EPDM vs. TPO vs. PVC: Choose the Right Single-Ply Roofing for Your Building

EPDM vs. TPO vs. PVC Choose the Right Single-Ply Roofing for Your Building


Throughout history, people have sought comfortable living by constructing houses that offer shelter and peace of mind. Among the essential components of a home, none surpasses the importance of a robust roofing system that can protect your valuable property, goods, and employees. 

When the time comes to replace your flat or low-slope roof, the array of options can be overwhelming. Enter single-ply membrane roofs, which are versatile and durable rubber or synthetic sheets providing reliable protection for commercial buildings with flat or nearly flat roofs.

Synthetic sheets can be classified into three popular categories commonly used by roofers in Tennessee: EPDM, TPO, and PVC. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, leading to the crucial question: How can you determine the most suitable option for your needs? 

Choosing the ideal roofing solution requires careful consideration of many factors, the most important being the availability of skilled roofers providing Single-Ply Roofing services.

In this guide, we will delve deeper into these roofing materials to help you decide and identify the system that best meets your commercial roofing requirements.

EPDM Roofing

EPDM Roofing

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a popular roofing choice due to its exceptional characteristics. This synthetic rubber material offers high tensile strength, durability, flexibility, and resistance to diverse weather conditions. 

With its thermoset properties, EPDM retains its shape even in extreme temperatures, ensuring long-term performance with minimal upkeep for commercial roofings in Nashville.

Benefits of EPDM Roofing

  • Cost-effective: EPDM is known for its cost-effectiveness, making it an attractive choice for building owners on a budget. The material is relatively affordable, and the installation process is typically straightforward, reducing labor costs. EPDM’s lightweight nature also eliminates the need for extensive roof deck reinforcement, reducing overall costs.
  • Long-lasting: It has an impressive lifespan, often exceeding 20 years, with proper installation and maintenance. This longevity translates into long-term protection for your building, providing peace of mind and potential cost savings in the long run. EPDM’s durability allows it to withstand various weather conditions, including UV radiation, ozone exposure, and temperature fluctuations.
  • Energy-efficient: By combining EPDM with polyiso insulation, the roof’s thermal performance can be enhanced. EPDM’s reflective surface helps to minimize heat absorption, reducing the strain on cooling systems during hot weather. This energy efficiency can lead to lower energy bills and a more comfortable indoor environment.
  • Minimal seams: Typically available in large sheets or rolls, fewer seams are required during installation. Fewer seams translate into a reduced risk of leaks and potential water damage. The seamless nature of EPDM roofing enhances its overall integrity, providing a reliable barrier against moisture intrusion.
  • Easy repair: In the event of leaks or damages, a simple rubber liquid mixture can be applied to the affected area, quickly and efficiently restoring the roof’s integrity. This easy repair reduces downtime and minimizes the disruption caused by roofing issues, ensuring your building remains protected.
  • Minimal maintenance: EPDM roofs require minimal ongoing maintenance. Routine inspections to identify and address potential issues and periodic repainting every ten years to maintain the roof’s vibrant color are generally sufficient. This low-maintenance characteristic saves time and money, allowing building owners to focus on other aspects of maintenance and operations.

Drawbacks of EPDM Roofing

Drawbacks of EPDM Roofing
  • Installation cost variation: Mechanically attached or fully adhered EPDM systems may incur slightly higher installation costs than other roofing systems.
  • Aesthetics: The standard black EPDM membrane may not be visually appealing, mainly if the roof is visible from the street.
  • Potential fragility: As EPDM ages, it may become fragile and susceptible to shrinkage.

While EPDM traditionally comes in black, some manufacturers now offer white-on-black options featuring titanium oxide lamination. Although these alternatives may be more expensive, it’s important to note that the lamination can result in surface instability. Therefore, when choosing EPDM, professional Single-Ply roofing services experts generally recommend the traditional black version.

Are you looking for reliable Nashville roofing contractors skilled in EPDM installations? 
Tim Leeper Roofing is your go-to choice for top-quality EPDM roofing solutions that stand the test of time.

Call now to get started

TPO Roofing

TPO Roofing

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) is a rapidly growing roofing material choice for commercial buildings. It is a rubber-like material created by combining polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber.

Benefits of TPO Roofing

  • Energy efficiency: A popular choice for cool roofing due to its resistance to ozone, UV radiation, and some chemical degradation. Its white color reflects sunlight and helps keep the building cool. It offers better heat reflection compared to EPDM.
  • Cost-effective: TPO is the most affordable material for single-ply membrane roofs. It provides a budget-friendly option for building owners who are conscious of costs.
  • Versatile installation: It can be adhered with adhesives or nailed directly to the roof deck. Heat welding is also possible around chimneys and other protrusions.
  • Easy maintenance: They resist mold development, dirt buildup, and damage from tears, impacts, and punctures. This ensures long-term durability and reduces the need for frequent repairs.
  • Easy to clean: Cleaning TPO roofs is hassle-free and does not require pressure washing. Regular maintenance, including occasional repainting, helps to keep the roof in good condition.

Drawbacks of TPO Roofing:

Drawbacks of TPO Roofing
  • Shrinkage: One drawback of TPO roofing is its tendency to shrink over time. If not properly addressed at seams and curbs, this can lead to water intrusion.
  • Professional installation required: Proper Installation of TPO roofs requires experienced commercial roofing contractors. The handling of wide rolls and the use of specialized tools demand professional expertise.
  • Longevity questions: As TPO roofing is a relatively newer material, there are uncertainties regarding its long-term lifespan. While some estimates suggest a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, the quality and formulation of TPO roofs can vary, making it important to choose a reputable manufacturer and inquire about good warranties.

PVC Roofing

PVC Roofing

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) roofing membranes offer exceptional durability. PVC is a strong plastic material known to withstand various strains and forces. It is commonly used in multiple applications, from windows and flooring to waste pipes and architectural glazing systems.

Despite being a firm material, PVC roofing membranes are made flexible by incorporating plasticizers. These roofs are typically mechanically attached and heat-welded at the seams, although they can also be installed using fully adhered or ballasted systems.

Benefits of PVC Roofing

  • Prefabrication: One significant advantage of PVC roofing membranes is the ability to prefabricate the roof off-site. This means the contractor can accurately measure and construct the roof before installation. As a result, the seams are stronger, and the fit is more precise.
  • Quick installation: Although prefabrication may involve higher material costs, it significantly reduces the installation time. This translates to lower labor costs and minimal disruptions to business operations.
  • Durability: PVC roofing systems exhibit exceptional durability. The heat-welded seams create a monolithic structure that offers superior strength and resistance to leaks compared to taped or glued seams. Due to temperature fluctuations, PVC roofs can withstand buildings’ daily expansion and contraction.
  • Lightweight: PVC membranes are available in various thicknesses, typically 36 to 90 mils. The standard thickness for PVC roofing membranes is around 50 mils, contributing to their lightweight nature. This makes handling and installation easier.
  • Resistance to bacteria, chemicals, and fire: PVC is highly resistant to bacterial growth, chemicals, and fire. It also demonstrates excellent resistance to animal fats and roof penetrations caused by plant growth.
  • Long lifespan: PVC roofs can last up to 20 years or longer. They are engineered for strength, often exceeding the minimum breaking strength required by industry standards. PVC roofing membranes can withstand harsh winds and the micro-movements of buildings during severe weather conditions.

Drawbacks of PVC Roofing

Drawbacks of PVC Roofing
  • Higher cost: PVC roofing tends to be more expensive per square foot than other options, such as EPDM and TPO.
  • Incompatibility with Asphalt: PVC cannot be directly installed over asphalt materials. Separator sheets are necessary to prevent contact between PVC and asphalt.
  • Potential fragility: As PVC ages, it may become more fragile and require additional repairs. This is typically observed after the roof reaches around ten years of service. PVC roofs may also be less suitable for cold climates, as they can be more susceptible to punctures or shattering.

Trustworthy Nashville Roofing Contractor for Reliable Single-Ply Roofing Services

Choosing the right roofing material for your commercial property is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. Factors such as local weather conditions, architectural style, and the nature of your business play a significant role in determining the best option for roof replacement.

At Tim Leeper Roofing, we understand the importance of selecting the right product, but we also know that even the best product can fail if not installed correctly.That’s why we take pride in our team of reputable roofing contractors with the necessary skills and expertise to provide Nashville’s best single-ply roofing services. With our extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of different roofing systems, we ensure seamless installations that stand the test of time.

We offer a wide range of roofing options, including single-ply membranes, metal roofing, and asphalt shingles, among others. We aim to find the perfect roofing solution that meets your requirements and fits your budget.

With our dedication to craftsmanship and attention to detail, we guarantee exceptional service and deliver superior results. Your satisfaction and the long-term performance of your roof are our top priorities.

Contact us today to discuss your needs, and let us provide you with a reliable and cost-effective roofing solution that will protect your investment for years to come.


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