There are two basic types of single-layer membranes used for roofing. These are TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PVC is a slightly more popular option and you may have heard that it is better than TPO, but is that really the case? Both types of membranes have their advantages and disadvantages, so you may be wondering which one to choose that best suits your needs. Although these materials are quite similar in terms of physical characteristics, there are still differences between them that indicate the pros and cons of each. Here’s some more information on that.
Table of Contents
TPO vs PVC – An Overview
TPO (or thermoplastic polyolefin) is a type of membrane obtained from ethylene or polyethylene that is often combined with ethylene propylene rubber. On the other hand, the chemical structure of PVC (or polyvinyl chloride) is completely different, because it is obtained from vinyl chloride, which is a monomer that is polymerized to become a polyvinyl chloride. An additional step in the production of this type of membrane is the addition of a plasticizer, which ensures that the elasticity of this material is optimal.
Common to both types of membranes is that they are very resistant to different chemical and physical factors, and also that both have numerous advantages, which sometimes makes it difficult to choose, because both seem like a good option, viewed from different perspectives.
TPO membranes are white, with a good difference. This color (i.e. lack of it) allows UV rays to reflect and prevents the space under this membrane from heating. This is a great thing, especially for warmer areas, where keeping the room in the house or building as cold as possible is very particularly significant.
PVC membranes are much more resistant to various chemical agents, which is important for all those buildings that are exposed to chemicals for any reason. These membranes can also be made in lighter colors, to ensure energy efficiency.
If you are not sure which type would best suit your needs, it is a good idea to consult with experts, such as Oahu roofing. They will present all the pros and cons of both materials in relation to what you need for a specific project.
You can read more about it on oahu-roofing.com/honolulu-roofing.
Taking the time to think about this will ensure that you make the best possible choice and be satisfied with the final result.
Pros and Cons of TPO for roofing
Perhaps the biggest advantage of TPO membranes is that they do not contain plasticizers and other substances that would interfere with recycling. TPO is a better option if you are thinking about the environment and energy efficiency. Considering that membranes made of this material do not leak UV rays and that there is no significant heating of the room, this means that you will save a lot of money on electricity in the long run. Speaking of the money factor, TPO is a cheaper option and you need to invest less money in this material. It withstands various weather conditions well and shows satisfactory resistance.
The main disadvantages of TPO for roofing are insufficient resistance to chemical factors, which means that it is not practical to use them for buildings that are exposed to various chemicals. In addition, this type of material is still new on the market. This means that the quality of these membranes varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it can be challenging to find the quality that suits you.
Another disadvantage of these membranes is that their longevity is shorter than that of PVC membranes, which is a huge obstacle for some people. Due to the fact that it does not contain plasticizers, this material is not flexible, so it is difficult to handle and often leads to installation difficulties. You will need professional people with knowledge and experience in this field to make everything go smoothly.
Pros and Cons of PVC for roofing
PVC is a well-known material that has rightly gained the reputation it has. Since this material has been in use for a long time, the manufacturers are well acquainted with it, so they can ensure its quality. Consistency of quality is definitely one of the great advantages of PVC membranes. This material is very durable due to its resistance. Although it is to some extent sensitive to weather conditions, the same cannot be said for chemicals, to which it shows great resistance. Because plasticizers are added to its composition, it is very flexible and easy to handle. These membranes also come in lighter colors, as a result of which they reflect the sun’s rays and increase energy efficiency.
When it comes to its disadvantages, PVC is a much more expensive option compared to TPO. Besides that, it is not environmentally friendly because it contains plasticizers and cannot be easily recycled.
Besides plasticizers, it also contains chlorine, which is not exactly the best friend of our environment, so that can be a problem, especially if you try to take care of nature. Plasticizers also affect the inconsistency in the longevity of this material, because it can start to decompose long before the rest of the membrane, which is not practical at all. If you live in colder areas, we suggest that you think carefully before you decide on PVC. Considering that it is not completely resistant to weather it can shrink over time, so it might not be the best option.
Although PVC roofing materials have been present for a long time and they are rumored to be a much better option than TPO, you can probably conclude that this is not entirely true. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages. PVC is more resistant to chemicals, more durable and often of higher quality, while TPO is cheaper, more environmentally friendly and more resistant to weather conditions. Depending on what you are looking for and what is important to you, you can choose one of them and be very satisfied with the result. If you are not sure what is the best choice for you, it is a great idea to consult with professionals who will help you make a final decision.