energy efficient commercial roofing

TPO vs. PVC Roofing: Which One Is Better For Your Commercial Property?

The single-ply roofing market was valued at over $3.6 million in 2021. The rising demand for long-lasting, cost-effective, and eco-friendly solutions will likely further boost its market growth.

TPO and PVC are the most popular single-ply membrane types used in low-slope and flat commercial roofing systems. They’re both visually appealing, durable, and energy-efficient – but they are not the same.

This article will go over the similarities, differences, and distinctive properties of TPO and PVC to help you decide which material best suits your needs.

TPO & PVC: Shared Features

TPO and PVC are immensely desirable single-ply roofing membranes. Aside from popularity, there are several other similarities between the two types:

  • Thermoplastic membranes;
  • Flexibility;
  • UV-, puncture-, and fire-resistant;
  • ENERGY STAR-rated;
  • Installed using various methods;
  • Heat-weldable, helping them stay watertight;

Nonetheless, each material has its benefits and drawbacks. Let’s review!

PVC Roofs

A decades-long track record backs PVC membranes. They’re made of polyvinyl chloride – a synthetic plastic – and are known for their durability and high resistance to chemicals, grease, and oils.

These roofs are made more flexible and weather-resistant with the use of plasticizers. Although this results in a more enduring product initially, there are concerns over the long-term impacts of these chemicals.

The plasticizers can break down at a faster rate than the rest of the material, increasing the risk of degradation and causing the structure to lose its initial integrity. They can also pose an environmental hazard.

TPO Roofs

TPO, or thermoplastic polyolefin, is a newer material. It’s become standard practice in the US since the early 1990s.

TPO roofing is cost-effective and can withstand hot summer heat, UV rays, punctures, and weathering. It is made of long-lasting materials and, unlike PVC, doesn’t require plasticizers to be flexible.

Its reflective surface makes it a green roofing solution for commercial buildings, contributing to its popularity. It can bounce back heat, keep the inside temperature cooler, and lower your energy consumption during summer.

Like PVC, TPO membranes can be ENERGY-STAR certified, meaning they meet their requirements for surface reflectivity. On top of this, TPO is a more sustainable choice as it’s a 100% recyclable material.

Before You Make Up Your Mind

PVC and TPO are the prevalent types of single-ply membranes and can both be suitable choices for low-slope and flat roofing. Thus, deciding which material is best for your project can be difficult.

Here are a few considerations that should impact your decision.


You should assess how much you’d be investing in your roofing and how difficult installation will be. TPO is generally more affordable, but installing PVC can be easier and less labor- and time-intensive.


The location is an essential factor, as each material can withstand different weather conditions to various degrees. TPO works well in most climates, while PVC is better suited for hurricane-prone environments.

Building Purpose

TPO works well for most general-purpose buildings. However, PVC is a superior choice for restaurants, chemical plants, and factories due to its high resistance to chemicals, grease, and oils.

Material Quality

Both TPO and PVC roofing can hold up for a long time – over 20 or 30 years. Finding a reliable and experienced professional who can ensure high-quality products is crucial regardless of your choice.

Find The Right Option: TPO or PVC Roofing

TPO and PVC both pose some benefits and disadvantages, so it’s difficult to call one material outright better. Your choice should reflect your particular business needs.

At WaterTight Roofing, our team is always ready to share their professional opinions and make your decision easier! We offer experience, dedication, and solutions using the top single-ply systems.

Contact us for a free estimate, and start your project today.

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