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TPO Roofing Vs. EPDM: Which Is Better For My NY Building?

Sean Levine  |  June 15, 2021  |   |  No Comments

For most commercial buildings in NY, roofing is either with TPO or EPDM. If you have a commercial building (office, malls) in the Big Apple, you'd probably be wondering if you are to use TPO or EPM for your new roofing or next roofing project.

In most cases, some property managers prefer to leave the choice of selecting a roofing material to their local roofer. But it doesn't hurt to take the decision yourself. All it takes is a little information on what could work best for your building. Both the TPO and EPDM are incredible flat roofing materials. They share similarities but have their differences as well. To help you decide on what could be the best solution to your NYC commercial building, here's want you have to know about the TPO and EPDM.


Thermoplastic Polyolefin, or TPO,  is a kind of single-ply roofing membrane. It is used for commercial roofing and an alternative to asphalt shingles, PVC, EPDM, and a whole lot more. TPO is light in weight, durable, and can be used against any weather. This roofing membrane comprises a Thermoplastic polyolefin top layer, a thermoplastic polyolefin base layer, and a polyester-reinforced fabric center. And despite been around for barely 25 years, TPO can now measure up to the over 50-year-old EPDM.

There are rumors that in future years TPO will most likely cover the influence of EPDM. But that is not possible because EPDM has some benefits that TPO does not have. They both have their vigors and weaknesses. TPO has several colors compared to EPDM that has only one black color. The TPO colors help reflect the sunlight.

TPO resists chemicals, fats, and oils that can damage the roof. Also, it can resist more punctures than other roofing materials. Its welding process makes it durable but can also complicate matters.

Merits Of TPO
  • Easy Installation process
  • Long-lasting: TPO roofs can last up to 20 - 25 years if maintained well
  • Energy efficient
  • User and environment friendly
Demerits Of TPO
  • Its qualities are dependent on the manufacturers
  • It can't handle the heat for a long period
  • The top layer can weaken the roof, which will cause cracks.


The Ethylene Dieneterpolymer, or EPDM for short, is a single-ply membrane, highly resistant to chemicals and bad climate conditions. This commercial roofing membrane can withstand unfavorable weather conditions longer than most other available materials.

EPDM uses adhesives or tape for installation instead of welding. Which means it has an easier installation plan. Unlike TPO that requires electricity for welding, EPDM does not require any of such. It is usually installed on a low-slope roof, and it's mostly reckoned for its durability

Merits Of EPDM
  • Less costly: It's less costly compared to TPO
  • Easy installation
  • Long-lasting
Demerits Of EPDM
  • Not attractive: It only has black
  • You can puncture it easily

Which Is Better For Your New York Building: TPO Or EPDM

Be it a TPO or EPDM; you can never go wrong with any of this two. Both roofing systems have their advantages and disadvantages. You can always sift through the positives and drawbacks to know which works best for you. EPDM is better than TPO because it's lesser in price and lasts longer in an area with frequent hail storms and sunny weather.

TPO is costlier than EPDM. Factors like your location and the weather condition of your region can influence your choice. You should consider if your area has too much rain, hail, heat, storms, and the rest. Usually, areas that experience a high impact of the elements are not best for the EPDM, as it weakens this roofing material.  This could lead to water damage. In contrast, TPO excels in such areas because it has rain protection and will protect the building from such rains.

Why Should You Choose EPDM Over TPO

Weather Condition: New York City has lots of sunny and hot days each year. Though TPO reflects sunlight and heat, it won't stand for long. There are 224 sunny days in New York each year. Considering this, the TPO roofing system stands a limited chance in such an area.

Hail Storms: As you already know, New York City suffers from hail storms and has had several hail storms in the past years. Now, they have had two major hail storms in 2021. If you install TPO in this area, you will have to change your roofing sooner than you expected. EPDM might not reflect heat, but it excels better withstanding hot and sunny weather.

Large Roof: Another situation is when you have a large commercial building. Of course, the roofing will be as large as the building. Go for TPO in this situation. You will have to pay more money and electricity in buying and installation. But if you choose EPDM, you will spend a lesser amount of money on both buying and installation

Installation: Installing TPO needs a large amount of electricity because of its welding process. While EPDM can be installed using an adhesive without using electricity because it's a synthetic rubber.

Repairs: It's easier to do a roof replacement or roof repair for EPDM than TPO. TPO requires a welding process, no matter how small the repair is. This makes it more stressful to maintain compared to EPDM.

Bottom Line

Whether you choose to go with the TPO or EPDM, it doesn't change the fact that your choice should be in the best interest of the structural integrity of your commercial building in NYC. Remember always to seek the opinions of experts.

No matter how good a roofing material may seem, if it's not installed appropriately, it will cause future problems. Before you run with the project, it'd be in your best interest to do your homework right. Get the best local roofer near you to take up the assignment. To seek expert opinion on the right roofing solution for your building, reach out to us today at 68-38 Main Street #2 Flushing, NY 11367 (718) 489-4009 https://www.kingsqueensroofing.com/.

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