Compare EPDM And TPO Membranes To Choose The Right Commercial Roofing For Your Building

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Membrane roofing is a popular choice for commercial buildings with large flat roofs because they are an affordable type of roofing, they're lightweight, and they're easy to install. Two popular types of membrane roofing are EPDM and TPO. Here's a look at how they compare.

Solar Heating

EPDM roofing is a type of rubber roof, and it is usually black, which means it absorbs and holds heat. This could cause solar heating for your building in the summer and increase cooling bills. TPO roofing is usually white or a light gray color, so it reflects the sun.

This helps keep your building cooler in the summer so you have lower energy bills. However, a black EPDM roof might be better for use with solar panels since it doesn't reflect the sun onto the panels as a TPO roof would.


EPDM roofing and TPO roofing cost about the same and last about as long. TPO could be more durable when it comes to resisting damage from punctures. For instance, an EPDM roof can be damaged if you're walking across the roof and step on a piece of jagged gravel or nail that might be on the roof.

However, the rubber in an EPDM roof offers protection from impacts, such as hail and other falling debris. Both types of roofing can have the maximum amount of puncture protection by installing high-quality and more expensive membranes.

Installation Method

One of the big differences between TPO and EPDM is the way the roof seams are sealed. TPO seams are heat-welded together, so the risk of leaking is low. EPDM roofing seams are sealed with seam tape. These seams can get loose over time, but they are easy to repair.


Membrane roofing needs regular checks and repairs to seal leaky areas that develop from cracks, holes, and loose seals. EPDM is repaired with EPDM sealant, patches, and seam tape while TPO roofing can be repaired with heat-sealing. Both are fairly easy jobs and form waterproof repairs that keep rain from causing damage to your building.

TPO roofing and EPDM roofing are similar in a lot of ways, but they differ in the way they are affected by the sun and in their appearance. Talk to a commercial roofing contractor about the type of membrane roof that would have the longest life and need the fewest repairs considering the foot traffic on your roof and your climate. Also think about whether you'll put solar panels on the roof, and if the roof needs to look attractive because other buildings look out over your flat roof.

To find out more about commercial roofing, reach out to roofers near you.