EPDM vs TPO: When it Comes to Roofing Systems, Which is the Right Choice For You?

Are you are looking to cover your flat roof? Your options can be limited and expansive depending on the type of material you want to use. Traditional roofing should not be a consideration if you are looking to develop a strong and durable rooftop. Such materials include corrugated metal, concrete tiles, and asphalt shingles. Rubber and plastic roofing materials are the best because they are durable. While plastics have proved to be better than traditional material, they have their differences. 

Choosing between an EPDM roof and a TPO roof is one of the hardest decision that builders have to make. This is because the two materials have unique attributes. While being excellent membrane systems, they are used for flat and low-sloped roofing.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer

EPDM is an acronym for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. This is a low-cost rubber material that can adapt to different kinds of climates. It is very durable because of its weather-resistant characteristics. 


  • It has proven its quality for more than 40 years, by being one of the most commonly used flat-roofing materials. 
  • The material can be reinforced to acquire a strong puncture resistance.
  • Rubber does not deteriorate over time regardless of environmental changes.
  • Installing the membrane system is easy.
  • The material is flexible because it can be removed during renovations.


  • The roofing material is usually black in color. This creates a hot environment for rooftop systems such as HVAC.
  • Its white color material, that is eco-friendly, is retailed at a premium cost.
  • Chemicals such as grease can destroy the rubber that is used in the material.
  • The seam tapes that are used during installation, are weaker than heat-welded seams.

Thermoplastic Polyolefin

TPO is an acronym of thermoplastic polyolefin. It is made by combining flexible rubber and thermal resistant plastics. The roofing material is cheap, durable, energy efficient, and environmental-friendly. For this reason, it is cost-effective when it comes to managing the cooling costs of a building.


  • The membrane systems have increased their popularity over time.
  • The roofing material made an improvement to the previous rubber materials. 
  • It has proven its quality for over 30 years, by being one of the most sought-after flat-roofing materials. 
  • It is installed using strong heat-welded seams.
  • The material is strong and can resist puncture during construction or while walking on the roof.
  • The thermoplastic material can also resist various chemical reactions.
  • It comes in white, grey and tan colors. This provides a cooler environment than the black EPDM roofs.


  • They are slippery when they are covered by snow or frost.
  • They are difficult to install because heat welding requires experienced contractors. 
  • It is difficult to repair or renovate a building because of the permanently heat-welded seams.

Which Material Should You Use?

As is often the case, people do not find a simple answer when they are looking for one. The best roofing system for your building will depend on a number of factors.

  • Your ownership plans and budget.
  • Your location and climate.
  • The building occupants.
  • Moisture and temperature levels.
  • Anticipated movements on the roof.
  • Equipment to be installed on the roof.
  • Repair and renovation expectations.

All things considered, you should consult an expert if you are having trouble selecting the best roofing system. However, thermoplastic polyolefin is the best if your location and construction expectations are not constrained by specific requirements.

With any type of roof installation or upgrade it is important to have the services of an experienced roofing contractor who is knowledgeable regarding all types of flat and sloped roofs. We, at Capital Roofing, are proud to fulfill this requirement. Serving Connecticut since 1977, we are well known in the residential and commercial communities for good and fast service.

We are proud to offer reasonable prices, highly skilled roofers, free estimates and emergency service. If you have a roof problem, or are considering a new roof, give us a call today at 866-784-5300, fill out the form on the top-right side of the page, or go online at https://www.capitalroofingct.com/get-a-quote/ to fill out a quote form. One of our expert roofers will contact you as soon as possible with further information on how EPDM or TPO can benefit your roof.