and EPDM roofs offer a smooth surface, contributing to a clean and uniform look. The texture of the roofing material can enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of a building’s exterior.

Suitability for Different Climates

Cold Climates

TPO roofs perform well in cold climates, as they offer good resistance to low temperatures and remain flexible. This flexibility allows them to withstand temperature fluctuations without cracking or becoming brittle. EPDM roofs also perform well in cold climates, but their flexibility can be slightly compromised in extremely cold temperatures.

Hot Climates

Both TPO and EPDM roofs are suitable for hot climates. TPO roofs with their high reflectivity help to reduce heat absorption and keep the building cooler. EPDM roofs also offer some level of heat resistance, providing a protective barrier against high temperatures.

Humid Climates

TPO roofs have good resistance to moisture, making them suitable for humid climates. The material’s durable composition helps to prevent water infiltration and the growth of mold or mildew. EPDM roofs also perform well in humid climates, as they have excellent waterproofing properties and can withstand high levels of moisture without degradation.

In conclusion, both TPO and EPDM roofs have their own advantages and considerations to keep in mind. While TPO roofs often have a lower initial cost and better resistance to weathering and UV rays, EPDM roofs offer decent durability and can be suitable for various climates. It’s important to evaluate the specific needs of your roofing project and consult with a professional to determine which option is better suited for your requirements.

Scroll to Top