TPO and EPDM for a Commercial Roof: What Are the Differences?

TPO and EPDM for a Commercial Roof: What Are the Differences?

If your commercial business has a flat roof, then you probably already know that with the proper care and maintenance, your roofing system will last for years. However, if you are unfamiliar with flat roofing systems for commercial buildings, then you might not be familiar with the terms: TPO and EPDM.

A TPO Commercial Roof Membrane

TPO simply stands for thermoplastic polyolefin. It is a single-ply roofing membrane that has reflective properties. It is made from two rubbers, polypropylene, and ethylene-propylene, that have been polymerized together. This roofing membrane is resistant to damage from chemicals and the sun's UV rays.

TPO Pros

A TPO roof offers your commercial building protection against all kinds of weather, dirt, oils, bacteria, salts, algae, and debris buildup. This kind of roof can also go a long way when it comes to reducing the heating and cooling costs for your building as well. It has been designed to exceed the recommendations of fire protection standards.

EPDM Rubber Roofing

It means ethylene propylene diene monomer. It is a synthetic rubber membrane that is used in a variety of applications. However, it is widely used as a roofing membrane due to its environmental properties.

Similar to TPO, EPDM also creates a barrier to protect against certain weather conditions. It can also resist the sun's harsh UV rays. In addition, it provides adequate protection against acidic and alkaline substances that threaten the integrity of your roofing system.

Other EPDM Pros

In addition to what we have already listed, EPDM is also considered a long-lasting commercial roofing option. It can reduce your heating and cooling costs, and is known to last for up to 25 years or longer when properly cared for and maintained. It is also a recyclable roofing option.


EPDM has a much darker surface, so it absorbs heat during the summer months, causing a cooling system to work overtime. On the other hand, TPO reflects sunlight, allowing your commercial air cooling system to work even more efficiently. TPO is also known for having a higher puncture resistance when compared to EPDM.

TPO has been used for about 20 years, while EPDM has been used for more than 60 years. TPO roofing membranes are seam fused with a hot air gun while EPDM seams are fused with seam tape. TPO is available in white, gray, tan, and specialty colors, while EPDM is only available in black.

The roofing type you choose should be based on the individual needs of your commercial building while factoring in your location. If you would like some more information on the differences between the two roofing types or you want to compare prices for each, then contact the experts at Gulf Tex Roofing and Services today for more information.

Remember, no matter which roof type you choose for your commercial building, it is important to still follow through with inspections and regular maintenance to get as much life out of the roofing system as possible.