Single ply roofing systems are, as the name suggests, roofing systems consisting of one “ply” or “layer” or roof membrane. TPO and PVC are single-ply membranes designed to be used on low slope and flat roofs. TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin and PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride. They are a part of a broad family of roofing membranes that are more commonly used on commercial roofs.
PVC has been commonly used since the 1960’s on commercial roofs. TPO was originally designed to be an improved version of both PVC and another rubber membrane called EPDM or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. TPO combines the benefits of PVC and EPDM, making it more flexible and reflective, as well as environmentally friendly and more weather resistant.
There are specific differences between TPO and PVC worth knowing when deciding which one to choose for your commercial roof.
TPO and PVC are both white in color, providing a reflective surface on the roof and making them resistant to heat and the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Having a reflective, cool surface helps to reduce AC usage during the hot summer months. Both materials are resistant to chemicals, grease and oil, but PVC holds up better under the exposure. This is something to keep in mind if you have a roof where a lot of chemicals, oil and grease may be exposed to the roof. TPO and PVC are both designed to be flexible, conforming to the shape and movement of your commercial roof.
The Installation of TPO and PVC Roofing Materials
The installation of both roofing products are very similar. Here are the four ways they are installed:
Mechanically Fastened, Fully Adhered, Self-Adhered, Induction Heating/Metal Plate Attachment.
Benefits: Lightweight, odorless, positively watertight seams (thermoplastic), generally white in color compliant with California title 24.
Limitations: Initial cost can be higher than BUR systems.