TPO Vs PVC Roofing Systems

TPO Vs PVC Roofing Systems

PVC vs. TPO Roofs: Not All White Roofs Are The Same

Is There No Difference Between TPO and PVC Roofs?

Despite their superficial similarities, the answer is “no;” there are material distinctions to be aware of when purchasing a commercial roofing system.

Different systems have different installation prices, lifetimes, maintenance schedules, and warranty coverage.

This article will compare and contrast TPO roofing with PVC roofing. When shopping for a new flat roof or low-slope roof system for your building, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and downsides of each option.

History And Characteristics Of PVC & TPO Roofing

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) are the two most popular white commercial roofing membranes on the market today.

Although PVC roof membranes have been around since 1966, TPO was not developed until 1991, therefore it lacks the same level of field experience.

Duro-Last, a prominent manufacturer of custom-fabricated PVC membrane roofing, holds the distinction of being the largest producer globally. With its corporate headquarters situated in Michigan and an extensive network of distribution sites throughout the United States, Duro-Last emerges as a very favorable choice for those seeking PVC roofing solutions.

There are three parts to the PVC membrane used by Duro-Last: the top sheet, the reinforcing scrim, and the bottom sheet.

The top sheet: is the performance layer that is exposed to the elements, dust from the wind, airborne pollutants, sunlight, and foot traffic.

Duro-Last has the industry’s thickest performance layer of any roof membrane, guaranteeing a long and trouble-free service life with little upkeep.

The middle layer: The anti-wicking reinforcing scrim is weft-inserted in the midst of the three-layer structure. The membrane’s strength and longevity depend critically on this intermediate layer’s thread count and tensile strength. Duro-Last’s premium membrane features the highest thread count in the business at 18 x 14 threads per inch in the scrim.

This third layer serves as the foundation. Since it is not subject to the elements, the third layer in most roof systems is often comprised of cheaper material.

The original Duro-Last membrane debuted in 1978 and is now the company’s main product. Another membrane, called Duro-Tuff, has been available since 2012 and features a cheaper base layer and lower scrim thread count.

Both techniques deliver top-notch results, but Duro-Tuff is more versatile and affordable.

The headquarters in Saginaw, Michigan is where both systems and other specialty goods are manufactured using cutting-edge laminating/extruding machinery.

PVC roofs are durable, lightweight, resistant to fire, and impervious to most chemicals because of the PVC system’s chemical composition.

TPO also consists of three parts, but its components are made from quite different materials. Polypropylene, ethylene-propylene rubber, and fillers like carbon, fiberglass, or talc are the main components of most TPO membranes.

Comparing TPO and PVC membranes of similar thickness reveals that TPO has a lower quality base layer and a higher percentage of fillers in its performance layer and that the scrim is not weft-inserted and typically has a lower thread count.

The resulting product is bendable and aesthetically pleasing, but it is not as durable as Duro-Last PVC membranes can catch fire if exposed to flames, and is not as resistant to chemicals.

Sustainability: TPO or PVC

NSF/ANSI 347 is a new standard developed in 2009 by the National Science Foundation to assess the long-term viability of single-ply roof systems.

Five criteria—development, production, longevity of membranes, corporate management, and innovation—are used to evaluate each single-ply roofing system.

Five of Duro-Last’s best-selling membranes have earned sustainable certifications from NSF/ANSI 347, including one gold and two silver ratings.

They have been recognized for the environmental product declarations they have made and the fact that their PVC membrane can be recycled. At the end of their service life, Duro-Last membranes may be brought back to the company’s Saginaw, Michigan headquarters to be recycled.

The National Science Foundation has not given the same seal of approval to TPO membranes, and their recyclability is in question.

PVC vs. TPO for Energy Efficiency

The roof you pick might have a major effect on how well your business conserves energy and how comfortable your employees are when the weather warms up this summer.

Taking into account the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of PVC and TPO membranes is essential for comprehending the impact a roof system might have on energy expenses and the internal temperature of a structure.

The SRI calculates how much heat a roof will absorb when exposed to direct sunlight. Each roofing material’s SRI rating is calculated both shortly after installation and again after three years of weathering. A higher value indicates that the roofing material is more effective in blocking the flow of heat into the structure.

Up to 88% of the sun’s rays are reflected by the Duro-Last white 50 mil PVC membrane. Dust or other airborne impurities settling on the membrane surface reduce its original SRI of 111 to 82 after 3 years.

The initial SRI reported for TPO was 77, and it dropped to 70 by the third year. PVC membranes are superior to other roofing materials because of their ability to reflect heat away from the structure. The energy needed to run air conditioners continues to rise, and so are the costs associated with keeping them running and replacing them when they break down.

A higher SRI roofing system may aid with energy efficiency, longer life for the air conditioner, and lower energy and cooling expenditures.

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PVC vs. TPO: Setup Techniques

Depending on the building’s architecture and the customer’s request, either TPO or PVC can be mechanically attached or entirely adhered to. The installation time and quality of a Duro-Last roof are superior to those of a TPO roof.

Most flashing details in TPO have to be made in-field by crew members. Crew members working in the elements, such as wind, the possibility of precipitation, and temperature extremes, are usually to blame for leaks or roof collapses.

Preventing future roof issues and cutting down on on-site labor expenses by reducing fieldwork requirements is a win-win. All flashing details for roofs are fabricated to order by Duro-Last, and deck sheets can be fabricated to order as well. Both processes take place at one of Duro-Last’s state-of-the-art factories.

Our project managers will take precise measurements of every roof penetration and feature on your structure and then have all flashing components custom-fabricated in a factory. This will eliminate the need for intricate flashing work on the roof during construction. Duro-Last bespoke fabrication built by our seasoned team of competent, polite crewmen will provide you with a better, more dependable installation.

The Price of PVC vs. TPO

Your roof installation will require two main components: on-site personnel, and roofing supplies. It is up to you, the property owner, to determine whether you would rather spend money on roofing materials or on roofing workers.

Workers are paid and head home after a project is finished, but you still need to secure the site for the safety of your company, its assets, and its employees. Prefabricated Duro-Last PVC roofing can save labor costs in ways that TPO roofing cannot.

The end result? Your money goes toward the roofing system rather than the people who will eventually leave the job.

Service life and upkeep expenses should also be considered. The cost per year to own a roof is calculated by dividing the total cost of the project and yearly maintenance by the roof’s estimated lifespan.

If the roof system requires less maintenance and lasts longer, spending more money upfront may be the smartest use of resources.

Repairs and upgrades are another consideration when weighing the pros and downsides of TPO vs. PVC roofing systems.

Hot air welding may be used to fix holes in PVC membranes, just like it was used to install them in the first place. As TPO membranes age, they become harder to work with and more expensive to repair or modify.

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